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Again with This Guy…

Friday, January 16th, 2015

The Dreaded Deadline DemonI’m swamped after all the time I spent in the last week with the NCS and the events in Paris. Sorry to say posting will be a little light for a while.

NCS Charlie Hebdo Gallery

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

For those of you who might be getting tired of all these posts pertaining to the Charlie Hebdo massacre last week, you’ll be relieved to know this will be my last one. This really did rock the cartooning community, and not just political cartoonists.

The National Cartoonists Society made a call to all members (although they welcomed non-member pro submissions) to speak their minds and show support over this terrible event in the best way we know how… through cartoons. There is now an awesome gallery of these cartoons, 130 at last count, up on the NCS website. My contribution is above.

One last thing. I have been one who has gone to great pains to point out that, while I support and am willing to fight for the right to free speech, I do not necessarily agree with how other use that right. In other words, I believe in the philosophy stated in this famous quote by Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often wrongly attributed to Voltaire):

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

Having been exposed only to a few of the cartoons done by the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists I, like many others, found many of them to be racist, inflammatory, and seemingly pointless. While some may still be, I’d urge you to read this article before completely passing judgement. The author explains that many of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons people object to might seem racist and overly inflammatory, they are in fact satirizing the racism of other publications, organizations and pundits. My analogy for Americans would be if someone unfamiliar with parody and satire watched an episode of “All in the Family”, they may well think it’s a racist show after listening to Archie Bunker’s bigoted talk, but it is in fact lampooning bigots. I guess if anything good come out of this, it could be a greater awareness for Americans about cartooning outside our borders.

 

Dreaded Deadline Demon

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The Dreaded Deadline DemonNow showing for the foreseeable future…

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

newyears2015Here’s hoping your 2015 kicks 2014’s ass. It’s not looking good, I am already tired of “Back to the Future” references.

D’OH! …Stupid Caricatures!

Friday, December 26th, 2014

DanCLast May at the NCS Reuben Awards Weekend in San Diego, Reubens Master of Ceremonies Tom Gammill put together a great video intro featuring a montage of clips from “The Simpsons” that featured gags about cartoons, comics, cartoonists and MAD Magazine. There were a surprising number of them, including a few cartooning luminaries like Cathy Guisewite, Sergio Aragonés and Mell Lazarus (among some others I can’t quite remember) being “Simpsonized”. After the video there was an audio clip featuring Homer Simpson as voiced by Dan Castellaneta opening the evening:

I did the above quick ink and watercolor caricature as a thank you to Dan for doing that. Tom G presented it to him at the last read Simpsons read through of the fall. A huge thank you to Tom Gammill for making that all happen. It was a really fun touch to the evening.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

xmas99

The Happiest of Holidays to all, from the Richmonds (throwback Christmas Card circa 1999 above)!

Sunday Mailbag- Shipping Art?

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Sunday Mailbag!

Q: I was wondering if you could share your shipping methods. Specifically, how do you box up your prints and/or commission work for shipping and what advise you would give to others on how to prepare artwork for shipping in an efficient manner. I feel like I spend way too much time getting artwork boxed up in a safe way that makes me confident it will arrive in one piece. Thanks!

A: This is actually a big concern because shippers do not treat packages very well, especially at the sorting stage. Trust me I know… I worked at UPS for about 6 weeks when I was going to school at the University of Minnesota. Packages were tossed, shoved, dropped and tumbled all around various conveyor belts and chutes on their way to their respective trucks. You need to pack defensively, expecting that sort of treatment and guarding against damage. That mostly means making sure the package has sufficient space between what’s inside and the edge of the box to absorb some damage without affecting the art or print inside.

The prints I sell are easy to ship. I carefully roll them up with a piece of heavy paper that extends past the ends of the rolled print. Then I put it in a poly-bag tube and then into a heavy duty cardboard shipping tube. The paper and the poly bag stuff the ends in tight when the tube is sealed, holding the print in place and protecting the ends from getting damaged. The tube is thick enough that a heavy person would have to step right on it to crush it at all… having even heavy packages on top of it won’t do it. Cheaper tubes would provide less protection.

The books are easier to ship. I use a self-sealing, stiff and padded shipping envelope for them, first putting the book into a plastic sleeve to prevent the pages or cover from rubbing against the inside of the envelope. Then I fold the flap and part of the envelope down until it is tight against the edge of the book, really locking it in there. Then I use a piece of packing tape to reinforce the flap and it’s edges so it cannot pop open if the adhesive fails or the edge of the flap catches on something. I’ve had some books damaged in shipment, but only really egregious mishandling can do it.

Original art is the really tricky item to ship. This is especially true of my original pages from MAD, which are HUGE at 17″ x 22″. There is no easy way to do this. The important thing is to leave plenty of room between the edge of the original and the edge of the packing, and to make the package thick enough so it can’t easily be bent.

I make me own packages out of foam core, but first I cover the art with a flap of heavy paper and tape it with artist’s tape so the surface of the original in protected. Then I cut a piece of foamcoare that is 3 inches more in width and length than the original is. I tape the artwork to the surface of this first piece of foamcore making sure that there is  1.5 inches of space all around the outside of the art. Then I cut at least two more pieces of foam core the same size as the first, and sandwich the first piece between them. This will usually do it, but with some of those big MAD pages I will add a fourth piece of foamcore because the surface area is so large. It would be easy for the edges of the package to get caught up somehow and some other package  or weight to end up on the top, bowing the whole thing down and maybe creasing it. Three layers is plenty of anything 11 x 17″ or less though.

One other thing, I always send original art via a trackable service and if possible require a signature for delivery. In this day and age of online shopping and shipping, packages left on doorsteps tend to disappear, and originals are not replaceable.

