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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday with friends and family!

Bizzle the Shizzle Dizzle?

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Theme park caricature sample circa 1998

All the accusations of rape being leveled at legendary humorist Bill Cosby are really shocking. I’d like to believe they are not true, but with so many of them coming from women with really no motive to speak out other than to let people know the truth, they just cannot be ignored. Couple that with Cosby’s bizarre refusal to say anything about the accusations—no denials, no explanations, no comments whatsoever—it looks very bad. These accusations are extremely serious, there are a LOT of them, and they are coming from women who are very believable.

Bill Cosby has always been one of my favorite humorists. I used to wear out his albums when I was a kid. I enjoyed his long-running TV show. I admired that he never had to resort to swearing or “blue” material for cheap laughs like many comedians do. He was a wholesome, family-orientated comic whose routines could be enjoyed with your kids and your grandparents at the same time, with everybody laughing in equal measure. He helped break the color barrier in television. He was an icon. That’s what makes this so shocking. It’s like finding out the church volunteer who spends every day serving soup and handing our blankets to the homeless is a serial killer. If Cosby did these things he’s the worst sort of human being. All that said, these rapes are not terrible because the person being accused is Bill Cosby, they are terrible because it’s rape and whether it was done by one of the most family friendly, wholesome comedians in history or some anonymous creep living in an abandoned shack out in the woods, it’s a horrible, unforgivable act.

Since he seems unwilling to even address these accusations with his side of the story (whatever that could possibly be), the only part of this I can see being even remotely in his favor is the question of how so many of these attacks could have happened for so long without his ever even being charged. That’s a thin to non-existent defense… lack of enough prosecutable evidence is not the same as being not guilty. Unless Bill Cosby can come up with a believable explanation for these accusations, and I do not see what could possibly explain it away, he has no defense. Maybe that’s why he’s staying mum—he has no explanation because there is none. The damage being done to his reputation, his legacy and his career is firmly in his lap, because he won’t speak up and defend himself. Some people might call that unfair, but this isn’t one or two people popping up making accusations and then doing the talk show circuit, announcing a book deal or a reality show. It’s many women, with accusations going back almost 10 years, with little or nothing to gain.

I’m a firm believer in “innocent until proved guilty”, but in some cases that only applies to someone being incarcerated or not. What needs to happen here is someone needs to bring charges against Bill Cosby and give him and his accusers their day in court. The longer that does not happen, the less compelling these accusations become. I hope that day in court comes soon and some closure happens here, one way or the other.

Google+ or Oogle+?

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

I don’t spend much time on Google+ but I do have a plug in that feeds my blog posts to my wall there. Today I stopped in to notice an interesting bit of cropping done on my post from last week featuring a drawing of The Lovely Anna:

google+porn

I know it’s automated but… really???

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 31st, 2014

pumpkin eater finals

Be safe out there, kids!

The Lovely Anna Speaks (Again)

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Six years ago I had my wife, The Lovely Anna, be my first (and last) guest blogger here on The MAD Blog. She wrote the following post about being the wife of a freelancer which I am reposting today because I am still on vacation (with The Lovely Anna) so I don’t have time to write and neither does she. All she says here is still true over six years later except we’ve now been married 26 years, all our kids are graduated from high school and either off living life or going to college (except The Animated Elizabeth, who will be home with us forever), and I still haven’t let her try and ink my word balloons again:

The Lovely Anna

My husband Tom asked me to do him a favor.

This is not unusual, most days, at least once, I get a request for a favor. Usually it’s to help with paper work, run to the bank or post office, or deliver supplies to one of our booths. Being that I can’t draw or even ink the boxes for his MAD pages, (Yes, this was attempted and I failed miserably) I try to help out where and when I can. Anything so that he can keep working on the deadline. Today’s favor had to do with The MAD Blog. He is trying to finish up a big MAD job, and doesn’t have time to write any meaningful posts right now, so he asked: “Can you write a post about being married to a freelancer? You’ll be my first ‘guest blogger’. Go ahead and make fun of me.” So…

