Archive for the 'General' Category
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:
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.
I wrote the following on the NCS Website yesterday, but I thought it should be shared here also:
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.
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.
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.
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:
We had a great time. See you next year, NYCC!
Q: Regarding drawing, how far have you had to progress? As a young artist, I was wondering if you could show us some of your early drawings from maybe your childhood?
A: I posted these some months back, so if you’ve seen this already my apologies. Here’s a comic I did at about age 9 or so:
Guess I ran out of story…
How far have I progressed? Not much.
Thanks to Taylor Miles Clark for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
One of the highlights of the Pittsburgh Comicon I attended last weekend was meeting the great Bob Camp. What was even better was the way it happened.
Partway through the show I was walking back to my booth space after a little walk around when I saw that Bob Camp had a booth space right behind where I was located. Bob is best known for his work on the “Ren and Stimpy” show, but has a much longer resume including doing movie and TV parodies for Marvel’s Crazy magazine. I have been a fan of his work for a long time, and made a note of going up to meet him at some point. I’m not the best at that… frankly I feel like I’m “barging in” when I just walk up and introduce myself. Stupid, I know. That’s why Bob and other artists appear at a convention like this. Anyway, I needed to work myself up to that.
Bob never gave me the chance. Some time later I’m doing a drawing for someone and he comes up to me, introduces himself and starts telling me he enjoys my work and that I have his “dream job” doing parodies for MAD. He also gave me this awesome sketch he’d done:
Bob is a cartooning genius and an unbelievable talent, and it was tremendously cool to meet him. To have him tell me, in unsolicited fashion, that he liked my work was surreal. Incidentally, if you ever get a chance to pick up some old copies of Crazy (I have more than a few), he is an excellent caricaturist and parody artist and sells himself very short in that category. His brush work is absolutely beautiful.
BTW, if you look on the left of that picture of me and Bob you’ll see a guy in a black shirt and glasses doing a drawing. That’s Bill Sienkiewicz, another comic book genius I am a huge fan of. He I never got the courage up to talk with. Gotta get over that.