Watterson is usually very private so this interview is an amazing insight into his work! Check it out!
Here’s a small excerpt:
Christie: Is there a Calvin?
Watterson: A real one? No.
Christie: Is he in some way autobiographical?
Watterson: Not really. Hobbes might be a little closer to me in terms of personality, with Calvin being more energetic, brash, always looking for life on the edge. He lives entirely in the present, and whatever he can do to make that moment more exciting he’ll just let fly…and I’m really not like that at all.
Christie: You manage a lot of complex shifts between fantasy and reality; between Hobbes as a stuffed tiger and a real-life playmate. He’s frequently involved in what is apparently the real world, doing real things together with Calvin that he couldn’t possibly be doing. Do you think that kind of thing out in advance or does it just come to you when the gag calls for it?
Watterson: Could you name something specifically? I’m not sure I follow.
Christie: Well, when they’re driving down the mountain in their wagon and flying all over the place. You think, after reading the first few strips, that you’ve got the idea; that this is a stuffed tiger and when he and Calvin are alone he becomes real–to Calvin–but then, obviously, when they’re doing things like that in the real world, he has to be more than fantasy.
Watterson: Yeah, it’s a strange metamorphosis. I hate to subject it to too much analysis, but one thing I have fun with is the rarity of things being shown from an adult’s perspective. When Hobbes is a stuffed toy in one panel and alive in the next, I’m juxtaposing the “grown-up” version of reality with Calvin’s version, and inviting the reader to decide which is truer. Most of the time, the strip is drawn simply from Calvin’s perspective, and Hobbes is as real as anyone. So when Calvin is careening down the hillside, I don’t feel compelled to insert reminders that Hobbes is a stuffed toy. I try to get the reader completely swept up into Calvin’s world by ignoring adult perspective. Hobbes, therefore, isn’t just a cute gimmick. I’m not making the strip revolve around the transformation. The viewpoint of the strip fluctuates, and this allows Hobbes to be a “real” character.