Friday, October 31, 2008

Willard Mullin

Just back from being on the road this week, and catching up on what's been going on in the cartoon cyber world. Still yawning, drinking coffee and patting the kitties. However, this caught my eye immediately.

My pal Leif Peng over at his Today's Inspiration blog has presented a week-long tribute to the sports cartoonist Willard Mullin. Mullin's ink line has to be one of the most alive and fun, and although (to quote Leif), " What I know about sports could fill a thimble ... but I do love great cartooning - and Willard Mullin certainly was a great cartoonist!"

Here are links one, two, three, four and today's may be up by the time you read this.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Orlando Busino Honored

I'm happy to let everyone in on the news that the National Cartoonists Society Connecticut Chapter, headed by Brian Walker, will honor my friend and swell cartoonist Orlando Busino at its dinner this evening. Regretfully, I'm unable to be there. Regardless, I'll raise a glass to you, sir.

Above: back cover of OH, GUS, a collection of cartoons by Orlando Busino and copyright 1981 by Mr. Busino.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mike is On the Road

I'm on the road this week and seeing as I'm a 90's kinda guy, I don't do the remote blogging, etc. So enjoy this Mikeless time. I'll be back soon. In the meantime, visit some of the wonderful people over there on my blog links.

Be seeing you.

Battlestar Computer

Who doesn't want their computer to look like Battlestar Galactica? Geek DIY has all the frakkin' details.

H/t to Trekmovie.

From Sketch to Finish: Paul Giambarba

Above: detail from a framed illustration by Paul, hanging in their home.

I was fortunate to have lunch with Paul Giambarba and his lovely wife last Thursday. The drive through Boston and Cape Cod wasn't too bad -- at least not compared to NYC traffic. And once I got south of Braintree, it got calmer.

Above: Paul and his lovely wife Fran.

Paul is a go-to guy. He's done gag cartoons, he's the fellow responsible for the design of the Polaroid packaging, he's worked for Graphis, Gillette, Tonka, GE and many other major clients. He's won awards from the Art Directors Club of New York and the Art Directors Club of Boston, to name but two. He's lectured, he's founded his own publishing imprint, Scrimshaw Press. And he's the author/illustrator of children's books. The great thing is that he has a series of blogs talking about his career and methods.

I just wanted to showcase some of Paul's methods of working, and how he maintains the vitality of line in his drawings.

Paul's illustrations can be seen at Above is his pencil rendition of Michelle Bachmann. Here's Paul, commenting on the drawing process, from sketch to finish:

Sketch drawn freehand from several photos found on Google Images, 2B pencil on tracing paper.

Above: a cleaner sketch. Paul tells me he draws maybe three sketches total. Paul comments:

Tightened up with black Prismacolor 935 pencil on tracing paper, but eyes too close together.

And then, in Photoshop, the drawing can be altered, if needed. Above: bringing Michelle's eyes closer together. Paul says:

Lasso-tool on Photoshop cut and move eyes farther apart. Gray background only to show former position of eye.

And, above, is the finished product.

Here's another, with comments by Paul Giambarba:

Pencil sketch drawn freehand on tracing paper with 2B pencil from various individual photos on Google Images. Note four eyeballs for Heather, not sure which way she should look, at Paul or away from him.

Deleted one set of eyeballs, then printed out in black by laser printer on 90 lb. Rives BFK print paper. Watercolor added to emphasize Paul's tinted hair and Heather's bosom, which I had drawn too small. Cut and paster my signature to lower right of art. This was not used in a publication so appeared only on my site and blog.
And here are Paul's comments on drawing Michelle Obama:

Freehand sketch of Michelle Obama from various Google images, freehand with 2B pencil on tracing paper.

Tightened up drawing, Prismacolor 935 on tracing paper.

Final sent as .jpg attachment by email. Color added in Photoshop.

