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Archive for December, 2011

Drew drew at ISCA Con

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Caricaturist extraordinaire and fellow member of the Usual Gang of Idiots Drew Friedman was the guest speaker at the International Society of Caricature Artists convention held last month in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida. Drew has posted a wrap-up of his trip, including lots of pictures and a transcript of a Q & A he did as part of one of his two presentations that week. Well worth a look.

Holiday Travels

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Off to Orlando with The Lovely Anna and all the kids for our annual visit to see Mickey and Co., plus Harry Potter and friends. You know you have great kids when, despite one daughter being 19 and a sophomore in college, another 18 and a high school senior, and the lone boy a 15 year old high-school tenth-grader, they all still get excited to spend a week with mom and dad at Disney World and Universal Studios. The 21 year-old autistic daughter would rather be no where else.

The MAD Blog posts might be spotty this week. Apologies in advance.

Art for Jeff Dunham Merchandise Online

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Some of the work I’ve done for Jeff is starting to appear in his line of merchandise:

The Peanut ones are based on some simple line-art drawings with flat color I did of basically all Jeff’s characters. The Achmed one uses this more illustrative rendering. There are a few others, including an image I did of Bubba J that’s being used on the label of  “Bubba J Cabernet“… that one is too small to see in the product image. There are other pieces I have done are no doubt destined for similar uses. There’s another Achmed one I am particularly looking forward to seeing on a shirt… one of these days I’ll be able to show that here.

Click on any of the images above to order the corresponding item.


Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

No mailbag today. A very Merry Christmas and blessings to all in whatever season or faith you celebrate this time of year.

MADe in China

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

This was posted in the Wisenhiemer Cartoonist’s Forum yesterday:

I couldn’t find a link to the Heritage auction these reportedly came from, but this was posted with the images:

Mad Chinese Edition (EC, 1990) Condition: VF-. Published for 6 issues in 1990. Some regard the Chinese (or Taiwan) Mad as the most valuable and hard to find. An issue of the Chinese Mad recently sold on eBay for $1400+. Includes certificate signed by Mad writer Dick DeBartolo. Not currently listed in Overstreet. From the Dick DeBartolo Collection.

Most foreign editions of MAD have a certain amount of content from the US version in it. It would be very interesting to see if any of that content made it into any of the six issues of this series. Somehow MAD just doesn’t seem like something that would work very well under the control of a government like China.

Tip o’the hat to Steve Smallwood.

More Animated Character Design

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Click either above image for a closer look…

I’ve blogged before about some of the work I’ve done for filmmaker Ray Griggs of RG Entertainment, including the title credits and some (sort of) animated segments in the movie Super Capers and 3D character design, storyboarding and other work for his film I Want Your Money. I’ve been doing a bit more work for him lately on a series of animated commercials he has produced for a gold investment company called SwissAmerica. Ostenibly, the commericals are to promote investment in gold with SwissAmerica, but they double as conservative criticism of the Obama administration’s economic policies. He used a slightly modified version of the Barack Obama character design I did for I want Your Money, and I did new ones of Ben Bernanke and Pat Boone (the celebrity spokesman) for the two spots now on YouTube. He’s going to be doing a number of these commercials, and I’ve already gotten assigned some new characters to design.

The new designs are above, and here are the videos:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Sketch o’the Week

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

A little late today, but here is the Sketch o’the Week, American Horror Story star Connie Britton. A few friends of mine who know my tastes in TV and films, including my wife The Lovely Anna, suggested I give American Horror Story a look. I did, having seen the entire run over the last few weeks via iTunes and my DVR. I have to say my mind is still not made up on the show. Some aspects of it are very engaging and cool, and it is extremely creepy, but for some reason it just hasn’t hooked me all the way. Maybe tonight’s season finale will do the trick. I did like the Black Delilah episode a lot, and Jessica Lange‘s performance as Constance is fantastic. Britton’s Vivien Harmon seems to have this perpetual exhausted frown on her face, as well as the lowest hairline on TV since Eddie Munster.

Kim Jong More Than Just IL

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Not sure the world is not more than a bit better off right now. Of course the reviews of successor Kim Jong Un are not very encouraging… although his name is funnier. The above from MAD #473.

