Thursday, January 31, 2013

Struggling New Yorker Cartoonist Sells Rejections to Pay for Car Impound

I used to own a car in NYC (which is crazy). I parked it on the street (ditto), which means, over time, that damn old Toyota go its trunk broken into, a wheel stolen and, of course, one time it was towed to the car impound lot because I read a street sign wrong.

Sure, I was crazy to own a car there -- but Corey Pandolph is crazy like a fox.

Like I used to, Corey, a fellow cartoonist lives in NYC and, like me, his car was towed. And here's where the crazy like a fox bit kicks in: Corey has initiated a sale of his rejected cartoons for The New Yorker to pay for the towing and the impound lot parking fee.

HuffPo story.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1920s Japanese Matchbox Labels

I'm not a matchbox collector, but from the design and color aspect alone, many of these 1920s Japanese Matchbox Labels at the Aqua-Velvet blog are worth looking at and maybe saving to your "stuff I look at to keep me inspired" graphic files, huh?

Art Spiegelman's "In the Shadow of No Towers" Symphony by Mohammed Fairouz

IN THE SHADOW OF NO TOWERS, the graphic novel by Art Spiegelman, has inspired Mohammed Fairouz to compose a symphony for the University of Kansas Wind Wind Ensemble. More here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Winsor McCay Sex Scandal “I will drive your wife out of New York if you do not give me the money!”

Above: a 1907 portrait of Winsor McCay by his friend and fellow cartoonist Cliff Sterrett.

Back in 1914, Winsor McCay had finished a performance at Chicago's Hammerstein Theatre. Gertie the Dinosaur, his pioneering animated film debuted that year.

He got a surprise when he retired backstage: a strange woman was there. She wanted to extort money from the famous cartoonist -- or maybe she just wanted to drink and smoke and go out with him. Yes, she was strange indeed.

She was Irene Lamkin and she wanted restitution.

Her story was that her husband Harry was secretly going out with McCay's wife. Mrs. Lamkin's marriage had busted up because of it. There was a threat that this would all come out in the papers. A big scandal for one of the nation's most famous cartoonists.

Mrs. McCay confirmed that Harry Lamkin was, indeed, infatuated with her.

Kevin Collier, for the Grand Haven Tribune, writes:

Winsor McCay reluctantly met with Mrs. Lamkin, concerning the threat, at the Hotel Hermitage on March 11, 1914. She told him she had no money and would be put out of her house if McCay didn’t pay her rent. 
Then she was said to remark, “They go out together, doggone, so why can’t we go out together?” McCay told the court, “She did not act like a lady." 
In fact, McCay reported that Irene “drank and smoked cigarettes” with him in the hotel restaurant “to the tune of $28.” 
McCay asked her why she had picked him out “to disgrace.” Mrs. Lamkin was said to reply, “I will drive your wife out of New York if you do not give me the money!”

The evidence did not hold up. Mrs. McCay, Winsor's wife of 23 years, had been at home the evenings she was supposed to be galavanting around with Irene's husband. The infatuation was not reciprocated.

The whole story is here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Video: A Tex Avery Sampler

If you haven't seen some Tex Avery animation, then you owe yourself a viewing of the compilation of clips below from some of his most outrageous cartoons. I didn't see any of his work until the late 1980s when it was offered on VHS tape.

You'll see why, within the first minute of watching, these cartoons were not Saturday morning rerun staples like the Warner Brothers cartoons were.

Doing the Work

I close my door, take out my sketchbook and whatever pen is closest (I really don't care what pen I use), and then I stare at the wall. It's quiet, and I let my mind wander and try to think of ideas for cartoons. 

There is not a clear path to success in comics. But one of the demands that you, the cartoonist, should make on himself, is the commitment to do the work. 

And it's hard to do the work if you are tired from working full-time doing something else. 

Rob Tornoe wrote a piece about former Commercial Appeal Editorial Cartoonist Bill Day in Editor & Publisher titled Unemployed Cartoonist’s Fundraising Drive Marred by Plagiarism Allegations.

