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California Dreamin’

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Sitting at Charles Schulz’s drawing board

The Lovely Anna and I are on the way back from the west coast to Minnesota (the no coast) after a fun visit to San Francisco, Santa Rosa and the Sonoma wine country. We have family in this area so it’s always a treat to come out to see them and this beautiful part of the country. While there I did a few speaking engagements and a workshop on caricature at the Cartoon art Museum and the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.

At the Schulz museum, I did an adult class on drawing caricatures, then a presentation on my work and shared a few stories about MAD. Lots of fun. The people at the Schulz museum are wonderful and the museum itself is a a must-visit if you are ever in the Napa/Sonoma area. After my talks Sparky’s widow Jeannie Schulz invited us and a few others over to the studio, which is a building a couple hundred yards away on the property where Sparky’s actual studio was located. It has served a few different purposes since then, but recently his actual studio space was restored to its working arrangement, complete with Sparky’s actual drawing board, chair, etc. Fellow cartoonist Brian Narelle took the above photo of me sitting in the chair where many thousands of Peanuts strips were created. Quite an honor… Charles Schulz was truly a one-of-a-kind cartoonist who was arguably (and few would argue at all) the greatest comic strip creator who every lived. By the way, that scratch across the paneling in the wall behind me is from Sparky turning his chair back and forth and the chair back rubbing the wall.

The Cartoon Art Museum’s MAD 60th anniversary exhibit was terrific, with artists and writers represented from every era of the magazine. I loved it all, but my favorite things were probably the original Harvey Kurtzman art from the cover of MAD #4 (I used to have that actual issue), the Jack Davis pages from MAD #2 (Hex!) a Wally Wood MAD ad and several pieces from Will Elder. The show only hangs for about another month until Sept 16th, so if you are in the area don’t miss it.

Here’s a video courtesy of CAM Advisory Board member Michael Capozzola of me doing a quick Alfred sketch on a canvas for the Museum:

Cartooning Adventures in Cuba

Monday, January 25th, 2010

To say the last nine months of my life were filled with a lot of travel would be an understatement of epic proportions. Since April of 2009 I have gone on personal trips to New York, Orlando and London, England and professional trips to Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Sandusky OH and New Jersey here in the U.S. as well as to Colombia, Germany, Kuwait, Iraq and Australia abroad. Whew. After officially signing on to be a speaker at the Stanley Awards in Sydney I was thinking that I wouldn’t be taking any more major trips for a looong time.

However some things are just too good to pass up.

I was contacted several months ago by Jeannie Schulz, the widow of the great “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz, and asked if I’d participate in a cultural exchange trip with a group of cartoonists and representatives from the Charles M. Schulz Museum to Havana, Cuba. The trip would last 6 days, during which time we’d meet with a number of newspaper cartoonists, animators, fine artists, students and art teachers in Havana. The idea was to learn about cartooning, animation and art in Cuba while we shared with them what we do back in the United States. There would of course also be time to see Havana and experience some of the culture of Cuba.

How do you say “no” to THAT?? (more…)


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