Monday, July 31, 2006

Mike Lynch Cartoon in August 1, 2006 Woman's World

I think I said this one day and then just jotted it down. It's a rather sexist 1950s attitude -- but it got me some money, so there!

All of the copies I saw of WW has misaligned the color on page 3, where the cartoon appears. It looks like a cartoon on an acid trip. Maybe all of the print run was like that. Hope not.

My favorite part of cartooning: getting the idea.

Worst part of cartooning: seeing the cartoon in print.

Most of the time when I see it, I want to change things in the cartoon or the printing is bad or they cropped it harshly or they changed my line without asking (a major faux pas!).

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sidney Smith, Frank Willard, Harold Gray, Walter Berndt in "From Trees to Tribunes" Short Film

The Internet Archive Web site, a repository for all kinds of films, has an 11 minute silent short from around 1931 about the Chicago Tribune. From Trees to Tribunes shows the day to day activities of that city's daily newspaper. Of particular interest are the cartoonists. Here they are, in order:

Now, all we see is these cartoonists at their desks with maybe a close-up of them drawing their strips. I know all of these names but have never put so many faces to so many names. Isn't great how everyone has a white shirt, stiff collar and tie? From the look of the film, as well as those fashions, I would guess that it's from the 1920s -- not 1931 as the site suggests.

Hat tip to my cartoonist friend Arnold Wagner!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Berndt Toast Gang Meeting July 27, 2006

Dan Danglo volunteered to show some of his work at the latest Berndt Toast Gang meeting. I was asking around at the last minute. It's tradition that we have someone show their work. Unfortunately, it's getting to be tradition that I forget about it! Thanks to Dan for saving the day. Dan brought in his gag cartoons, and he had whole books of his storyboards.
"Joe Oriolo (the man behind the Felix cartoons, and creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost) would come in and describe a character, and I would sketch it out," Dan explained. 

Here's Marv Levy (Harvey Comics, Snowman's First Christmas), Dan Danglo (Felix the Cat, Casper the Friendly Ghost), Joe Edwards (Archie, Lil Jinx) and Marty Macaluso (Caricaturist)

Sandy Kossin and Elaine Duillo. Between these two talented painters, their art has appeared on hundreds of covers. Elaine has been called "Queen of the Romance Covers." She paints romance book covers. Below is just one of her works:

Aha! Now you know her work, right? Elaine's had a major retrospective at the Society of Illustrators and been part of the School of Visual Arts' 100 Year Salute. Her paintings have helped sell millions of romance books. Her grandson Josh came along and he showed a bunch of wonderful cartoon drawings of his own.

Another Berndt Toast tradition that I love: They'll Do It Every Time cartoonist and opera aficionado Al Scaduto serenades the group.
Over two dozen of us attended the luncheon and we had a grand time. We chatted about an upcoming gallery show, shared photos from last month's Bunny Bash, and had the usual shop talk.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Guy Gilchrist's Cartoonist's Academy Charity Event July 25, 2006

As you may nave read in Editor and Publisher, Guy Gilchrist's Cartoonist's Academy raised at least $3,000 on July 25, 2006 with a chalk talk and charity auction for Operation First Response. Operation First Response supports America's wounded military and their families.

There were a lot of cartoony items for auction. First thing I did was wonder around the large academy facility taking pictures of all the goodies hanging on the walls. Below is the For Better or For Worse original plus its Sunday color version. Yes, it sold! How much? If you have to ask ….

And here is an original sketch by Marcus Hamilton, who draws the Dennis the Menace daily panel.

And below's an original Jumble paste-up! I've never seen a Jumble paste-up and this was a lot of fun to see. It was filled out in non-photo blue pencil. I assume this was done by the writer Henri Arnold as a final check that the Jumble is working properly prior to its going to press!

The walls are decorated with cartoons. Here's one of Guy and Brad Gilchrist's Muppets Sunday pages, along with some of the student cartoonists' work. It was great so look at the walls and see pro and then amateur and then pro and so on. The academy has a series of classrooms and offices, as well as an art supply shop. I met a number of kids who take classes there and a lot of them were good -- some were very good. And all them were very enthusiastic.

There was an original Pogo on the wall, as well as a John Cullen Murphy Prince Valiant. Here's a Steve Canyon, in all its inky glory. Alas, none of these were up for auction!

Below is Frank McLaughlin, 40 year comic book veteran, chatting to camera-aware Brad Gilchrist. Brad writes most of the gags for the Nancy strip, while Guy draws it.

