Friday, November 30, 2012

Is Your Sketchbook Private Property?

Above: a sketch of my sketchbook drawn in my sketchbook.

This is a story that starts with a tragedy: a lost sketchbook, but I will tell you right now that there's a happy ending.

But there was also a cost.

One time I wrote about having too many sketchbooks.  I sure do. This week, I was teaching a class at a middle school. I had a couple of sketchbooks with me, which I refer to for class cartooning exercises. Afterward, I went to the office, returned my visitor pass and drove home.

Forty minutes later and about a mile from home, I realized I had left one of my two sketchbooks in the classroom. I must have left it on the teacher's desk.

I called the school and my little sketchbook was found. I could pick it up any time the school was open. Hooray!

I drove back the next day, went to the school office and one of the women who work there handed me my sketchbook back.

"I hope you don't mind," she said. "I let a special needs kid look at it. I was busy and handed your sketchbook to him to keep him occupied. He was mesmerized. He just sat and was quiet. He looked at every drawing in your book. He was fascinated."

It could be worse. My sketchbook could have been lost that day. I was relieved it was found and so I nodded and said something like it was OK that this kid pored over my sketchbook.

But she should have asked me beforehand.

This begs a question.

Is your sketchbook your private property? Can anyone look through it? If someone you don't know picks up a sketchbook of yours and starts to look through it, page by page, without your permission or knowledge, what would your reaction be? Would you then be liable for anything that that person reacted to in your sketchbook?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bill Day: Crowdfunding a Cartoonist's Salary

Take a look at Michael Cavna's column. his "Comics Riffs" feature is well worth your time in general -- and specifically, this day (uh ... no pun intended). 

Michael writes about Bill Day. Bill Day is one of the best editorial cartoonists out there. And he needs some support.

When judging the NCS Editorial Cartoon Division Awards in the past, Bill's work would always be in the top tier of potential nominees.

Michael writes about his unceremonious firing from the Commercial Appeal in 2009 and the extraordinary "Crowdfunding a Cartoonist's Salary" for Bill that's been spearheaded by Daryl Cagle. Do take a look if you can. Here's the video:

People love cartoons and I see more cartoons on social media than ever. But the newspapers are cutting back, and, in Bill's case, he has been working at a bike shop to make money and drawing part-time, at night. We are, to paraphrase Daryl, in danger of losing Bill's editorial voice. And his prediction of maybe having only a few editorial cartoonists around in the future is not good.

Fans can make the difference, and for a small amount of money, you can save this editorial voice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1962 Terry Gilliam College Cartoon

Above art by a young Terry Gilliam, parodying an ad by a young Dr. Seuss.

Here's a cartoon by Terry Gilliam from 1962. It was drawn when he was in college and is based on a popular series of ads. If you know your Dr. Seuss, then you know that he before he was a children's book creator, he illustrated many ads for an insecticide that operated with a "flit gun."  The ads would invariably deal with someone seeing an unwanted insect and shouting, "Quick, Henry! The FLIT!"

Let me find one of the original ads. Yes, here's one, from the "Seussian Art" pages of Tufts University:

Anyway, here is proto-Gilliam with a multi-panel gag showing us what a flit could be.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving Nonpost

Drove about 14 hours yesterday. Had a grand time with family in Pittsburgh. Sure, I'll be posting fascinating material to the blog this week, but not just now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sale on All Four Issues: RACONTEUR #1 thru #4 Discount

Clockwise from upper left, the covers of RACONTEUR by John Klossner, Jeff Pert, David Jacobson and Mike Lynch.

You can order ALL of the issues we have done this year for $17 postpaid in the US

That's RACONTEUR 1, 2, 3 and 4. All of these will be shipped in December, upon the publication of RACONTEUR #4. Previews of the first three issues are here. (You can order separate issues for $5.99 at that link too.)

Ship To ...

Preorder RACONTEUR #4

Now taking preorders for the latest issue of RACONTEUR.

RACONTEUR #4 has "true stories by cartoonists" David Jacobson, John Klossner, Mike Lynch and Jeff Pert

The book will ship to you the same day it's printed, on or before December 10, 2012.

And take a look at that terrific cover by David Jacobson.

My sincere thanks to everyone for their interest in RACONTEUR. I had no idea that we would be doing four issues this year. And there will be more in 2013 ...

Anyway, please consider preordering RACONTEUR #4 --

Ship To ...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Start a Blog

Blog cartoons by me, Mike Lynch, originally appeared in Prospect Magazine (UK) and Harvard Business Review.

I was asked "How does one start a blog?" by a family member. I wrote a short note back, and thought I would share my response here.

I use Blogger because Blogger is free and Blogger blogs appear on Google searches, which draw more people to your blog. 
I began my blog in 2006. Within a few years, it had a reputation as a "go to" place for cartoonists. Lots of people liked it and its presence has helped awareness of who I am and what I do. It has, at least, given me some kind of brand recognition.  
But there is no equation like "number of hours I spend doing my blog equals a certain amount of income." Anyway, I do it because I enjoy it and that's really the secret to maintaining a blog: that you are excited to share stuff.  

And by stuff I mean "content." You have to have new content, every day. Content drives traffic to your blog.  
Blogging takes time and there are certainly days when it's particularly grinding to wake up and wonder, What will I put up on my blog today?  
Hope this helps. I get thousands of people to my blog every day -- and even the stuff on the blog that isn't about cartooning (like the posts about our garden) generate page views and comments.  
Good luck with your new blog!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rough to Finish: Mike Lynch Illustration in November 16, 2012 Boston Globe

Above: a detail from my November 16, 2012 Boston Globe illustration.

Here's a quick rough-to-finish process blog entry for my Globe art that was published on Friday.

