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Meet Joseph Karg of Combo Break

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joseph Karg.

Joseph, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started my artistic career by attending The Art Institute of Atlanta in 2003 for animation. After I graduate, I worked as a sculptor for about a year and then attended SCAD Atlanta for an MFA in painting. I would say this was where I really developed as an artist. After I graduated, I worked on a couple animated tv shows including Archer on FX.

The studio experience was awful for me. I much preferred making my own schedule and working as a freelancer as I’d done in graduate school. In 2012, with nothing lined up, I quit working at the animation studio and ventured off on my own. I loved stand up comedy and wanted to do design for comedians, so I reached out to one of my favorite comics Myq Kaplan when he did a Reddit AMA. I asked if I could work for him and he gave me my first job in comedy.

I’ve spent the next five years drawing album covers, tour posters and other collateral for comedians all over the country. I even performed for 2 of those years. In 2012 I also began teaching college art part-time to supplement my income. In 2017, the college offered me a full-time position as the department chair of Design at my alma mater AIA.

I accepted and have been balancing a small freelance practice with another artist Chris Bivins for the past year and a half. We call ourselves Combo-Break, and we are still mostly illustrating for the comedy industry, but we’d like to spread out into editorial and sequential work by the end of 2018.

Has it been a smooth road?
I would not say it has been smooth at all. My biggest hurdle was definitely the sad reality that TV work was not possible for me. I had worked very hard for several years to break into animated television, but I cannot sit in front of a screen 9-10 hours a day and paint backgrounds. It’s awful.

I need to split my time between studio work, emails, phone calls, exercise and meetings. This is my ideal life and I’m still working on it. I will say that college administration is a much better fit for these reasons.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Combo Break – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Combo Break’s goal is to create illustrations and limited animation that conveys a combination of wholesomeness and perversion. We don’t always get to do this. It depends on the client, but in an ideal world, we would mostly illustrate images that would be right at home in the pages of MAD Magazine.

I think what sets us apart from other illustrators is the difference between Chris and my illustration styles. Chris is much more of a cartoonist and I’m much more of a designer/realistic renderer. When I bring those choices to finishing his imaginative and expressive drawings, that’s where the magic happens.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I think I love the food more than anything in Atlanta. I know its a cliche, but I absolutely hate the traffic. It’s getting worse.


  • We will draw a black and white 11 X 14 illustration of anything for anyone for $350. They take about 4-6 weeks to receive after payment.

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