And here is Guy, doing a chalk talk. You start drawing Kermit with the shape of a light bulb. Note amusement from onlookers.

Guy drawing Kermit the wobbly "wrong" way.

Guy reminds everyone that it's hard work to draw -- to get the pictures in your head to come out on the page. There's Brad in background, monitoring his brother. Out of camera range: a room full of people drawing Kermy along with Guy. Jim Henson's The Muppets comic strip ran in 660 newspapers from 1981 to 1986. Guy was 24 when he got the gig drawing the strip, Brad, the writer, was 3 years younger.

Master Frank McLaughlin inking in Batman. You have to ink Batman in with small strokes, he said. It makes him masculine. It was amazing to see the inked Batman "pop" out of his pencils.

Here, Frank holds a Gil Thorp strip that he's been drawing for over the past decade. Frank's also known for creating Judo Master for Charlton. I grew up on his Batman stories.

Crazed Mike Lynch and Frank McLaughlin count the cash! Please note that Frank has all the 20 dollar bills on his side.

My hair's wild! I had given a talk, drawing some cartoons very fast. Right hand all tired out. But, obviously, not too tired to grab some money. Our thrill was fleeting. Guy took all of this away from us, of course!

And I met cartoonist/musician Jason Nocera.

Jason's also creative director for a Prankplace, novelty company as well. You gotta admire a guy who makes a living selling Drink Pee Repeat t-shirts and mooning garden gnomes!
Here are some Guy-designed drink coupons! I love that Porky Pine!

My thanks to Guy and Angie Gilchrist for inviting me. I had never met Frank McLaughlin, and always wanted to. He treated as a (gulp!) equal. Whatta gracious fellow!
It was an evening of good food and good company .. and all for a fine cause.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mike Lynch Gone?!

Massive problems at my MySpace blog this week, with my site going down and coming back up, over and over. No blog is no fun.

Fortunately, Blogger is here and I can post recent events and pictures here. Whether this Blogger site is permanent, I don't know.

Stan Goldberg and Mike Lynch Talking Comics on "Artscene on Long Island" with Shirley Romaine

Stan Goldberg and Mike Lynch Talking Comics on "Artscene on Long Island" with Shirley Romaine

I was at the Cablevision offices in New Hyde Park yesterday for taping of the 30 minute "Artscene" program. It's been hosted by Shirley Romaine for years. Shirley interviewed me and my friend Stan Goldberg about being a cartoonist and we also plugged a gallery show of cartoonists coming up next month. More anon about the gallery show.

Above is Ms. Romaine and Stan G. in the green room. She's picking out some Archie material to showcase.

It's worth catching just for the lengthy introduction by Shirley of Stan Goldberg. Starting as a teenager working for Timely Comics, he has worked in all facets of the industry. He began by assisting Carl Burgos in the bullpen of what would become Marvel Comics. As the years passed, he drew and colored and kinked books. He even drew some then-risque cartoons for some of the men's magazines back in the day. Now he's best known for Archie Comics. One of its most prolific pencillers, he's been with the character for 40 years. Stan described the process of how a comic book is made; with a writer, then a penciller and then an inker.

During the program, we saw samples of his pencils, then saw a job with inks laid over the pencils. (Alas, not the same job. Stan was looking for such a thing but could not dig up such and regretted it.) He also showed a new project, Little Lin, a comic book for kids that you can only find via the Lindblad Expeditions company.

When it cam to me, I spoke about how I became a cartoonist. AS a kid I drew and drew, but I went into another profession/ I used to work as a college administrator -- but then I made the transition to a full-time freelancer. I talked about having to come up with at least 10 cartoons every week. I knew in my heart I could do the first 10 gags for that first week. But could I do the next 10 gags for the next week? And the third week? Scary!

"How do you do that?"

"I read the papers, watch C-Span and see all the things in the world that make me happy and all those things that frustrate me. Somewhere in the middle there is something funny."

Then Shirley showed some of my magazine cartoons and I talked about each one.

If you live in Long Island, here are the dates. I am looking for a tape of the show, which I do not have and, living in Brooklyn, will not see. Please let me know if you can tape it. Thanks.

The Cablevision program "Artscene with Shirley Romaine" air dates (revised as of 7/31/06):

Wednesday, August 9 at 5 pm on Channel 73

Friday, August 11 at 7pm on Channel 18

Saturday & Sunday, August 12 & 13 at 5:30 pm Channel 73
You can only see this if you have Long Island Cablevision. I'm trying to get a copy of the show from someone who has Long Island Cablevision. If I can, I will share it!

