The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Today's Cul de Sac in Rough Form, April 30 2012

A word of warning: Petey doesn't move a muscle all week. I find it makes things easier to draw if they're static and repetitive (and I hope Stacy agrees). I'm telling you this up front in case you're hoping for big action sequences or derring-do so you're not disappointed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Today's Cul de Sac, April 29 2012

Alice communes with Nature, in condensed, easily accessible form. Every kid needs a shrub to hide in. I've had several and I was intimately familiar with every inch of dirt it covered (though not familiar enough that I avoided sitting on a slug during a night game of hide and seek).

Here's Alice's first venture into Nature. As always, I thought today's would be easy to draw, but no. Scribbly masses of leaves keep not looking like leaves but only like scribbles unless I fuss with them, and then they look too fussy.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Today's Cul de Sac in Rough Form, April 28 2012

This is the rough of today's strip I sent to Stacy Curtis for inking. I draw the roughs on Canson Marker Layout, a semi-translucent paper, using various sizes of Micron pens. Then I email it to Stacy, who prints it out to his preferred size and slaps it on a lightbox, then inks it on bristol with one of his grungiest, unwashed and most-favorite pens while I take a nap. I did a little photoshop fussing around with the middle panel. It originally had hundreds of tiny zombie toads, and I realized it's an unnecessary cruelty to inflict crowds on my inker, so I simplified it. Some.

And that's how a comic strip collaboration is run these days.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This is a clip job of previous posts and is meant to shed some light on a character who is a little hard to explain.

Below is the first appearance of Ernesto Lacuna, in the Post Magazine. I brought the stranger-than-Petey little boy back a few times, and I gave him the strange attribute that Petey thinks he may be imaginary. His name is a reference to Lacuna, a gap or missing section in a manuscript, text or piece of music, and an obscure musical pun on the name of Cuban composer Ernesto Lacuona (boy, this gets a laff every time, but you'll recognize this). You'll notice he plays the oboe and Petey's got a trombone; this was later reversed. Please excuse the awkward formatting.

Ernesto is one of my favorite characters to write for. He's something of a Bond villain in embryo, as is evident from his remark below about the extinct volcano, and he's enigmatic enough that I can write dialog that doesn't always make sense as long as it's vaguely threatening.

But Ernesto's also unimpressive enough that he's hard to take seriously. He's based on several kids I knew who wanted to grow up in a hurry under the mistaken impression that adults have all the power. Ernesto belongs to a group called Future Adults of America whose purpose is to gradually take over the world so that they'll be running it by the time they're in their forties, and he keeps trying to get Petey to attend FAA meetings. Which, from Ernesto's description, is mostly an excuse to issue position papers and to eat doughnuts. Disliking organized activities and food with holes in it, Petey has declined so far. Maybe he should go sometime, as it'd be fun to draw. This is the kind of idea I love, as I can revisit it, explore it further and get a lot out of it. And nothing's better than that when you're dealing with a daily strip.

During the Summer months, Ernesto barricades himself in a carrel fort in a remote corner of the library. This Sunday strip above is the remnant of a string of dailies featuring one of Ernesto's periodic decline-and-falls. This time he was caught by the Future Adults of America appropriating a box of doughnuts meant for fund-raising and subsequently kicked out. I think he started a competing group but I forget what it was called.

Ernesto's actuality is best left unexamined, I think.
Maybe he's a wormholian who can slide between realities (I knew kids like this).
Or maybe he's a projection of the zeitgeist. Whatever, he's good for laffs when used sparingly. Some readers find him annoying, though he was a favorite of one of my best editors. Below is my favorite Ernesto appearance (available in the first CdS book or in the Golden Treasury).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cul de Sac Yesterday and Today, April 21& 22 2012

So I inked these two strips all by myself, which is kind of novel these days.

Either he's gotten a new haircut or I've forgotten how Andre Chang's head is shaped. He's been gradually increasing in size since he was first sighted in the strip 20 months or so ago. Someone told me he's really one of Sendak's Wild Things and there's no stopping him from getting larger and hairier, but that's life.

From August, 2010,when Alice first met Andre. Below, another Dill's Dream Sunday, meaning another excuse to draw something I wouldn't otherwise draw.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Poor Almanac That's Slightly On Topic

As long as we're talking about art auctions, here's an Almanac from 2006, when perfume magnate Ronald Lauder paid about $135 million for a painting by Gustav Klimt. Entitled "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer Wearing the Wallpaper", it was described by Lauder as "our Mona Lisa". Some thought it was maybe not the best buy for $135 million (even though it's got bits of real gold in it).

Anyway, I did this list of mnemonic devices to help others from making the same mistake. These are not to be used by those bidding in tee Team Cul de Sac auction, of course.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Auction Preview

Take a look at this line up! Wouldn't any of them look nice over your sofa or fireplace?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Boing Boing

A few weeks ago I talked to Glenn Fleishman, the well-respected writer on technology who's also been a sound-board operator, typesetter, graphic designer, curriculum developer, course manager, catalog manager, programmer, editor, conference planner, speaker, book-information expert, columnist, reporter and radio guest.

I don't know anything about any of that stuff, so we talked about cartoons, another of Glenn's passions as anyone who follows his lively Twitter feed knows. The wonderful site Boing Boing, home of Tom the Dancing Bug, posted the results of our chat here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Auction

Here, for the first time anywhere (unless Chris sparks has beaten me to it), is the official ad that Heritage Auctions has put together for the Team Cul de Sac auction.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Now Go Listen to Stacy Curtis

Now that you've committed Chris Sparks' interview to memory you need to do the same with Tom Racine's interview with Stacy Curtis. Stacy spills the beans on his early, violent career as an editorial cartoonist, describes our Clouseau-and-Cato-like working relationship and explains his Banjo Pig Awareness program.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Easter Tradition

It's kind of an Easter tradition around here to post this old Almanac cartoon, Okay, posting old cartoons is more like a daily tradition around here. Whatever it takes to keep this blog on its legs, short of uploading photos of our cats doing funny things.