Archive for the 'General' Category
Friday, March 7th, 2014
I received a lot of nice compliments on the art I did on the 2014 Rueben Awards Brochure for the National Cartoonists Society. This is something I have been doing for quite a few years now, ever since I was approached by then NCS prez Steve McGarry about doing something for the 2003 Reuben Awards in San Fransisco. After thinking about it I realized this latest one is my 12th Reuben illustration! Sometimes the art was used on the official Reuben T-Shirt, and sometimes it was for the brochure, and once or twice for both. Anyway I thought it would be fun to post a gallery of the Reubens art I have done over the last decade plus… it also makes for a nice record of the guest speakers most years, although some years they depicted the award winners/Reuben nominees instead (clicky any image to embiggen):
2003- San Fransisco, CA
Top row, l to r: Me, Hilary Price (Rhymes with Orange), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Scott Adams (Dilbert), Oliver Christianson (Greeting cards), David Silverman (The Simpsons), Pete Doctor (Pixar). Bottom row, l to r: Darby Conley (Get Fuzzy), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), James Kemsley (Ginger Meggs). I was actually a guest speaker that year, so Steve asked me to do this for the T-Shirt, which started it all. I don’t have the digital file anymore, so this is a scan of a print that Steve had done and gave to each of us, and we got signatures from (most) of the speakers. The only signatures I am missing is Scott Adams and Pete Doctor… might have been too shy to go up to them and ask. Matt Groening signed it because he won the Reuben that year.
2004- Kansas City, MO
Front: Mort Drucker (MAD Magazine), Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Sandra Boynton (Greeting cards, books, recording artist), Jules Pfieffer (cartoonist, author, screenwriter) Back (on the grill): Mel Lazarus (Momma and Miss Peach). Kansas City was the start of the “roasts” they did again for a few years of NCS luminaries, starting with Mel… hence on the grill.
2005- Scottsdale, AZ
Across back and top of stagecoach: Jay Stephens (Tutenstein), Sergio Aragonés (MAD, Groo and the roastee), Mark Evanier (writer, Groo, etc), Gahan Wilson (gag cartoonist), Scott Shaw! (comics artist, Captain Carrot). In the stagecoach, l to r: Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha), Ann Telnaes, Mike Luckovich and Joel Pett (all Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonists), Hanging on the stagecoach, right: Darrin Bell (Rudy Park, Candorville). Pulling the stagecoach: Glen and Gary McCoy (The Duplex (Glen),The Flying McCoys, editorial cartoons, etc. etc.)
2006- Chicago, IL
From the left: Stephen Silver (animator, Kim Possible, etc), Everett Peck (illustrator, animator), Ralph Steadman (illustrator), Elwood Smith (gag cartoonist), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy and the roastee), and Dick Locher (Dick Tracy, editorial cartoons).
2007- Orlando, FL
L to r: Bud Grace (The Piranha Club), Sam Gross (gag cartoonist, The New Yorker), Mort Walker (Beetle Baily, Hi and Lois) and Jerry Van Amerongen (Ballard Street).
2008- New Orleans, LA
Humans, l to r: Mike Peters (Mother Goose and Grimm, editorial cartoons), Sandra Boynton (Greeting cards, Milton Caniff Award recipient), Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio), Mort Gerberg (gag cartoons, The New Yorker), Tom Batiuk (Funky Winkerbean).
2009- Los Angeles, CA
Clockwise from bottom left: Jeff Keane (The Family Circus, NCS President), Mike Luckovich (editorial cartoonist, Reuben emcee), Michael Ramirez (editorial cartoonist), Dan Piraro (Bizarro, Reuben nominee), Stephen Pastis (Pearls Before Swine, Reuben nominee), Dave Coverly (Speed Bump, Reuben nominee), Steve Moore (In the Bleachers, Open Season), Eric Goldberg (animator), Drew Struzan (illustrator) and Cathy Guisewite (Cathy, host of the Sunday event).