Monday, July 24, 2006

MySpace Problems

MySpace has gone kablooey as of last night. My blog has been at MySpace for a long time, but there are continuing problems there, with MySpace saying an "unexpected error" has occurred when one types in my blog address. Blogger will have to assist for now.

The Cartoon Mural at the Overlook Lounge

Below is the cartoon mural at the Overlook Lounge (244 East 44 Street, between Second and Third Avenues) as it appeared on July 20, 2006.

Background: Cartoonists converged on the Overlook in November 2005 to create it. I helped organize that event last fall. It was great fun, with dozens of my friends and colleagues showing up and drawing, all in exchange for some food and drink generously donated by the Overlook partners, Jeff, Pat & Mark.
And since then, more have dropped in and you can see how it is filling up.

Don Orehek took 2 hours to fill the large 3 pigs cartoon. All I knew is I wanted my cartoon to be next to Don's, since I am a fan!

Other featured cartoonists: Nick Downes, Sam Norkin, Andy Eng, Arnie Roth, Mell Lazarus, Frank Springer, Mikhaela Reid, Bill Gallo, Brain Kates, Sal Amendola, Guy Gilchrist.

Joe Giella used some kinda chalk to color Mary Worth and now she seems to hover over all of the others.
Other featured cartoonists: Mike Lynch, Peter Porges, John Caldwell, Chris Browne, Dan Piraro, John Klossner, Mort Gerberg, Anne Gibbons, Robert Leighton, Stephanie Piro.

More cartoonists: Ted Rall, Sy Barry, Al Jaffee, Rina Piccolo, Brendan Burford, Stan Goldberg, Bill Kresse, Ted Slampyak, Arnie Levin, Nick Meglin, Rick Stromoski.

Patrick Merrell wrote and drew a special crossword for the mural.

More cartoonists: Sam Viviano, Mort Walker, Bunny Hoest & John Reiner, Taylor Jones, Jules Feiffer, Al Scaduto, Irwin Hasen, Gerry Mooney, Henrik Rehr, Doug Bratton and Joe Edwards drawing Li'l Jinx.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mike Lynch Cartoon in The Spectator (UK)

Here is the Pied Piper, leading the vermin out of town. One rat is saying to another:

'We must go to the shops when he's done and buy the CD.'

Spectator Britishized the gag line. The line, when I submitted the cartoon, originally was:

"We gotta go to the lobby and buy his CD."

For UK magazines, I send a batch without any SASE. Of course, I make sure each cartoon has my contact info. on it. I remember when I first mailed out submissions to European magazines I followed some advice from one of those How to Cartoon books about making sure one places International Reply Coupons into the envelope so the foreign editor can then go their post office and buy their postage to put on your SASE so you can get your returns.

Well, that never happened.

I got some International Reply Coupons. (I got them at the post office next to Grand Central Staion. They had to go into a back room to go "hunting" for the coupons. Ugh!) No editor ever used them. So now I just send cartoons out and sit and wait.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Limit Your Palette

More and more cartoons are being published in color. And with some markets, that means more money. My problem is that when I do a B&W wash drawing like the one above -- it's not usable for a color version. I mean, sure, I could carefully eliminate the grey tones in PhotoShop, but, hey, when I say that markets pay more for color, I mean that they pay $25-$100 more. Not a lot of money. So I can't devote many hours to coloring.

So I do a redraw, which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour plus. I think the major change I made was to draw more of the airport in the window, since I thought one needed to have the "tell" that this was an airport. The close-up of the airplane in the B&W drawing just didn't "read" to me.

But the PhotoShop coloring on this cartoon took a long time. A real long time. Hours. I couldn't control it! I mean, everyone should have different clothing colors, right?

So I was complaining about all this at lunch one day. My friend and colleague Sandy Kossin, a prolific painter and illustrator, was sitting across the table. "Michael, m'lad," he told me, "Limit your palette."

Sandy's advice changed everything!

So, here's a cartoon with only a few cool blues, an orangey brown and a reddish color. I gave myself 20 minutes to do this. Even though it's done a little messily (the background has messy, wide swooshes of color and there are little bits of white here and there), it still works. I was happily surprised!

So I started to color with Sandy's advice in mind. I would pick 2 or 3 colors and then using tones, vary each color a couple times. Even though I've never seen a yellow vacuum, it pops out in the drawing and it looks OK.

Less is more. And it certainly made for more time in the day to draw.