Rob gives us the background and the controversy:
In the wake of his successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign, cartoonist Bill Day has landed in the middle of a controversy that has bubbled up among political cartoonists about plagiarism and where to draw the journalistic line when it comes to reworking old cartoons and making them new.   
As reported earlier this month, Day had taken to Indiegogo with the goal of raising $35,000 so that he could quit his day job at a bike shop and commit to cartooning full-time. Day has been juggling odd jobs and syndicated cartoon work ever since he was laid off by the Memphis Commercial Appeal three years ago.   
There are two minds about this, as you can read at the link: some editorial cartoonist colleagues said that it's okay to repurpose an previously published cartoon (particularly if you are working full time and are only cartooning part-time, as Day had to do after being let go by The Commercial Appeal) and others said, no, it's a cheat. I guess the thing that bothers me about people who say it's okay is that that's not doing the work. That's lazy.

And, yeah, thinking up something new is not easy. Like Hirschfeld said in the documentary of his life, THE LINE KING, some drawings come easy and some don't.   

I'll still try to come up with new ideas this week. Going forward while looking in the rear view mirror is never a good idea. 


Friday, January 25, 2013

New Cartoon Class March 2013: Magazine Gag Cartooning

I'm teaching a new series of cartooning classes for older teens and adults this March.

North Berwick, Maine - The Magazine Gag Cartoons course at the Noble Adult and Community Education; 4 Wednesday evenings in March 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2013. Time: 6-7:45pm. Registration is at the link.

This is going to be a hands-on, grounded class in how to tap in to your creative powers. If you have ever looked at newspaper cartoons or cartoons in a magazine and told yourself, "I can do a cartoon better than this!" -- Then this is the class for you.

Magazine Gag Cartooning 101

The students learn
  • drawing techniques,
  • the fundamentals of constructing a magazine gag cartoon,
  • and creating their own cartoons.

Here's my bio:


Mike Lynch’s clients include Reader's Digest, Mad Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, St. Martin's Press, Random House, McGraw Hill, The Boston Globe and many others. Mike has spearheaded the “Oscars of cartooning” as the Award Coordinator for the annual National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Awards. He writes the popular Mike Lynch Cartoons blog on the business of cartooning, one of the most recognized and trafficked comic art industry sites on the Web.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

THE JACK BENNY SHOW Season 7, Episode 5, November 18, 1956

I have this on in the background while I'm drawing a series of character poses for a client.

Plot: Someone has stolen Jack Benny's Maxwell car!

Rochester calls to give his boss the bad news.

Benny: When did this happen?

Rochester: Two hours ago.

Benny: Well, why didn't you call me sooner?

Rochester: I just stopped laughing.

Video: Wayne White "Beauty is Embarrassing"

Here's a short preview for "Beauty is Embarrassing," a 90 minute PBS Independent Lens documentary on cartoonist/puppeteer/artist, etc. Wayne White. Even if you don't know his name. you know his work from PEE WEE'S PLAYHOUSE or music videos for The Smashing Pumpkins (“Tonight, Tonight”) and Peter Gabriel (“Big Time”). You can stream the entire program here.

Video: Charles Schulz' Studio

Well, not really.

This is a re-creation of Charles Schulz' studio from the "Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit" at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

The video runs about 22 seconds:

Video: Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine gives a talk at Skylight Books in Hollywood in this video dated January 21, 2013.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


From 2010: One of the pleasures the good ol' Mike Lynch Cartoons blog was sharing an enormous number of previously unpublished SATURDAY EVENING POST gag cartoons from the 1950s.

Here's the first one again, with links to many more:

Here are some SATURDAY EVENING POST (and a few COLLIER'S) cartoons from the 1950s.

Last week, out of clear blue, a very nice woman named Kristin Cawood contacted me and asked if I wanted it. She wrote:

A few years ago in a thrift shop I came upon a scrapbook given by an aunt to her nieces in 1958 with several hundred pasted cartoons mostly from the Saturday Evening Post, some from the newspapers and some from Colliers.

I thought it was really cool, but now I am trying to clean up some clutter and just couldn't throw it out. I saw your blog and thought you might appreciate the collection. It was so lovingly assembled. Anyway, would be glad to mail it to you if you have any interest.

Well, I sure do and a big public THANK YOU to Kirstin for sending this on. I'll be posting more of these in future.