2010- Jersey City, NJ
On back raft, l to r: Isabella Bannerman (Six Chix), Rina Piccolo (Tina’s Groove, Six Chix), Anne Gibbons (Six Chix), Benita Epstein (Six Chix), Stephanie Piro (Six Chix), Margaret Shulock (Six Chix). On the plane: Stephen Silver (animator, Kim Possible, etc), Mort Drucker (MAD Magazine), Stan Goldberg (comics artist, Archie), John Reiner (The Lockhorns). On the raft, l to r: Larry Katzman (gag cartoonist, freelance), Joe Kubert (comic book legend, Milton Caniff Award recipient), George Booth (gag cartoonist, The New Yorker), Steve Brodner (Illustrator), Bill Plympton (illustrator, animator), Yaakov Kirschen (cartoonist)
2011- Boston, MA
Humans, from l to r: Tom Gammill (The Doozies, Reuben emcee), Roy Doty (advertising cartoonist, NCS Gold Key recipient), R.O. Blechman (gag cartoonist, Milton Caniff Award recipient), Glen Keane (animator, Reuben nominee), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine, Reuben nominee), Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac, Reuben nominee)
2012- Las Vegas, NV
Top: Tom Gammill (The Doozies, Reubens emcee). Second row from left: Steve McGarry (Badlands, Trivquiz, Biographic, Kid City, NCS Silver T-Square recipient), Mark Simon (animator, storyboard artist, entrepreneur), Alfred E. Neuman (idiot), John Lotshaw (Accidental Centaurs), Dave Kellett (Sheldon, Drive), Michael Jantze (The Norm, Jantze Studios, SCAD). Bottom row from left: Ray Billingsley (Curtis), Butch Hartman (Fairly Oddparents, Danny Phanton, T.U.F.F. Puppy), Jim Davis (Garfield) and Stan Goldberg (Archie, recipient of the NCS Gold Key Award).
2013- Pittsburgh, PA
This one is a little weird as I did each person as either a famous person from Pittsburgh or a character from a movie filmed there: Clockwsie from top r: Mo Willems (Children’s book author/illustrator) in “The Silence of the Lambs” which was filmed in Pittsburgh , Brad Anderson (Marmaduke, Milton Caniff recipient) as Andy Warhol, Drew Friedman(illustrator) as Frank Gorshin, Jason Chatfield (Ginger Meggs, Reubens Emcee) as Gene Kelly, Terri Libenson (The Pajama Diaries) as Mary Cassatt, Lee Salem (NCS Silver T-Square recipient) in “The Dark Knight Rises” , filmed in Pittsburgh), Rob Rogers (editorial cartoons) as Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Wos (Curator of Pittsburgh’s cartoon and comic art museum The Toonseum) as Mr. Rogers.
2014- San Diego, CA
Roughly left to right: Tom Gammill (The Doozies, Reuben emcee) “Weird Al” Yankovic (A.C.E. award recipient) Greg Evans (Luann), Eddie Pittman (animator, Red’s Planet), Sandra Bell-Lundy (Between Friends), Russ Heath (comic book legend, Milton Caniff Award recipient), Bunny Hoest Carpenter (The Lockhorns, NCS Gold Key Award recipient), John Reiner (The Lockhorns, NCS Gold Key Award recipient), Suzy Spafford (Suzy’s Zoo), Chris Houghton (animator, Adventure Time, Reed Gunther).
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
As promised. here’s a sneaky peeky at the splash page and art for the Desmond Devlin scribed parody of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” from MAD #526:
Clicky to Embiggen…
Just for fun, I did the clouds and shadows in that above panel using ink washes rather than digital… it gives things a more textural feel which I wanted for the stormy atmosphere. Here are the inks for that panel sans color:
What do you mean you want to read the dialogue? What does this look like… a library? You’ll have to go out and buy the fershlugginer magazine for that, clod!
Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
If you are ever engaging a cartoonist in conversation and for some reason want that cartoonist to do all the talking, just ask them about the art supplies they use. This never fails to send cartoonists into a rant about how this pen and that paper and this ink and that brush just aren’t made the way they used to be, are discontinued, or some other tale of woe about the struggle to get the tools they like working with. It’s like a law of physics.
I’m no exception. I prefer the Gillott 303 pen nib for much of my inking and that’s a hard thing to find in quantity for a reasonable price in this country, Gillott being in the UK. Strathmore had some problems with the production of their 500 boards for a while, but that seems to be fixed. I really like the Kuratake Fudegokochi disposable brush pen, but again hard to get here in the U.S. There are other examples but this story is about ink.
Back in 1999 I started doing a lot of inking in my work, and in 2000 when I started with MAD it looked like inking was going to be a permanent part of my work process. I had experimented with a lot of different inks with varying degrees of satisfaction, but one stood out for me as being just want I wanted—Pelikan’s Drawing Ink A. It flowed nicely with the pen nibs I liked to use, didn’t thicken up too fast, and in general gave me the fewest problems. I thought I’d found “my” ink. Naturally, immediately following this realization came an intense paranoia that it would be discontinued or the formula changed, and I’d be screwed. Thus, I was determined to “stock up” on some bottles of Pelikan’s Drawing Ink A.