From Sketch to Finish RESULTS

Hey, thanks fo playing the From Sketch to Finish game (yesterday's blog entry). Here are the results:




Of all of these, I was most surprised that the gorilla cartoon sold since it was based on the "not talking about the elephant in the room" kinda idea and I thought afterward (after I had mailed it to the Wall Street Journal, and after I could actually change it) that I should have drawn an elephant and the gag line should say elephant, but, well, you see, King Kong was opening than and I was trying to think of some King Kong cartoons. WSJ bought this weeks after KK had come and gone. Go figure.

The cryogenically freeze cartoon sold quickly enough, which was nice. But thanks to an editor/pal, I found out that it caused a criticism from a reader:

I didn't appreciate the warped joke cartoon .... People losing their jobs isn't something I find humorous in the least.

Well, you can't be funny to all the people all the time!

The busy work cartoon, which I personally like, is one that is maybe too mean to the boss (He really is deformed!)and too indicative of an ineffective work environment -- not something that business mags want to showcase. Maybe I can make the hands into turkeys and sell it for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

From Sketch to Finish

Here are
  • some business cartoons I drew in my sketchbook,
  • and then the finish
  • ... and then we shall have a guessing game.

No one gets to see my sketchbook. I mean, until now. It's really just a thing I have for myself. I mean, the writing is near illegible and the people are simple, bald doodles. Look at all those Little Orphan Annie eyes. I draw a lot of business people with glasses and the blank eyes seem to add to the cartoons.

Here's a finish of the cartoon. By "finish," I mean a cartoon that is ready for publication. I simplified the gag line. (Georgette? Was I thinking of Ted Baxter's girlfriend or what?) I still made the gorilla look a little cheesed off, but he's not as threatening as I originally made him. Maybe that was a mistake. Ah well. If I do say so myself, I like the gorilla hair.

Now you see just how messy my sketches can be. And you can also see that I couldn't decide on the line. I knew I wanted a bunch of boss-types v. poor little worker ...

... Except I changed my mind. Now we have some fellow businessmen half-way coming into an office to deliver the bad news. One reason I changed the initial idea is that you don't always sell a cartoon with a mean boss. I mean, aside from Dilbert. You couldn't do up a batch of cartoons showing bosses as evil people and expect to sell them to, for instance, Forbes. Now these people coming into the office may or may not be colleagues of the poor fellow who will be frozen. The one speaking looks upset, so it looks like I recognize the fact that business can be tough and unfair and hard on the people in it. This is more humanistic.


And here's another one from the sketchbook. This time the boss type, with those soulless no-eyes glasses, is actively accusing a cubicle dweller.

The boss here is almost deformed. He looks a little withered under his suit.

OK, wrapping up: so there are some sketches and some finishes. Now, here's the game:

Which cartoons sold and which ones didn't? HINT: 2 of them did sell, but another, after being submitted to all of the major business cartoon markets, utterly failed.

I'll post the answer soon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Interview with Creators of "On a Claire Day" Strip

Interview with Creators of "On a Claire Day" Strip

The Portsmouth Herald interviews my friends, husband and wife creative team Carla Ventresca and Henry Beckett, whose On a Claire Day comic was launched by Creators this past year. Above is a strip from earlier this month, and you can see the attention paid to the writing and drawing. This is how life is when you are first on your own. And look at all the details that Carla's able to pack into the apt.

Hat tip Comics Reporter.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Doug Wright Awards

The Doug Wright Award nominees were announced last week. This is the second year of the Doug Wright Awards. I didn't know who Doug Wright was when the first round of nominees were announced last year. Canadian cartoonist Sandra Bell-Lundy set me straight.

Doug Wright (1917-1983) did a comic strip titled Doug Wright's Family for the Canadian Magazine and Star Weekly. A lot of Canadians grew up on "Doug Wright's Family." It was at first glance a suburban slice of life strip.

For instance, here's one about having your mom shopping for clothes, and how every male kid hates it. There are both very specific (the look of the mall, the different mothers and kids) and very cartoony (the swooshes of smoke delineating speed (panel 2) and frustration (last panel).) But there is also something even more inviting: the joy of drawing.

The Doug Wright Family strip had 2 boys (the real Doug Wright had 3 kids, but I digress). This strip shows the typical love/hate pattern that 2 siblings have. And we also see some loving details: the iron work in the screen door, that little mail box that millions of North American homes have. And there's a real knowing of the human condition too!

