Wednesday, December 31, 2008
No, wait. He launches it tomorrow. No launch today. My bad.
Related: New Andertoons.com Launches Tomorrow
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
We get to see some great originals on the wall, and Lucy Caswell (professor and curator, ad one of the nicest people I know) shows us around. I've always been curious to see the library. Although I've met Lucy saveral times, it's never been on her OSU home turf. Thanks, Mr. Russell, for the peek!
Many more videos at Mr. Russell's site. He's a wonderful comic book artist who lives in Ohio.
Background: CORALINE is a 2002 novel by Neil Gaiman, and is soon to have its motion picture release. Mr. Russell drew the graphic novel adaptation.
Related: Wayne Alan Howard has a documentary on Mr. Russell for sale here.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Let me know if you have seen "Puddy." She got away from her owners (who are our neighbors) and ran into the woods behind the Milton vet's building. If you know Milton, NH, you know that's on Route 125, near 75. There's a big woods out back. She is shy and her family misses her very much.
Related: the STAR TREK town of the Canadian prairies: Vulcan, Alberta.
"Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."
Advice is great. You can ask anyone -- a relative, a friend, a complete stranger -- and usually they will have some on hand to give to you.
Since I draw cartoons full-time, sometimes people ask how they, too, can become cartoonists.
"How can I succeed?"
I have some advice, but first, below is a video. That's not me in the video. No, no, no. It's not me. I found it on YouTube. That's an illustrator named Dan Page. I don't know Dan.
What's YOUR definition of success? I am going to assume that you want to succeed commercially, OK? You want to be paid for drawing.
You want to make a living from being a cartoonist.
Now, Dan is right that you need a portfolio. But the people at ExpertVillage, who, I assume, spent good money to get this fellow propped up in front of the camera, did not get the right guy for their How to Succeed as an Artist video. Here is his sum up:
- build up portfolio,
- submit your work to the "different groups or companies,"
- you will receive "an opportunity,"
- and from there, it's all what you do with it.
Above: Diane Franklin as Monique Junot from BETTER OFF DEAD.
I couldn't help but think of BETTER OFF DEAD's lead character Lane Meyer (John Cusack) who, when asking for guidance on skiing the difficult K-12 slope in the movie, was told advice so general (see that opening quote from Charles DuMar and Monique Junot above) that it was useless.
You have to seize the opportunity, like Dan says, but -- like one of the commenters on YouTube wrote -- "Isn't that how to become a successful anything? This is so general that it doesn't help anyone."
And that's why I'm here.
First off, talent is cheap. I can walk into any art school and see lots of people better than me. Most of those art students will not succeed. This is because talent has little to do with success.
How do you get that opportunity? You know, the one where Dan makes a fist and "seize that opportunity" right at 1:28?
Your talent may help, but persistence is key.
If you want to draw single panel magazine gag cartoons, draw 20 every week, throw away the weak ones and mail the rest of them out. Do this every week.
When I started I knew NOBODY. No editors, no other cartoonists. And I didn't know what I was doing. I got addresses from the magazines I looked at in the library and the bookstore. I took the addresses from the masthead of the magazine. It took me 6 months, but I began selling.
Do you want to draw comic books? Graphic novels? Comic book conventions always have an "artists alley," where you can meet professionals.
Meeting professionals at conventions is the best. I was just in Portsmouth for a comics convention last month and met a good number of pros and soon-to-be pros who were there. Very friendly get together.
Advice from a friend or teacher can be helpful-- but to meet and talk with a professional is sooo much better. Especially if you are looking to be come like them; to make a living from drawing and writing.
That said, I'll be starting up cartoon classes locally in Southern New Hampshire next month. And if there are snow days and no classes, well then -- we'll all ski the dang K-12 together, OK? Not successfully right off the bat, but maybe by July ... ?
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Today's NY Times is rerunning an article that George Burns originally wrote in 1988, My Favorite New Year’s Eve — So Far:
The complete story at the NY Times site today.