Of course, nothing ever is easy when it comes to art supplies. I was surprised to find that, at the time (the year 2000), I could not get a bottle of Pelikan’s Drawing Ink A anywhere. Many online art supply stores listed it, but they were all “out of stock”. My local art stores also were out of stock. Eventually I got a store manager to look into it for me. Apparently the deal with the company that was distributing Pelikan’s products in the U.S. had expired, and no new deal had been agreed to. No distributor, no imported product, no Pelikan’s Drawing Ink A for me.
I didn’t let that stop me. Pelikan’s was located in Germany, so I called up the one German artist I knew—Sebastian Krüger. I asked him if he had a local art supply store he used, and he told me he did and (not surprisingly) they knew him pretty well. I asked if it would be too much trouble if he could go in and ask them if they could order a few dozen bottle of Pelikan’s Drawing Ink A for me. I would send Sebastian an international money order for the cost plus whatever shipping costs needed, and would he please ship them off to me? Being a swell guy, Sebastian went to the art store and asked them.
He called me a few days later to say it would be a special order, and what size bottle would I like? I had only seen the Pelikan’s ink in a measly 1 oz bottle, but I had seen other inks that came in as big as an 8 oz bottle. I said “the big ones”. How many? he asked. I said I’d take twenty. I figured twenty 8 oz bottles would last me for a long time.
About 2 weeks later Sebastian calls me again and says he has the ink and is ready to ship it, and gives me the total. I honestly do not remember how much they were, but I do remember when I converted it to dollars I thought it was a lot… but beggers can’t be choosers. I sent off the money order. I was down to the dregs of my last little 1 oz bottle of Pelikan’s, so I was eagerly looking forward to getting a box full of 8 oz bottles and a supply to last for a long time.
A few weeks later I got this in the mail (less what I have used since 2000, baseball added for scale):
I received twenty 1000 ml bottles. Each is just under 34 oz. That’s 676 oz of ink.
That was 13 years ago. I am a little over half way through my second bottle. Given a consistent rate of consumption, I will run out of Pelikan’s Drawing Ink A in the year 2161, and I will be 195 years old, or just a little younger than Al Jaffee is now.
I have no problems with my ink supply. Pen nibs, on the other hand…
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
This went from 0 to 160 overnight around here…
Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Clicky to Embiggen…
The drawing board is heating up in the cold of our Minnesota winter. Lot’s of regular client work on the board as well as a few different projects:
- Marlin Co workplace poster- My usual monthly assignment. Last month’s art above.
- Comic book project- I’m really digging in to this one right now, and it will usurp a lot of my time over the next two months. It’s a 45 page comic written by a veteran TV comedy writer. I’m doing all the art (pencils, inks and color) on interior and cover. His plan is to have them in print in time for Comic Con this summer. I will certainly plug the project when the time is appropriate.
- DC Comics cover- This April DC is going to have another run of “variant covers” done by MAD artists, and I’m doing one again. Last year’s was a lot of fun. Just did the pencils and got them approved, will be inking and coloring later this week.
- Corporate caricatures- A local design firm occasionally hires me to do caricatures of executives for their corporate clients. Not usually my favorite kind of project but the art director for this firm happens to be an artist who worked for me doing caricatures back in the early 90′s at my Minnesota theme park operation, and corporate work like this can pay quite well.
- Penthouse “Dave Navarro” spot illustrations- a run of three more of these, used as the column header graphics for Dave’s love/sex/life advice column in the magazine. See below for the one I did for this month’s issue.
- MAD Movie parody- Awaiting the layouts to get started on this one for MAD #527.
- Misc Commissions- Finishing a couple of James Bond commissions this week as well.
Saturday, February 1st, 2014
That’s it. First Ben Affleck as Batman, now THIS? I will not be seeing this movie in theaters. Next we’ll have Zooey Deschanel cast as Vicki Vale and Ashton Kutcher as Green Lantern. Makes as much sense. It’s over.
Friday, January 31st, 2014
Anyone who is a fan of Batman (the comic book Batman that is, as opposed to just a fan of the movie or TV versions) or the history of comics knows who Bill Finger is. Sadly, the rest of the world doesn’t. What the rest of the world sees when they watch a Batman movie or TV show or pick up a Batman comic book is the ubiquitous credit that appears on anything featuring the character: “Batman created by Bob Kane“. That leads them to believe Batman was actually created by Bob Kane.