Not growing up in Canada, I did not see any other these strips nor did I know who Doug Wright was. Here is one that is just plain mean -- and very funny. I think Mr. Wright understood how nasty kids could be. If you look at the houses and the garage doors, you start to feel just how suburban this strips was. The surprise if how much like The Sopranos these kids can be at times!

This simple strip, another pantomime like most of Doug Wright's work, illustrates his love of detail. Look at that rain splooshing down in the last panel. And I love the kid's happy look as well.

Another rain-related gag. And that station wagon is consistent in all the strips. I picked these because I like Wright's pen work with the rain. Growing up on the great plains (of the U.S.) this is how the rainstorms would move in. And I like the fact that one of the boys (both unnamed, so far as I can tell) has come up with his own fix to the situation. Again, a kid has found a solution to the rain! 2 similar situations, 2 different gags.

The Doug Wright Awards are given to Canadian cartoonists in two categories: Best Book and Best Emerging Talent.

From the late 1940s until the 1980, Doug Wright's Family was a staple. The awards were founded last year "to cast a spotlight on the wide array of comic artists and cartoonists working within Canada." But the awards, with all their good intentions, do not embrace Canadian gag cartoonists, Canadian comic strip artists, Canadian illustrators, etc. Graphic novelists, sure.

I hope that as the years go on, other categories will be added. Since Wright was a newspaper cartoonist, I hope that the board will see fit to add newspaper cartoonist to its list of award nominees. It's dreadful to see Canadian cartoonists who are being published that are not considered. Heck, even Doug Wright, if he was drawing Doug Wright's Family, would not currently qualify for a nod. And it's not right that 3 of the 5 links to Wright's work do not work as of today at the Doug Wright Awards site! Please consider today's blog offering as evidence of interest in showcasing more of Mr. Wright's work on the Net!

Sure, they're casting a spotlight -- but it's a damn narrow beam.

Mark Anderson: Practical Cartoon Advice

Today at Mark Anderson's blog, he gives practical advice on how to be a cartoonist. This is roll up your sleeves, hands on, advice-you-can-use kinda stuff. No accessing your inner shakra or centering your cartoon soul new age talk.

Like me, Mark is a regular guy who wanted to be a cartoonist. He tried other vocations, but came back to cartooning as a profession and, through hard work, he is successful. Like me, Mark had no connections, no "cartoon school" experience. All he had was an enthusiasm for the field and a willingness to persist. And, like me, he's from Iowa!

Go and read!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Lockhorns Studio

Last month, I was fortunate enough to snap a few photos of the studio where The Lockhorns (as well as a Howard Huge) is produced.

Did you know The Lockhorns was originally titled The Lockhorns of Levittown? When King Features bought it in 1968, Levittown a reference to a Long Island community was omitted. Four years later, Bill Hoest was looking for gag writers and office help. After meeting him socially, Bunny went to work for the cartoonist. They were wed in 1973. Yes, I married the boss, she says.

Here is Howard Huge! As you walk into the studio, he is the first thing you see. The drawing board is in that alcove to the left, up the stairs.

This studio saw a lot of output through the years. Howard Huge for Parade Magazine, Bumper Snickers for the Enquirer, and the comic strips What a Guy! and Agatha Crumm followed. On top of this, Bill Hoest served as NCS president. He won NCS Division Awards for syndicated panel (twice) and gag cartoon.

Life is certainly not dull, he wrote, especially with a Bunny

In 1986, Bill was diagnosed with cancer. He brought aboard John Reiner to assist. We handpicked him. Hes brilliant, says Bunny. Sadly, Bill passed away 2 years later. Today, The Lockhorns runs in over 500 papers, with millions reading Bunnys words and looking at John Reiners art.

Details of the wall behind Howard. The drawing on the wall is an invitation to an National Cartoonists Society Long Island chapter (the "Berndt Toast Gang") holiday party from some years back, drawn by John Reiner in a Mort Drucker style. John was Mort's asst. before coming on to join Bill Hoest.

Detail: Bunny and Bill Hoest, Creig Flessel, Mort Drucker, Frank Springer, Lee Ames, Don Orehek and Chuck Harrington.

More from the same wall. Some the awards from the NCS. The drawing on the bottom left (caricatures of the Berndt Toast Gang) is by former BTG chair, and my much missed friend, Bill Seay.

Strips adorn one of the walls.

Here is where the Lockhorns, as well as Howard Huge, is drawn. You can see that there is a lovely view of the backyard and, beyond that, the Long Island sound. The view is so nice that I wonder how one can get any work done here!

John Reiner's drawing materials at hand. I like that permanent wooden holder with the dip pens and brushes.