Hi! My name is The Lovely Anna, and I am the wife of a freelance illustrator (Insert Hi Lovely Anna! here). No, there is no support group for spouses of freelance illustrators, or bloggers, or foundation board members, or computer nerds, or caricature artists. There isn’t even one for spouses of members of “The Usual Gang of Idiots”. Even if there was, I probably wouldn’t join. I would get so co-dependent. I would spend all my free time trying to save all the poor women whose husbands are always at their drawing boards, because they can’t say no when the phone rings. I would be trying to help them figure out the best way to get Dr. Martin’s India Ink out of studio carpets. I would have to make a website, listing all of the best hotels in the world with bathrooms big enough to ink in during the middle of the night while the rest of the family sleeps. I would have to help them with meal preparations, making sure that they can find good recipes for things that can be re-heated when it takes FOREVER for their artist in residence to come to the dinner table. These poor women! Someone has to help them! How can they be expected to live like this?? Oh, wait… I live like this. Yeah, I’m not good at support groups, I always try to save every body else from my everyday life.

What is it like to be married to a freelance artist?

  • Pro: He is always at home.
  • Con: He is always at home.
  • Pro: He sets his own hours.
  • Con: His hours are 24/7.
  • Pro: He is very creative and humorous.
  • Con: He thinks he is funny.
  • Pro: He is so talented, his phone rings off the hook.
  • Con: He answers every call.
  • Pro: He was there for every first step, first word, dance recital, baseball game, concert and taught all the kids how to ride their bikes.
  • Cons: None

Tom is a workaholic. He loves to draw. He loves his computer, and was born to blog. He spends more time in his studio than out. At times, he has problems with time management, but shutting off the phone and turning off the computer usually puts him back on course. He has never missed a deadline, even when it meant missing sleep. Our house is so far from the norm, but it’s all we know. We have been married 20 years this month, and I have always been lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. Tom has always had something on the drawing board, or was working at one of the parks to make sure we have everything we need and I was able to be home with the kids. Tom has learned to block out the everyday events happening upstairs, and I have learned to pretend that he is not home. We check in with each other many times a day, and sometimes even sneak away for a lunch together.

I would recommend marrying a freelance illustrator to anyone lucky enough to fall in love with one.

It’s worked for me so far.

The Lovely Anna is the long suffering wife of Tom and mother of four… five if you count Elizabeth twice. She graciously agreed to write this guest blog post to spare readers another appearance of the “Dreaded Deadline Demon” and Tom didn’t even have to bring up the afore mentioned “trying to ink the word balloon boxes on a MAD job” incident to guilt her into it.

Cartoonists Fight Bullying

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

I wrote the following on the NCS Website yesterday, but I thought it should be shared here also:

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month in the United States. Founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, October is the month when communities nationwide focus efforts to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. Over 30 cartoonists lend their voices to the fight against bullying in this “Flip Comic” book Bullying is No Laughing Matter that helps educate readers about this problem that is being called a “national epidemic”.

The book has two halves, printed so you “flip” the book over to read each half as the front story. In “Bullying is No Laughing Matter”, cartoons ranging from comic books to comic strips and panels that relate to bullying are collected, with background on the “scene” depicted and comments from the creators. The cartoons are designed to spark conversation about bullying and get readers understanding that is is not just a normal part of growing up, but something that needs to be addressed and dealt with. Among the many cartoonists who contributed work to the book are NCS Reuben winners Brian Crane, Greg Evans, Lynn Johnston, and Mort Walker. This half of the book ends with a moving story by 15 year old bullying “survivor” (as she likes to refer to her experience, as opposed to using the term “victim”) Camille Paddock, followed by information on what constitutes bullying and what you can do about it.

The other half of the book starts with a comic book style story by cartoonist Kurt J. Kolka called “Wrath of the Warthog: A Bullying Story”, starring Kolka’s superhero character “The Cardinal”. The story is a lesson about taking responsibility for how we treat other people, and rising above the kind of life circumstances that can create bullies. Following the adventures of The Cardinal is another comic book story, this one originally published in 1945 featuring “Daredevil and the Little Wise Guys” by Charles Biro, which tells a related tale of bullying and finally taking a stand when things go too far.

