Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Happy Birthday, Don Orehek

(Above: an original color cartoon of Don's that I own. Click for a larger version. I have some other Orehek originals, but they are not suitable for this family-friendly blog! Just look at those colors! And take in the details: the water, still choppy from her slicing through it, the husband's smoldering cigar, the other couple peeking into the hole, the woman's look of wide-eyed hope that this umpteenth stroke got the ball in. This original hung in a show at the Illustration House.)

A birthday salute to one of my favorite cartoonists, and my good friend, Playboy's Don Orehek!

Don's also known for his cartoon work for Cosmo, Good Housekeeping, Cracked magazine, joke books, and many other calendars and magazines. You can always tell it's one of Don's cartoons because he always signs his cartoons "Don Orehek."

Five years ago, when I first met him, he said, "I'm Don Orehek." And a visual of his signature popped in my head.

Don really is a drawing machine. I remember one time, we were talking on the phone. He mentioned a cat calendar. We were both under deadline for this calendar that Sam Gross was then editing for Barnes & Noble. After maybe 15 minutes of telling stories, I said I had to go and draw some more cat cartoons -- and Don informed me (with a loud laugh) that he was drawing HIS cartoons the whole time while we were talking!

That's how ya get ahead in this business!

And that's how you win four (1972, 1982, 1984, 1985) NCS Gag Cartoon awards!

What I like about Don's work is how alive his cartoons are. There's a real joy of drawing there. I mean, look at the expressions on his people: the evil sneer of the guy, and the helpless look of the French cutie!

So, here's to Don Orehek, a guy whose work I really love. It's wonderful to be a fan, as well as a friend, to this amazing cartoonist. Oh, not only that -- but Don's a great cook! He and his wife Suzy have had us over to dinner a couple of times and we've always had an amazing meal cooked by the same hands that draw those cartoons. What can I say? The guy's a renaissance man!

No comments: