Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
If I'd've had my druthers, I'd've gone to the ninth triennial Festival of Cartoon Art at Ohio State in Columbus this weekend. Did anybody here go? Show of hands please (Heath, are you doodling frogs and not paying attention? good, keep it up). I went to the Festival in '86 and stayed with an old friend and his wife then living in Columbus. The highlights for me were: attending a chalktalk by Arnold Roth on the lawn of the Thurber House (above) on a brilliant, sunny day; laughing really hard at a show of old animated cartoons, some of which I'd seen a dozen times but which became irresistably funny when watched with a crowd in an actual theater; recognizing Bill Watterson, attending but not featured, by his name tag and chatting with him for a few minutes; my friend and I laughing really, really hard at an inapropriate moment during a panel discussion and having to leave the room before we suffocated from holding it in, while his wife just said, You guys. I also remember getting a Big Mac that was unique in my experience for not looking like somebody had stepped on it.
Ah, memories. My wife's from Columbus and we sometimes go back there. What a nice town, especially for cartoonists.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
As Mark Heath has identified our Halloween Putto as master cartoonist Charles Addams and thereby spoiled out plans to string this out for the next four days, we provide an "After" photo of our Halloween Putto. Isn't he jolly yet sinister? Roz Chast did a great spread on Addams for the New Yorker a few years back, about how she'd sit and read his cartoon collections in the library while her parents were busy there and how Addams' work inspired her. I remember looking through one of his books in my seventh grade classroom where it was shelved among the art books. I could look at those warmly grey-toned little masterpieces over and over. Though when the Addams Family showed up on TV it didn't do much for me. Idiot that I was, I liked the Munsters more.
Friday, October 26, 2007
I'm back, and I'm pooped, but it's a good kinda pooped. Above is a photo of the area where my syndicate has their offices; they're in the building at right, where you see two towers with lit up points on top, they occupy three floors of the right-hand building. The area with all the lights is called Country Club Plaza, a great place to stroll around and window shop. As most of the stores are high-end boutiques window shopping is about as far as I got. But there is a Barnes & Noble and I bought the Michaelis Schulz bio there to read on the plane and the Rest is Noise by Alex Ross to read sometime later. I stayed in the building at top far right, the square glass thing, it's a Marriot Something and it was hosting a convention of guys in ballcaps who backslapped anyone who came near. If you look closely enough you'll see me waving out of a 16th floor window. Either that or I'm inside the hotel room at the little desk finishing up dailies for Thanksgiving week so I can hand them in this morning, before I ride out to the airport.
Around the corner from the hotel is the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, with a terrific collection and a good cafe tucked into a free-flowing yet compact building that looks like it might take off like a silver aircraft, but didn't. The piece above by Tom Otterness called Crying Giant sits out on the lawn. The feet make me happy.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I'm off for a few days to confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with the ladies & gentlemen of the Syndicate who so expertly handle Cul de Sac. (Above: front of the Universal Press offices, with a good view of the reflecting pool and the statue representing the Cherub of Comedy Presenting the Fruits of his Labors to Commerce, Who's Holding a Big Stick. Below: the shed where they put bad cartoonists who miss their deadlines)
I'll be updating remotely, including photos of Syndicate Big Shots, podcasts of us chewing some Big Meals, and of course, live blogging of Big Deals Being Made!
No I won't! I'm lying! I don't know how to do any of those things! You're stuck with this post for the next three days! So let's just all quietly meet back here on Friday. Otay?
Monday, October 22, 2007
Anybody reading this? You should be; it's probably a lot more fun to read than the Michaelis Schulz biography and it's definitely more a labor of love. Reading this makes me want to be a strip cartoonist, and write about exotic locales & vertiginous adventures. And it makes me want to learn how to use a brush, and how to spell chiaroscuro without looking it up (I looked it up).
Another old cartoon, from the days when "Opus" launched. I just like the little bit with Charlie Brown's shirt, which seems an apposite gag seeing as how Schulz is in the news.
I learned the word "apposite" from Alex Hallatt, comic genius behind the strip Arctic Circle (see Moontoon under Nice Places to Visit to your right).
Saturday, October 20, 2007
So, that drawing of Mitt Romney for the NYer fell through. After they okayed the sketch and I'd finished the color final and was about to email it, I got a call from the AD saying, Yikes, the editor got his copy of Harper's Magazine, and the cover of Harper's features four views of Romney as a bobblehead. My sketch, above, had him as a rotating blur, and the coincidence made everybody uncomfortable, as I can understand. And I didn't have any time to do something new, so alas, much regret and tears all around, and promises to work together again soon (the NYer has some really nice people to work with, a lot more loose and funny to deal with than you'd expect from a weekly, high-pressure magazine). And hello kill fee!
What the heck, posting the sketch of a killed drawing is what blogs are for, man.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I missed a book signing tonight at Politics & Prose by the Mighty Pat Oliphant. The deadlines done got me and I'm lonesome, blue and stuck at home. I owe Pat some massive thanks for many things, not least years of inspiration. And he taught my older daughter how to pick her nose when she was a little over a year old. How can I even begin to pay him back for that? (photo above of Oliphant's Mighty Left Hand at work by Bruce Guthrie, who made it to P&P and reported back)
Everybody! Go buy his book!
Anybody read this and care to comment on it? If you do, could you also cut and paste the text of the book into your comment? It'd make it easier for us cheapskates. Thanks!
I'm disappointed that they didn't make the zigzag on the cover hand-drawn in Schulz's distinctive line instead of so cleanly graphic. It looks like chomping teeth and I'm afraid to buy it.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
While looking through some old drawings the other day, I was shocked and embarrassed to find that I'd used the same joke twice in cartoons about a year and a half apart. The reference in the cartoon above to P J PIehole's being closed because of obscenities in the Find-a-Word Puzzle was repeated a month or two ago, though not word for word.
I'm especially shocked that the management at Piehole's hadn't cracked down on this problem. And thank heavens it didn't happen in a comic strip; using the same jokes over and over in a comic strip could end a cartoonist's career pretty dang fast.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
So I have to draw Mitt Romney for the New Yorker and I find he's tougher to draw than you might think. They liked the sketch I sent them just fine, but Guy Smiley is stuck in my head and it's making it hard to draw Romney not as a Muppet.
As far as I know, Romney Muppetness was first pointed out on the Daily Show a few weeks back, but it may be something everyone was already aware of but me.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Thanks to all those who squatted in the darkness of Nick Galifianakis's living room Saturday night waiting for me. The look of shock still hasn't left my face and may be permanent. Thanks a lot. Really.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
You haven't yet, Little Neuro, but time's running out! Those in foreign lands had better leave soon if they want to make it! Tonight at 7:30 at the Writers' Center in Bethesda. Type writers.org into your window up top for more information, news, traffic and weather.
Did I mention there'll be snacks? Well, there will.