Thanks to Sean Platt 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!

Holiday Gift Time Running Out!

Friday, December 12th, 2014

 

Studio Store Banner smallIf you are like me, you just woke up this morning, looked at the calendar and thought, “Oh, crap! It’s less than two weeks until Christmas Day and I still haven’t gotten any gifts bought for anybody!” Actually if you really ARE like me that ephinany happens to you 0n the 23rd or 24th of December. If that happened to you this morning, you are light years ahead of the game!

In that light, here’s one last pitch to get that special geek in your life something odd different for the holidays at The Studio Store! Times a-running out to get your stuff shipped to you in time for wrapping and placing under the tree, but I’ll be making daily runs to the post office up until Christmas and guarantee your order with ship the next day! Here are some shortcuts to some of the stuff we’ve got in stock for holiday giving:

 bats-in-belfry-big

Limited Edition “Bats in the Belfry” Batman caricature timeline print- $25

gamesafoot_big

Limited Edition “the Game is Afoot” Sherlock caricature timeline print- $25

The 11 Doctors!

Artist proof “The Doctor is In” Doctor Who caricature timeline print- $20

SIGNED COPY of The Mad Art of Caricature!- $20

SIGNED (by Tom) COPY of The Bro Code for Parents- $10.99

On the Drawing Board- 12/9/14

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

I am swamped right now to the point of near panic, thanks to a week out of the studio and multiple time consuming jobs now due, about due, and overdue:

  • Jeff Dunham Illustrations- Several down but one more to finish on a multiple illustration job for some products for Jeff’s new Las Vegas show
  • Z People Comic- Inking and coloring pages galore
  • Penthouse- Just finished three new Dave Navarro caricatures for his column in the magazine, with a set of three more to go
  • Marlin Co. Poster- My usual monthly assignment
  • NCS Reuben Awards Brochure- Will debut this next month when it’s in member’s mailboxes
  • Private commission- Long LONG overdue

Whew. Not sure if I’ll have time for Christmas.

Here’s last month’s Marlin poster illustration, rough sketch and final color:

valentines14_pencil

Valentines14

Cosplaying the Fool?

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

bats1.jpgI’ve been known to Cosplay a bit…

Late this week a minor brouhaha ensued after comic book artist Pat Broderick posted a lot of negative comments about the rise of “cosplay” at conventions. Bleeding Cool covered the story and some of the arguments both in support and disagreement with Pat’s take. Pat was more than a little harsh, saying cosplayers bring “no value” to conventions and convention promoters that focus on cosplay as a draw for their shows are doing a disservice to the industry. To provide some context, Pat is just returning to comics after two decades of doing art in other media venues like animation and advertising, so likely his perspective is of the time-warp variety.

I’m hardly a household name in the comics industry, being most known for my work in a publication that is at best on the fringes of the mainstream comics world. That said, I have been doing a lot of conventions in the last couple of years, and have seen firsthand the rise of cosplay as a major part of many shows. I could not disagree with Pat Broderick more.

I do not see how anything can be bad about fans becoming so enthusiastic about the characters created by and worked on by artists like Pat that they spend countless hours putting together costumes like the ones you see on the floors of comic cons today. It’s a way for fans to connect to the stories and characters they love, gets A LOT of press and attention brought to comic cons (and as a result comics), and ultimately promotes the industry as a whole. If cosplay results in bringing tens of thousands more people into comic cons and, by extension, into comic book shops, then it’s a good thing for the industry.

Are all cosplayer’s doing it for the love of comics and the characters? No, of course not. There are some who probably don’t even know the slightest bit about whatever character they are dressed up as… other than they have the right sized boobs to be Powergirl. So what? You always have the gatecrashers, narcissists, and “hey look at me” types in every group, and the fact that they are showing up at comic cons is actually another positive sign. Only the groups that are getting real attention get a fair share of the poseurs, which means that group is a relevant group. Besides, the poseurs are a small minority. Most cosplayers are of the real fan variety… they may not look like Captain America with their pot belly and spats, but they do it for the fun and love of the genre. Only a handful do it for the attention alone with no actual love of comics.

I have to admit I am a bit mystified by “professional” cosplayers. These are people who comic con promoters actually pay to bring in and appear at the show as a draw. I’d think their money was better served bringing in any of the actors from “Arrow”, “The Walking Dead” or other comic-book based TV shows or films, but whatever floats your boat. Cosplay pros probably cost a fraction for the money an actor would cost to bring in, and maybe the bang for the buck is greater there. Whatever you might think of these folks, their dedication to their craft is pretty awe inspiring.

I will say that I have had my fair share of annoying run ins with copslayers at conventions, but they mostly involve simple lack of courtesy or awareness that there are thousands of other people about other than you in your outfit. I’ve slammed into people who stop abruptly in the middle of a crowded walkway while some inconsiderate cosplayer stops to spread his/her cape/wings/cloak while a dozen equally inconsiderate people try and take pictures on their smartphones. I’ve had cosplayers stop right in front of my booth and block its view as they get pics snapped right and left. BREAKING NEWS: If you are surprised a crowd of any size has a fair share of totally oblivious assholes who range from inconsiderate to downright rude, then welcome to humanity… it’s been around for a while. That is not going to change. Much of the fault with these problems lies with the convention organizers, who don’t seem to make any efforts to ease these issues by perhaps providing cosplay areas for photos and interaction, or messages discouraging the inconsiderate stopping or loitering for such pictures.

There are some bad things that go along with the cosplay phenomenon, but in the end I think anything that gets people interested in comics as an art form and entertainment is a good thing.

 

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