My thanks to chef Paul for a wonderful lunch and terrific conversation. And thank you for sharing your working process here. My one regret is that the time went too fast during my visit.

Don't forget to visit Paul's site for much more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Video: Caricaturist Gerald Scarfe

Gerald Scarfe, who was recently knighted by the queen, is interviewed by David Frost in the below video from Al Jazeera:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

See You Soon

I'm out of town today. More anon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

David Astor Leaving Editor & Publisher

Say it ain't so!

Tom Spurgeon has the story.

This is a cost cutting measure, and it's rotten news. Dave Astor has been an writer and editor with Editor & Publisher for years. Dave covered the syndicated cartoon world with intelligence and diligence. And he also shined the E&P light on graphic novels, Web comics and manga. This is a wrenching loss. Dave is not the kinda guy you do this to. Dave writes the content at E&P that I read every day. E&P's value has diminished substantially.

Typical New Hampshire Cartooning Scene

I'm drawing up a "typical New Hampshire cartoonist" scene. Whatever that is!

I agreed, in a phone conversation with an editor, to come up with 3 rough sketches of a typical NH cartoonist. When I got off the phone, I realized I didn't know what one visual of that idea would be, much less the three I promised

Hmm. New Hampshire. What says "New Hampshire?" I came up with a handful of ideas:
  • Old Man of the Mountain monument

  • Moose

  • Maple syrup

  • Foliage

So, I drew up the Old Man of the Mountain, falling on a cartoonist. As you can see, the cartoonist is holding up one of those dinky Wile E. Coyote umbrellas for protection.

And then I drew a moose-as-cartoonist, drawing with maple syrup.

And, finally, more of a gag cartoon: a cartoonist and his wife and the foliage.

Which one would you choose? I'll let you know which one the editor picked later.

My thanks to Chris Lupetti who suggested I show these.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I first saw this last week, and now, Robert F. Kennedy is on the Rachel Maddow Show talking about it this very minute. My apologies for my tardiness.

Anyway, he (Mr. Kennedy) and Greg Palast wrote it and there are great comics by Ted Rall, Lloyd Dangle and Lukas Ketner. Here's the site. You can download it for as little as $1. There's also a documentary.

On Sunday I attended a local get together of state reps and senators. There's concern about the privately programmed no-one-must-see-the-code voting machines. Here's hoping that this comic can help raise awareness and some good, old fashioned outrage.

Marcus Hamiliton: Cartooning Perseverence

Above: "Marcus Hamilton would tell you not much about him has changed since his youth growing up in Lexington [NC], long before a certain lovable menace entered his life." Photo by Heather J. Smith.

"Cartoonist shares message of perseverance with hometown" is the headline for an October 20th newspaper story about Marcus Hamilton written by The Dispatch reporter Heather J. Smith.

Over 20 years ago, he had to close his illustration studio.

"Slowly, requests for his work thinned, and he closed the studio he built behind his house and took a regular job at the encouragement of his wife. At 50 years old, Hamilton worked a minimum-wage job at Wal-Mart, discouraged in his love of art and God.

“'I was looking for somewhere to place the blame, and I blamed God,' Hamilton said. 'I said ‘Lord, I’ve trusted you with my life, and look where it got me.’'

"But several things happened that year that changed his life. He welcomed his first grandchild and suffered a major heart attack, but the biggest change happened by not even looking for it.

"While flipping through channels on the television, he paused long enough to watch an interview with Hank Ketcham, creator and illustrator of Dennis since 1951. He was asked what he wanted to do with the rest of his life after 40 years of drawing the comic.

"'I will never forget his answer. He said he could love to be able to paint and travel, but he always had that daily deadline,' Hamilton said. 'He said, ‘I would love to find someone to draw Dennis so I could retire.'"

More here.

Marcus, who is a gentleman and one of the nicest fellows you'd meet, credits perseverance and trust in God as the keys to success.

Above: Marcus Hamilton's bio from the National Cartoonists Society Web site.

