December 4th, 2013
On the second day of my trip to Eastern Europe a couple of weeks ago, I was able to tour the ancient town of Constanța (for you Seinfeld fans, it’s pronounced Costanza). Back in the time of Jesus Christ, it was known as Tomis where the Roman poet Ovid was exiled. (You all remember good ol’ Ovid, right?) Located on The Black Sea, Constanța is the fourth largest port in Europe, and it also is where the canal that leads to the Danube is located.
The town seemed fairly crammed together. While most everything looked pretty old, now and then you’d see something built in the 1950s squeezed between things built in the 1700s or earlier. Then you walk into a building, look down and see a mosaic street built by the ancient Romans (discovered when they built some apartments in the ’50s).
A large part of the charm of the area was seeing some of the people who live there. We stopped on the steps of Constanța’s local cathedral listening to our tour guide, when a couple of local ladies walked up and were just as curious about us as we were of them. Through our guide who knew the local language, we were able to ask questions about life there.
This one lady who was in her 80s really caught my eye. She had so much personality about her, that I did a few sketches based on the photos I took that day. I did one that was a bit more serious than I usually work, and the other is a more cartoony version of her. Enjoy!
The church lady. Isn't she special!
The Romanian church lady should she ever star in her own animated show.
December 2nd, 2013
One of my artistic heroes is the inimitable Jack Davis. Oh, many have tried to copy him artistically, but no one can come close to the master both artistically AND personally. While Jack’s art style is an island unto itself, his easy-going Southern gentleman personality sparkles as a rarity amongst cartoonists. When you first meet him you just want to be his friend instantly. That moment for me came in 1997 when I first met Jack at a Reuben Awards hosted by the National Cartoonists Society at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.
Many years have past since then, and I am privileged that our first handshake turned into an actual friendship. Back in 2006 when I was president of the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), we created an award called The Sergio (designed and named after Sergio Aragonès) to be given annually to a cartoonist whose body of work the cartooning community feels is invaluable and inspiring. Our very first recipient had to be no one other than Jack.
Today happens to be Jack Davis’ 89th birthday, yet somehow his work remains as youthful as the day he started. He is STILL showing us how it is done.
The art I share with you today was my tribute to Jack that appeared in the program book from that Sergio Award banquet. Many cartoonists created little pieces for Jack who not only took home a nice statue, but also a nice portfolio of all the original tribute art.
As a die hard Southerner, it has always been nice that Jack has overlooked the fact that I am a Yankee...unless he actually never realized that.
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jack Davis! And if you don’t know the work of this great man from MAD Magazine, movie poster illustration, TIME Magazine covers, TV Guide covers, books, advertising art, Wacky Packages, U.S. postage stamps, and just about anything else you can think of, please do yourself a favor and Google his name!
November 29th, 2013
My recent trip to Eastern Europe was a river cruise tour with the Grand Circle company. (Do I get a discount on my next trip for mentioning you GC?) These tours make international travel easy because when you book your trip, they make all the arrangements: flight, meals, accommodations, and guided tours at stops along the way.
This type of travel results in being a very social experience. You are on board a ship with 150 or so other people for two weeks. In my case, it was with 150 people who were mostly 30 or more years older than I. You get to meet many single ladies, all of whom are widowed octogenarians. One woman asked me how old I was. I replied, “Young enough that I had to take time off from work to come on this trip.”
In all seriousness, I do enjoy talking with folks older than I. They have so many stories to tell filled with wisdom, humor, and life experience. When you are trapped on a ship, you have the time to hear EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of those stories.
You also have time to draw those around you. During travel time on the Danube, I would often sit in the ship’s lounge with a hot cup of coffee and pick out interesting people to sketch. Once word got around the ship that I was a cartoonist, folks wanted to look at my sketchbook. One lady saw my sketches of the other guests and said, “Please don’t draw me.”
So, below are a few of the 150 I travelled with. More travel drawings to come in the days ahead!
The lady in the lower right I nicknamed "Cruella de Vil" because not only did her look remind me of the dalmatian diva, but her behavior on the boat was pretty atrocious. It's a good thing pets were not allowed.
November 26th, 2013
I just returned from a trip to Eastern Europe where I had an amazing time touring parts of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. Naturally, I took along a sketchbook hoping to capture some of the people I encountered on my journey. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you some of my observations that found their way onto its pages.
First up are some faces seen on my 9+ hour flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam on November 10. I flew on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines which, despite the name, was not very royal. Nothing was covered in gold, the seats were not lined with ermine, and there was no discernible trumpet fanfare when I entered the plane. Maybe you have to be Dutch to experience that part of the airline’s name. Had I read the fine print, I would have learned that in actuality, KLM stands for “Kramp Legs Much”.
That being said, I had a pretty good view of the lavatory line. With the exception of the smiling stewardess, these are the faces of international travelers awaiting international relief.
If the fella in front of me hadn't put his seat back onto me, I might have had more drawings of desperate faces after one of the lavatories went out of service. Good times.
October 31st, 2013
Welcome to the grand finale of 2013′s Monster Month! This piece was painted as a cover this past August for the National Cartoonist’s Society (NCS) magazine The Cartoon!st that featured an article about yours truly. I was honored to be invited by editor Frank Pauer to be interviewed, and had a great time creating this monster menagerie to accompany the issue. I have been a member of the NCS for eighteen years, and am proud to be a part of that fine professional organization.
The Monster Manipulator with his league of out-of-the-ordinary gentlemen.
This piece was created mostly the old fashioned way – with real watercolor paints and colored pencils! Only the bookcase eye glow and the haze on the glass dome were manipulated digitally. The hard part was in getting the fellas to all hold their poses for me while I painted them from real life.
I hope you have enjoyed this creepy time together over the past month. I truly had a blast creating the creatures. Bookmark my blog to make it easy for you to see more fun art being posted throughout the year!
October 30th, 2013
This year throughout the month of October I have seen many artist friends posting inked drawings on Facebook and calling them “Inktober”. I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but I have deducted that “Inktober” means they are trying to post drawings created with ink. As I looked back on the past thirteen entries for Monster Month, the methods employed have included ball point pen, felt pen, gouache, colored pencil, watercolor, and Photoshop. Nothing seemed to have been inked the old fashioned way of brush or pen & ink! That is about to be remedied…
Frankenstein - the original zombie.
For those of you keeping track, you knew that eventually Frankenstein’s monster had to make it into Monster Month as he has every year. He comes courtesy of a black ink brush pen, highlighted with good ol’ white colored pencil with some black ink and white gouache flicked on via a toothbrush that isn’t much good for cleaning teeth anymore. And just like the real Frankie, this one won’t hold up to fire very well.
Come back tomorrow for this year’s grand finale of MONSTER MONTH!
October 29th, 2013
Dr. Jekyll’s famous alter ego still roams the streets of London at night, but it’s not what you think. He derives great pleasure from sneaking rides on the ferris wheel when it is less crowded.
London shouldn't be too afraid, unless that London fog is really Mr. Hyde's personal fog.
Whaaa? Can it be? Another new monster is coming tomorrow leading up to the Halloween grand finale!!
October 28th, 2013
You take notes your way in your business meetings, and I’ll take them mine.
I'm not sure what was said in that meeting, but it probably wasn't more important than these.
Tomorrow brings another ghoul to make you sleep with one eye open!