"When I was starting out in show business the thing I want most for New Year's Eve was a booking. If you were booked on New Year's Eve, it meant you were doing O.K."... But of all the New Year's Eves I've spent, the one I remember most was 1926. The previous Christmas Eve, Gracie had finally agreed to marry me. I don't think I'd ever felt as wonderful; there was something very special about feeling that I was really going to be booked for the rest of my life."
Friday, December 26, 2008
I have a wordless cartoon in the issue of WOMAN'S WORLD, now on the stands. By wordless, I mean a cartoon without any printed gag line below or any words in the drawing itself. These kind of cartoons are, in my opinion, the hardest to come up with successfully.
Bauer Publications produces WOMAN'S WORLD weekly, and it's distributed to pretty much every darn grocery store checkout area I've ever been in. This issue has 8 cartoons in it. Above is page 3 of the December 29, 2008 issue. Somewhere between "hug away stress!" and the recipe for Spanish Smoked Paprika Wings is my cartoon.
For wordless cartoons, you have to come up with universal themes and characters that are known throughout the world. There's a lot of material in fairy tales and popular culture.
Above is the version as printed. WW is very insistent that they do the coloring. You can see all the noodling that the person did who colored this. They really spent a lot of time.
Above is a scan of the original art. I like her eyes here; half closed in thought. She is enjoying looking at these froggy princes.
Did you notice the mistake? I did not sign it. Not good! This happens every once in a while.
One time an advertising exec saw a cartoon of mine in a magazine. All he saw was my last name. He wanted to buy the cartoon for an ad campaign. By using a search engine, he was able to contact me quickly and we worked together on a series of cartoon ads. Always remember to sign your cartoon!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Above and below: an original ink and watercolor card by Don Orehek. Don is a pal and one of the best ever.
National Cartoonists Society NJ chapter Chairman Tom Stemmle:
Cartoonist Elena Steier with an incredible series of drawings of her Goth Scouts:
Pibgorn and 9 Chickweed Lane cartoonist Brooke McEldowney:
A friend of the family who does this wonderful calligraphy. Those expressive Santa drawings are by her son:
The one and only illustrator extraordinaire Sandy Kossin:
Gag cartoonist Gregory Kogan with a fun New Yorkery bit of wordless multi-panel humor:
Batman and Mary Worth (Whatta combo!) artist Joe Giella:
Anne Gibbons with a spot-on political gag:
A gorgeous and thoughtful pose of Santa by Paul Giambarba:
My pal, graphic novelist Brian Fies:
Gag cartoonist Dave Carpenter:
Mad Magazine and New Yorker regular John Caldwell:
From the syndicated strip Six Chix, Isabella Bannerman:
The best pal a boy cartoonist ever had - Mark Anderson:
And the interior of Mark's card:
And finally, Cleo, Don Orehek's cat, snoozing on his drawing board.
My thanks to all of you for these little gifts in the mail. I love these cards!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Mr. Smits' cartoons were bought widely in major US markets, including The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post. He visited the United States once. His bio page picks up the story:
Klein museum gewijd aan cartoonist Ton Smits:
"After the first cartoon in 1949 hundreds followed and were published in The New Yorker, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Look, and This Week Magazine.
"Invited by The New Yorker Ton Smits visited The States for some months in 1955 and 1956. At that time he was the first cartoonist of the European Continent to have his cartoons printed in The New Yorker. With the money he earned in the first few years, he had a magnificent house and studio built at Eindhoven for his elderly mother and himself. For a long time he was a confirmed bachelor. Three years after his mother's death in 1970 - she lived to be 88 - he made up his mind to get married."
Who is Ton Smits? Related: some Ton Smits cartoons in the BEST CARTOONS OF 1964 book.
This is not a Christmas card for everyone. Heck, it's not even a NICE Christmas card. This is for cartoonists. And these are all true things that were said to me in 2007.
Everyone has experienced rejection, but cartoonists experience it regularly.
And it's normal. The important thing is to persist, as gag cartoonist Roy Delgado has in regard to submitting the The New Yorker. (19,000 cartoon submissions, all, as of this date, rejected.)