It’s a positive message, and one that needs spreading” bullying is not acceptable behavior. You can get more information by visiting this website.

The Mad Art of Caricature 2.0?

Friday, October 17th, 2014

tmaoc2

Found out today that my book The Mad Art of Caricature! is totally out of stock on Amazon here in the US. I can’t quite figure out how Amazon works with its ordering copies from the publisher (i.e. me) in order to keep items in stock. It is obviously automated, as I will sometimes get two or three POs right on top of each other asking for copies to be sent in, but they are weird quantities like 2, 7 or 11 at a time, sometimes on consecutive days. The distributor (i.e. me) can have a standing request for “case quantity”, but Amazon will totally ignore that anytime they feel like it. I just cancel any POs that are not a full case (24) copies, and two cases on currently on the way to Amazon right now, but they ordered them too late to prevent running out.

Sales of the book have slowed down a bit since the middle of the summer, but they are still selling at an amazingly steady rate. Amazon and bookstore sales continue to chug along, and my wholesale distributor tells me I have a very low return rate on the book. This is really quite surprising to me. I honestly had no idea there would be such a continuous demand for a book on drawing caricatures. I expected to sell a lot of copies right away to caricaturists and then perhaps a trickle to those who might have an interest in the artform, but that trickle has been a pretty steady flow. In fact, the 6th printing of the book in on the horizon already.

I have been asked quite frequently when my next book is coming out. I don’t think I have another one in me, or if I do I don’t know what it would be about. I had a lot to say about how to draw caricatures, and with a few exceptions (material that I didn’t include in the original book in the interest of production time) I basically said it all in The Mad Art of Caricature! I have thought about doing a book on freelance illustration, but that business is evolving so fast I don’t know if what I know would be obsolete in short order, or how many people would be interested in such a book. Certainly a much smaller audience.

What is more likely in the near future would be an updated edition of The Mad Art of Caricature! with much of the previously mentioned deleted material added in. I had a whole chapter on caricaturing expressions, a section on drawing kids, some stuff about exaggerating bodies and action, and a number of other examples of caricature observations from photos with the accompanying caricature. Probably about 24 to 32 more pages.

My question: would anyone be interested in an updated version of the book? If so, what would you like to see added or more of? Just curious. I do not have this on my radar right now, but I have been thinking about it more lately.

Illustration Throwback Thursday #6

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

This piece was done in 1996 for San Diego magazine for a story on, you guessed it, the increasing popularity of karaoke and piano bars. It was done in traditional media including watercolor, inks and airbrush. The above was a full page and the one below a spot illustration used later in the article.

img406

NYCC Wrap Up

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

The Lovely Anna and I are back from New York Comic Con. It was a crazy, busy convention. I think it was actually more manic than San Diego… maybe that’s just because it’s approaching the same attendance levels but squeezed into a smaller area. Not having my own booth at SDCC I am not sure how I’d do under the same circumstances. All I know is I was swamped from open to close doing caricatures and commissions. Here’s some pictures from the show, including a couple of drawings I did:

With Charlie Ryan and RayAbrams Publishing editor Charlie Kochman, MAD art director
Ryan Flanders, me and MAD artist/illustrator Ray Alma.
Photo courtesy of Ray Alma.

With Ryan and JohnRyan, me and Random House senior designer John Sazaklis, also a former
MAD design intern. Photo by John Sazaklis.

madonnaA couple of commissions for a guy from MTV, Madonna and…

pink…Pink. I guess he likes female rockers with only one name.

uncacreepyI did this in someone’s sketchbook using Pitt pens. Had to channel my
inner Jack Davis to draw Uncle Creepy from Creepy Magazine

Capt Alfred ReynoldsAnother pen-drawn sketchbook commission- Alfred as
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds from “Firefly”

The MAD PanelThe Thursday MAD Panel. Left to right: Peter Kuper, Jonathan Bressman, me, Ryan Flander, Sam Viviano, John Ficarra. Photo by Ray Alma.

With SteveMy caricature of fellow caricaturist Steve Nyman.

We had a great time. See you next year, NYCC!

 

New York Comic Con!!

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

IMG_2295.JPG

 

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