Sunday, September 17, 2006

September 16th Cartoonist Panel at the Great Neck Arts Center

Hi, my name's Mike and I'm a cartoonist.

Above is a photo from the beginning of an hour-long panel abour cartooning on Saturday, September 16, 2006 at the Great Neck Arts Center.

Mark Anderson (gag cartoons, greeting cards), Isabella Bannerman ("Six Chix," Funny Times), Sy Barry ("the Phantom"), Ray Billingsley ("Curtis") and Jim Salicrup ("Spider-Man" editor, editor-in-chief Papercutz manga line) were all on the panel.

The way we've been doing these panels is I ask a couple of questions of the panelists, and then we ask for questions from the audience.

(Above, from left: the back of some guy's head, Mark Anderson, Ray Billingsley, and Sy Barry.)

Mark Anderson talked about the impact of the Internet on the way he does business. More and more business in general is being done on the Internet and, like me, he is seeing more dollars coming from people looking for content who surf the web. I've been making more money from people who are using search engines as well to find content.

(Ray Billinglsey, Mark Anderson)

I asked Ray Billingsley what his work week was like. He admitted that with his characters, a lot of times he just has to imagine them together and, since they have strong personalities, they sort of "speak" to him.

I asked Sy Barry -- with all these great computer programs out there that can do so much -- is it still important to know how to draw? Well, of course it is. And Sy reminded me that we just talked about this on the phone the other day! (Heck, that's the reason I asked ya, Sy!) You have to know how to draw; how to generate the work. A computer, as Sy pointed out, is only another tool. The human being in the process needs to know how to create the work.

(above: Isabella Bannerman, Jim Salicrup, Mike Lynch.)

I asked Jim how far can you take liberties with iconic characters. Jim pointed out that he believes that there are core elements to characters he's worked on (like Nancy Drew and Spider-Man), and while you can change things here and there, you don't mess with the basics that make up the hero or heroine. So ... Spidey can change his costume, but not the fact that he still has every day problems.

Isabella Bannerman, talking about writing and drawing gags, got the whole room laughing with a description of a recent cartoon: an old lady and "Death" (robe, scythe, you know) are at a bus stop. She comments, "Nice hoodie."

(Fans surround the panel table afterward.)

(Jim Salicrup draws his full color, self-described "lousy sketches" (which really aren't) for some fans afterward.)

(Ray Billingsley sketches for a fan.)

(Mike Lynch and Isabella Bannerman.)

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