Another tip o' the hat to Journalista!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Silver Bells #5 1953

Above: the cover of SILVER BELLS, Volume II, No. 5. Copyright in Japan, 1952 by Silver Bells Hiroshima Publishing Company. English translation by the staff of Charles E. Tuttle Company.

This is a 34 page, stapled magazine, of full color Japanese stories and comics, with a 3-D toy in the last page.

The nice thing is that Charles Tuttle gives us the name of each artist. He didn't have to, but he does.

Above: just a lovely picture, isn't it?

I'm now skipping ahead to the Adventures of the Little Magician story in the back of the book:

And now here is our foldout "toy:"

This would have been posted this earlier today if it wasn't for cats walking all over the scanner.

Famous Artists & Writers: 1949

Golden Age Comic Book Stories presents a 1943 promotional item from King Features titled Famous Artists & Writers: here is part one and part two.

Big hat tip to Journalista!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ABC 3D Book

Wow! I want this! The ABC3D BOOK!

Huge tip o' the hat to Claude Haber! Thanks, Claude!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cat Cartoons and Fat Cat Cartoons and Fat Kid Cartoons

Here are some regular cat cartoons and then a fat cat cartoon that was censored. Here we go:

A interviewer noted that I draw a lot of business cartoons. I said that the reason I do is because there are a lot of business cartoon markets. If there were a lot of cat cartoon markets, I would draw a lot of cat cartoons.

Above: the honoree at a cat surprise birthday party will, of course, get very puffed after all his or her cat friends surprise him or her. The original of this cartoon is framed and hanging in our Brooklyn vet's office.

Above: a favorite cartoon with an inky version of our beloved kitty Opie. Opie had a little grin sometimes. He was a great fellow. The cartoon was bought by Reader's Digest.

Above: Oops! Just cleansing the palate with a dog cartoon. This one was for BBC Music Magazine. The dog has those big, dark no-thinking, kinda eyes. The musicians follow along, blindly.

Above: this one was run in several publications here and in the UK.

OK, now a story that I thought I had long ago told you. (I thought I written this a couple years ago. I know I submitted the below cartoons and story to David Wallis, for his KILLED CARTOONS book.)

Yes, it's about a cat cartoon. It entails fat people, fat pets and -- in the end -- fat teenagers.

What was it? Maybe five years ago, fat people were suing the fast food restaurants, remember? Soon after, pet owners began to sue pet food manufacturers on behalf of their XXXL pets.

So I pitched a cartoon to my then-regular client, the New York Daily News. The idea was given a green light. This is the one I drew up for the NY Daily News:

I got a call from the editor as soon as I emailed it. She really sounded upset. "You can't have the man fat AND a slob. Fat people aren't necessarily sloppy housekeepers, you know?" I told her it was funny because all this irresponsible guy and his cat do all day is sit around eat, and they toss the wrappers and containers around.

Well, she was really upset. It didn't make too much sense to me. Regardless, I drew up another, sanitized version:

And she was relieved, and it ran in the paper and there was no outcry that I heard of.

Afterward, she told me that the Daily News had run a major multi-part story about obese children. For a week, articles ran about these weight-challenged kids and what their lives were like. It was meant to illuminate their worlds in a thoughtful way. And it did. But the kids' schoolmates ridiculed them. And these kids who had that thought they would be celebrities for a week, became even bigger targets of teasing. The parents of the obese children called the News, holding them liable for the bullying their kids were enduring. The News apologized and treated the kids and parents to a day at the News: a tour, a nice lunch, etc. That smoothed things over.

And it explained why, when the News shows an obese person (or cat), they are overly sensitive.

And it explained why they outright rejected this one:

New STAR TREK Movie Photos

Trekmovie has a series of links to unreleased, never before seen photos from the 2009 STAR TREK movie.

Next month, there will be a new theatrical trailer from the upcoming TREK reboot, full of more images to parse.