The piece was for a poem about various pet peeves by Joan Wickersham.

First, the very rough drawing. My eyes only. From my sketchbook, drawn in ink:

Here is a tighter pencil rough for the editor. I wrote to her:

Here's a rough sketch of a mean zookeeper, taking it out on those annoying people (the email "reply all" guy, the person talking in the movie theatre, the no-headlights-on driver, and the non-flusher) who are caged like zoo animals.

And below, the finish, with a couple of changes: the zookeeper is now gleeful about having these people in cages, and the zookeeper roughly resembles the author of the poem.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mike Lynch Illustration in November 16, 2012 Boston Globe

I have a drawing on the op-ed page of today's Boston Globe. It's a rather large drawing, and it accompanies "a poem about what to do to rude people if we had our way" by Joan Wickersham.

For now, you can see it two ways: buy a paper or buy an online subscription. 

Above is a screen grab of today's Globe editorial page. You can see a bit of my drawing there. Subscribers may click thru to see the whole thing online.    

Stan Lynde "Sale of a Lifetime"

 Estate sale manager Crystal Shors displays comic strips Thursday that will be for sale at the Lynde estate sale. Photo by Dylan Browne for the Independent Record.

The article is here:

Artist, author and acclaimed cartoonist Stan Lynde and his wife, Lynda, are holding an estate sale this weekend before they become snowbirds and fly off to reside in Ecuador.

Lynde is well known across Montana, and the country, for his popular syndicated cartoon strips, “Rick O’Shay” and “Latigo.”

He’s also published eight Western novels featuring U.S. Marshal Merlin Fanshaw.
Going on sale this weekend are antiques, fine quality contemporary furniture and, of course, art prints, comic strip memorabilia and more.

Sale hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at their home, 296 Willowbrook (take Benton Avenue five blocks north of Custer and take a left on Willowbrook).

Estate sale manager Crystal Shors said that among the unusual sale items are a buffalo hide from a bison shot by Lynde; a silver-plated belt buckle featuring Hipshot, one of Lynde’s most popular cartoon characters; and a tepee with a liner painted by Jerry Farenthold telling the story of Chief Plenty Coups.

For information, call Shors at 202-1814.

TEENSVILLE U.S.A. Edited by Lawrence Lariar Part 6

Here are some teen cartoons from the book TEENSVILLE U.S.A. It was edited and is copyright 1959 by Lawrence Lariar, and published by Dodd, Mead.

Part one
Part two
Part three 
Part four 
Part five

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Doing the Things You Love

"You will never be any good unless you are doing it full time," is what artist George Rhoads told me.

George Rhoads is a kinetic sculptor. and you can see his installations worldwide. He is a successful artist. By chance, he had bought the house my Dad used to live in in Ithaca. My Dad and George struck up a friendship.

I was working full-time in a "real" job when I got invited to dinner and met Mr. Rhoads. This was sometime in the 1990s. He was right about me taking the plunge and working as an artist all day, every day.

... And, of course, that meant a true act of bravery. Like you read about or see in the movies; saying goodbye to regular paycheck, not to mention having to figure out health coverage. And there's no guarantee of any level of success.

Let's flash forward to now --

My friend Jeff Pert writes about quitting his real world job in May 2012 to work full-time on cartooning. Six months on, he writes about his experience, and his decision to go back to his 9 to 5 career:

"I wish I could say my cartooning business soared and I'm flying high, but that hasn't been the case. I still feel I made the right decision and don't regret it. But the reality is I'm looking for work to make ends meet...and when I say 'work' I mean out in the 9-to-5 world. I have a temp job lined up beginning next week which should take me through early February. That's great, as the winter is always the tightest time cartoon income-wise. Hey, the bills need to be paid."

I've always thought Jeff is a terrific cartoonist and I wish him all the best. Making a living is hard enough -- as an artist, cartoonist or writer it's a daunting feat. It is an act of bravery to uproot your life and make the leap -- and braver still to share what happened.

The important thing is that he'll still be doing those things he loves: writing and drawing cartoons.

May the wind be at your back ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dennis the Menace Meets Jewish Neighbors (1971)

Here's a blog entry from 2009:

DENNIS THE MENACE comic books were part of kids' reading for decades. Now gone, the comic books, usually ghosted by long-time assistant to Hank Ketcham, Mr. Al Wiseman, were well distributed, in groceries, drugstores and barbershops. There were regular DTM issues, along with larger (and more pricey) specials, and the smaller digest comics.

In 1971, at a Rexall Drug Store in Lawrence, KS, I spent 35 cents on an issue of the DENNIS THE MENACE BONUS MAGAZINE SERIES No. 99, October 1971 (a magazine published 12 times a year, once a month with the exception of September, November and December, and twice in June, July and October).

In a five page story "Christmas Happy Holidays," I found out about the new milkman in Dennis' neighborhood.

Thanks to Mssrs. Ketcham and Wiseman, I learned about the Jewish people via Dennis. The milkman and his son explained to Dennis that they were Jews, and the regular milkman wanted Christmas off and they, celebrated Hanukkah instead of Christmas, etc. They told Dennis about their religion.

This was all completely new information to me. What can I say? I lived in a small town in Kansas! (I also did not understand what a golf bag was, so the cover gag was a complete non sequitor to me at the time.)

I gave this comic book away in 1986. By chance, I found a copy of it an antique store in nearby Wells, ME. And here's he story:

Related: Fred Hembeck on Al Wiseman and Fred Toole

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teacher Cartoons

Some teacher cartoons from me, Mike Lynch:

Cartoons by Mike Lynch. All rights reserved.

You can buy these for presentations, newsletters and Web sites. Send me a note: mike [at]