Every once in a while, the Berndt Toast Gang (the National Cartoonists Society Long Island chapter) would have a "rejection show," where successful professional cartoonists would bring in their rejected comic strip ideas, rejected proposals, rejected illustrations, and so on. There was a lot of gorgeous work. All of it unseen.
"If we ALL brought in ALL of our rejections," the late Joe Edwards (Archie, Li'l Jinx) told me, "the room would be FULL to the rafters." Joe was right. And we were in a pretty large banquet room at the time.
So, keep plugging away. You gotta have the misses to get the hits. And remember, to quote Red Green, I'm pullin for ya. We're all in this together!
Related: Rejection is the Key to Success.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, prints a special Christmas story that I drew for them. Aaron Sanborn's article "No chimney, no problem: Milton man's faith fulfilled by visit from Santa" gives you the background. Here's a snippet from Aaron's piece:
"How will Santa get into the house?Below is a clickable version of the cartoon that you can blow up nice and big:
"'From very early on you're told how it works and certainly by the time you're 21⁄2 or 3, you can be quizzed up and down, where does he live? How does he travel? How does he get in? So we all knew all the answers to those questions,' he said. 'But this was the first time I ever thought of how he's going to get through the heater grates.'"
My thanks to Aaron and photographer John Huff who came up to Milton to interview me and take my photo.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I really enjoyed Chad Frye's drawings of Michael Giacchino conducting the score for the new STAR TREK movie.
We had a big snowstorm here, about a week after the big ice storm. It dropped about 2 feet of snow, with some 3 foot drifts. It snowed all day yesterday and into the night. Above: a photo I took from the door of the snow-covered car at about 9pm.
Above: as the morning light peeks into the Lynch basement, you can see the trusty Sears snowblower, ready for its first big challenge of the 2008-09 winter!
And here I am, my back to the road, with a snowblower POV shot; looking down the long driveway that seemingly gets longer every blessed year. The little lump in the distance is the snow covered car.
Above: the cut into the yard, going to the birdfeeders. We have many juncos, titmice, woodpeckers, finches and chickadees.
And, more than an hour later, the job is done. And what, you may ask, did my assistants do?
And Roo ... well, who could be angry at Rufus? He just wanted some pats. That's it, lean into it!
(Note little drops on his nose: he is the sloppiest water drinker!)
My cartoonist pal Stephanie Piro lives in the next town over, which means that they got the big ice storm as well. Trees were down, power went out to 1.25 million people, and everyone was slipping and falling.
After the big ice storm, she drew a story about her experience titled POWER, which you can read in its entirety at her site. While we lost power for about 14 hours, Steph and her husband John lived in a dark house for days, with nothing but their woodstove for heat.
Please note that when "friends Mike and Stacy stop over" that (a) we bring wine and (b) the power comes on!
My thanks to Stephanie for posting this. I had no idea that she had drawn this involving non-fiction comic about their experience, much less that we had a cameo in it! Thanks, Steph!
My one note: please post the story LARGER on your site. It was hard to read ....
Sunday, December 21, 2008
"This is what satirists do in democratic societies" - editorial cartoonist Zapiro to Jacob Zuma (see second YouTube video below).
The Sunday Times' (South Africa) professional editorial cartoonist Zapiro has been sued not once, but twice, by African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, over a cartoon he (Zapiro) drew. Zuma is also suing The Times. More here at Zapiro's site.
Posted today on YouTube: Zapiro talking about the pending suit and issues of a free press.
Related: Zapiro calls in to a radio interview show to talk to Zuma directly:
My thanks to Tom Spurgeon for continuously tracking this story.
HYPE: You can still express mail out some Mike Lynch Cartoons swag to friends, enemies and total strangers.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I snagged the photo on the left of the Popeye statue in Chester, Illinois from dvdbarrett's Flickr page.
The plaque below is from the Chester Illinois Resource Guide. Photo taken by Thomas J. La Rosa.
Let's all rent a bus and go on a cross country cartoon statue road trip!
Hat tip to the WFMU Blog via Journalista!
Related: The Twelve Episodes of Christmas Television Gave To Us
In case you had too much tryptophan last month: My pal Brian Fies posted That Classic WKRP Thanksgiving Episode on his Fies Files blog.