Kane was a mediocre artist at best but a very shrewd businessman. The legal agreement he signed with National Periodicals (later DC Comics) is still in effect, causing his name to appear as sole creator of Batman forever. Financially he became very rich off the Batman property, especially from the 60′s TV show. By most accounts (basically everyone except Bob Kane) what really mattered about Batman came from Bill Finger, who never got an ounce of credit during his lifetime. Finger died in 1974.
What kind of stuff am I talking about? How about his origin story, you know, the “parents murdered before his eyes and he vows revenge on all criminals” thing? His costume. The Batcave. The Batmobile. The Utility Belt. Commissioner Gordon. Gotham City. The Joker and most of Batman’s most famous villains. Depending on who you ask, Robin. Finger basically wrote all the Batman stories for the first 25 years of Batman’s existence… without credit and being paid (comparative) peanuts. Meanwhile, while Finger was doing all the writing Kane hired ghost artists to do the artwork almost immediately as well, so he didn’t even draw the comic. Yet Kane’s name was the sole credit on anything Batman thanks to his savvy agreement negotiations, as well as most of the money that came from it. In the eyes of many people in the comic book industry, the greatest villain in Batman’s world is not the Joker or the Penguin… it’s Bob Kane.
The cover above is for a new book called Bill the Boy Wonder that tells the facts behind the creation of Batman and Bill Finger’s role in it, as well as his career. Incidentally it’s illustrated by one of my all time favorite comic book artists Ty Templeton. It’s written in a children’s book sort of format, and it tells a sad story about a man who was a true creative genius who never got his proper due, in fame and certainly not financially, for the amazing and influential work he did in comics during his lifetime. This book is a great intro to Finger’s career and contributions to one of the greatest of all comic book heroes.
Granted, all of this information about Batman’s origins are coming from multiple sources and second hand accounts, but few dispute the basic truth that Bill Finger had AT LEAST as much to do with Batman’s creation as Bob Kane, and most believe he created what counted about the character. In fact, if you are wondering what Batman would be like had Bob Kane been the sole creator as he claimed for most of his life, see this little gem also by Ty Templeton:
Me? I actually believe Bill Finger created Batman, or everything about him that counts. Why? Kane didn’t even draw the damn thing, and never did anything else of any note creatively at all. Some people even say he didn’t come up with the idea for Batman at all. There is just too much evidence against the idea he created much of anything at all. Just my personal belief.
Bill Finger’s 100th birthday is Feb 8th. It should be celebrated in the comics world as the birth of a creator that shaped the very fabric of the world of comics.
Thursday, January 30th, 2014
I did a rare live gig last weekend for an event called “Twinsfest” in Minneapolis. It takes place in the dead of winter and features current and former players and coaches of the Minnesota Twins meeting and greeting fans, the selling of stuff and especially of ball park food and beverages, all at the (relatively) new Twins ballpark Target Field. No, it doesn’t happen on the field… that’s under about 3 feet of snow right now. Fortunately there are plenty of interior areas of the ballpark usually reserved for club members and corporate VIPs that were opened up to attendees. The event raises money for the Twins Community Fund, a charitable organization that does of lot of good work with youth programs and other worthwhile endeavors in the Twin Cities.
My buddy Jim Hungaski and I set up and drew Friday through Sunday, and were swamped most of the time. We worked on paper printed with “Twinsfest 2014″ and also had preprinted caricatures of Twins superstar Joe Mauer and fan favorite Brian Dozier, so you could get “Drawn with Joe or Brian”. We charged cheap prices because of our arrangement with the Twins, except we were selling a “You drawn with Joe Mauer” that was autographed and authenticated with a special MLB sticker for $75, almost all of which went to the Twins Community Fund. Here are some pics:
A fan gets drawn with Brian Dozier
Uhhh…. opening day is still a ways away.
Jim in action
I did mostly “Nice Guy” caricatures all weekend. Makes the crowds happy.
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
It would look like this…
Clicky to embiggen…
Friday, January 24th, 2014
That’s it! The Limited Artist’s Edition of my book is all sold out. To paraphrase the immortal Popeye: 120 editions is all there is, and there isn’t no mo’!
Many thanks to the 120 folks who ordered one of these, and for the patience many showed when it took me sometimes up to a month to get their book done. The folks who ordered the last several of these won’t have to wait that long, I should be able to get these last few done early next week.