On the Drawing Board- 06/30/09

June 30th, 2009 | Posted in On the Drawing Board

Summer is hit and miss with frelance work for me. Sometimes I am busy and sometimes… not so much. Her’e what i have on the baord right now:

  • MAD Project– Finally wrapping up a small job for MAD that got put on hold by the special “Issue 500” spot and the Bo Confidential book. It might appear in 501 but likely it’ll be bumped to 502.
  • Penthouse Illustration– a 1/2 page gag illustration.
  • Graphic Novel?– I’m currently working with a well known cartoonist/writer on developing a graphic novel adaptation of a book he wrote years ago. We are doing some art for the “pitch” right now and if a publisher picks it up it’ll keep me busy for quite a while.

I just finished this workplace poster job Monday morning for The Marlin Company. It was a rare instance with them when the initial concept got changed and I had to do a fair amount of redrawing to suit the new direction.

The original image called for “a high school classroom scene. It’s the first day of school. Two students are comforting a student teacher – a husky, strapping guy – who clearly has a major fear of public speaking. On the blackboard, in very shaky lettering, he’s written, “Welcome! Mr. Williams. Student Teacher.’ He is facing the class, sweating, looking humorously terrorized, while two or three sympathetic-looking students gently pat him on the arm or shoulder in a show of support.”

The initial pencil rough:

First Rough

Upon review the client decided that the students comforting the teacher conveyed the wrong message, which is supposed to be about supporting your coworkers when things get difficult. The students are the difficulty, not the source of support. Therefore they asked that I change the image to show more of the class, looking a little menacing but in a non-threatening way, and then have two faculty members offering the support.

The second pencil:

Second rough

The only changed they asked for here was to add a sling shot to the back pocket of the foremost student.

The final art:

Finished poster
Click for a closer look…


  1. Seth Wilks says:

    Another great poster, Tom! I love the educational poster in the background. Short, simple, and to the point; READ!

    I notice you did go with your new line colouring style. Did the clients request that?

    • Tom says:

      Thanks. Actually that is my black line technique. I’ve been using that technique with this client for over ten years and they as they say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

  2. I’m curious, do kids (of any age) actually play with slingshots anymore? I only saw a few when I was a kid. And a few months ago, I was in talks with this guy who wanted to do basically an “Urban Lil’ Rascals” clothing line that traded guns for slingshots and squirtguns.

    Maybe it’s a generational thing? Not knocking on your art, by any means! An excellent job as always. But slingshots seem so anachronistic to me nowadays. ^_^;

    • Tom says:

      The slingshot was not my idea. It’s somewhat of an iconic image of the mischievous kid to have a slingshot, I think… at least to a certain generation.

  3. Nate says:

    Great work, Tom! I like the detail of the clock reading early morning (looks like 8 AM) and therefore you know the teacher has a full, rough day ahead.

  4. Dan says:


    When I look at the teacher it bears a resemblance to you? Am I seeing things?

    Great work as usual.

    • Tom says:

      Not intentional. I don’t see it myself but cartoonists and especially caricaturists have a tendency to project their own features on their drawings… so it’s not that unusual there might be a glimmer of me in there somewhere…


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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