Amazonian Frustration and other Book News

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I am finding that the Amazon.com search engine is not a very well-functioning tool. At the very least it seems to be doing a disservice to customers looking for real results for search terms. According to Amazon, the results of a search for any terms or phrase are weighted by relevance of the search, sales on Amazon thus far and a few other factors.

After listing my book on Amazon early last month, it is currently sitting at #85 in results for a search of “How to Draw Caricatures”. That means the Amazon search engine thinks that 84 other books are more relevant to someone looking for a book on “how to draw caricatures” than my book.

Now, I’ve got no problem being lower on the list, considering I am a new book and my sales are obviously far behind those that have been selling on Amazon for many months or years. However it seems that way too much weight is given to those sales figures. Of the 84 books in front of mine, only about 12 are really about how to draw caricatures. The other 72 range from such relevant topics as How to Draw Digimon, Drawing Cartoon Baby Animals, Drawing Manga and my personal favorite, How to Draw Cartoon Fish.

I get that the words “How to Draw” are in most of those titles, and not in my title. However the word “caricature” should carry some weight, I should think. I do have the words “how to draw” and variations of it in my keyword terms. Amazon is not doing their customers any favors if a book that is clearly a much better match for someone looking for the term “how to draw caricatures” than a book on drawing fish is buried on page number 8 of the results. How many customers would continue to click through to more search result pages after seeing totally irrelevant results in earlier pages? None.

Oh, well. It’s out of stock on Amazon anyway. One of my shipments to them got lost somewhere, and others are in transit. Eventually I’ll crawl up that list (I hope). In the meantime, thanks to everyone who went to Amazon and posted a review of the book… that is no doubt the only reason I am as high at #85 right now. Some of those reviews are seriously awesome and I am glad that so many people are liking the book. Thanks again!

In other, more positive book news, The Mad Art of Caricature! is now being distributed by Follett Library Resources, Inc. and Book Wholesalers Inc. for procurement by K-12 school libraries and public libraries. So, if you have a local library that you want to carry the book, request it be ordered and they can get copies from those resources. I am also on the verge of signing a distribution deal with a local distributor which would result in the book being available through Ingram and other wholesalers, which would mean it will start to be carried in brick and mortar bookstores, art stores and other retail outlets. That’s basically the final step in the book marketing, unless I sell the reprint rights to a real publisher.

All in all the book is selling well, I have gotten fantastic feedback from virtually everyone who has gotten a copy (including some big-time pro artists that I respect and admire enormously) and I am very glad I did it. Thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy.

2011 Directory of Illustration Page

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The 28th addition of the Directory of Illustration is out and has been arriving on the desks of prospective buyers of illustration for the last few week. Above is my page in this year’s addition. The Directory is a large sourcebook of illustrators, containing the purchased advertisements of over five hundred artists.

I get many inquiries about marketing one’s self as a freelancer, and especially about efforts like the Directory. My basic feeling on it is that, while expensive (about $2400 for a single page), it is a worthwhile addition to other forms of direct marketing for many. One thing I’ve found true is that it’s best to be in the book consistently for a few years, as the old one does not get tossed when the new one comes out. You get a couple of years of mileage from a book, but being in a couple in a row means that your ad gets seen and remembered year to year, and that helps get jobs. Rare has been the year that I can say for certain I did got enough jobs to cover the cost of the ad, but I’ve never gotten much more that a few jobs beyond that per issue. I do know I have gotten several long-term clients from being in the book that have made it worthwhile overall.

One caveat: it does no good to be in the book if your work does not have the professional appeal to get calls. I have seen young artists waste their money on advertising in this or other sourcebooks when their work is just not comparable in skill and professionalism with the other 499 artists surrounding their page, and they don’t get a single call. I would not consider paying that kind of money for an ad in any sourcebook until you have established yourself and your work as being of solid professional quality and your style appeals to art directors and prospective clients. Direct marketing via postcards and mailings to targeted clients still works better than a sourcebook. Once you are successful with that marketing strategy, then consider investing in a sourcebook ad.


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