The SATURDAY EVENING POST 1950s gag cartoons blog entries:
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 1
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 2
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 3
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 4
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 5
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 6
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 7
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 8
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 9
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 10
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 11
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 12
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 13
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 14
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 15
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 16
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 17
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 18
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 19
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 20
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 21
  • SATURDAY EVENING POST Scrapbook Part 22

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Snirt" by Mike Lynch

When I was a kid, I lived in Moorhead, Minnesota. In the winter, the snow and the wind intermingle in sub-zero temperatures. Somehow, a bit of dirt gets in that clean, white snow, creating "snirt." So, after five minutes playing outside, all of us neighborhood kids would have a layer of mud on our coats and snow pants and boots, creating a cleaning nightmare for mothers.

Here's just one page of my "true story by a cartoonist" from RACONTEUR #3.

You can order #3 at the link, or get all four issues that came out in 2012 at a reduced price here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Juana Medina: What I Draw With

My friend Juana Medina shares what she draws with and why at her Tumblr site.

It's worth noting that there really are the two schools of people who draw: those who will pick up anything handy (Juana has even used ketchup) and those who are deeply devoted to very specific inks/brushes/pens, etc.

Of course, the problem with falling in love with a particular thing is that you live in constant fear.

Manufacturers are not necessarily reciprocal and are constantly dropping old models in favor of new ones. So, I know more than one cartoonist who has taken to spending a lot of their hard earned money to hoard a lifetime supply of their favorite drawing tool or paper.

Me? I like different things, but I tend to draw with permanent ink. And I think I may follow Juana's lead and try a condiment this week ....

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mike Lynch

Above: How I used to party.

Woke up to triple digit "Happy Birthday, Mike!" messages on Facebook. And they are still pouring in. Very kind and very overwhelming.

So ... I think I'll take the day off. Catch up on some work. And maybe catch up with Mark Anderson's blog and Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter.

I need to write a press release for my new adult ed cartooning classes coming this March too. I'll put up an announcement here, of course.

And I need to sort out the deadlines for RACONTEUR #5. And I have a client conference later in the day.

Hmm ... that's not taking the day off, but it'll do.

Happy weekend and thanks for stopping by this blog!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chris Cassatt 1946-2013

Above photo of Chris Cassatt and Sal E. Mander by Mary Hayes of The Aspen Times.

Chris Cassatt, part of the team behind the syndicated comic strip SHOE, died Wednesday morning in his Aspen, CO home. The cause was lymphoma.

Andy Stone of The Aspen Times, writes:

A computer whiz, Cassatt often used those skills as he put his strips together, and that process, combined with his long-standing close friendship with Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters, led to his breakthrough onto the national stage. In the early 1990s, Peters introduced Cassatt to Jeff MacNelly, also a Pulitzer Prize winner and the creator of “Shoe.” Using his computer skills to help MacNelly produce the strip, Cassatt rapidly became an invaluable part of the “Shoe” operation. And after MacNelly's untimely death in 2000, Cassatt — working with MacNelly's widow, Susie, and illustrator Gary Brookins — used those skills to keep the strip alive. Cassatt put his heart and soul into the strip, working six days a week for 12 years.

The rest is here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"The Petty Indignities That Ruin My Life" by Mike Lynch

Here's a true story about me going to the New Yorker magazine and trying to sell cartoons. I did this in person for many years. The Times Square offices of Conde Nast were about a 25 minute subway ride away.

I am still a bit clueless about why I do it, but ever since 1st grade it's mattered.

This story originally appeared in RACONTEUR #1 (which is available for purchase at the link).






Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The PRO Cartoonist & Gagwriter, Mid-March 1962

Here's the entire PRO Cartoonist & Gagwriter zine, Volume 2, Number 4, Mid-March 1962. Published by Charles and Ed Bell, The PRO Cartoonist & Gagwriter was marketed toward the professional magazine gag cartoonist (Duh!) in the 1960s. The late Arnold Wagner edited. The mag connected gag cartoonists to markets and general industry news.

There are some great factoids too. Like the fact that Chon Day had a personalized license plate on his Rambler, and a Brother Sebastian flag for the antenna that his wife made:

Want more? I have two other issues scanned:
PRO Cartoonist & Gagwriter April 1962
PRO Cartoonist & Gagwriter November 1962