Tag Archives: cleveland

The Art Of Funny


In my Art Of Funny post on 6/16, I talked about spontaneity. I mentioned my roughs approach and I wanted to expand on the subject a tad.

Not that it’s anything revelatory – most cartoonists operate this way to one extent or the other, but in an interesting paradox, I do most of the heavy lifting – composition, layout, tangent spot-check (a real stickler), kerning (if needed) and all the time-chewing stuff in the rough stage. It’s after that, when I go to do the ‘finish’, that I can actually loosen up and ink with a bit of a carefree approach, thus letting me rely on the also-discussed ‘intuition’ and allowing stylistic ephemera to augment the drawing.

I thought about this as I read about Nik Wallenda doing the tightrope act last week over Niagara Falls. Days prior to the stunt there had been a lot of noise between ABC and Wallenda about his wish to have no support – ABC insisted he use a tether. I don’t blame them, given the family history, and the event being live TV. No one wants to see someone fall like that. Well…it is TV after all, so I’m sure some reality show would’ve loved it.

But my point is, Wallenda walked across the Falls with an insurance policy, that in no way undermined the amazing thing he was doing.

While not even close to being as dramatic, that’s kinda what working off a good rough is like.

I know…I’m now firmly in the cartoonist ‘geek’ zone.


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At one time, I was in a Program Director role at my job. Pretty demanding, frankly. Often, I was triple-booked all the over the building…and without a hologram to stand in for me.

Anyway, every time I went on vacation, I’d come back to an onslaught of emails. My record was over a thousand.

In a little over a week’s time.

The only way to deal with it, was to put ‘em all in a personal folder, and get back to them when I had time. Otherwise, the email system jams up and you can’t receive or send.

So, they’re still in that personal folder. Thousands, actually.

It’s like an email landfill.

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From Me To You


I work in the social expressions industry, and we even have a store in the building – with fifty percent discounts, no less – and I always find myself buying greeting cards at the last minute, for full price at a store somewhere.

Which partly explains why I’m not a millionaire.


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Anybunny there?


Random mid-week silliness.

It came out of the pen, and said “post me”…


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Dog Days


I love dogs – in fact, I’d have ten dogs if I could get away with it.

But then, I’d be the neighborhood ‘dog-guy’, and that doesn’t sound too appealing.

We have two awesome Bichon Frises, Josie and Petey, (Petey’s a rescue) and we love ‘em. They’re quintessential lap dogs…pampered and entitled…not a worry in the world.

Good gig.

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Somewhere east of Fiji


Today is National Desert Island Cartoon Day.


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Hoppy Father’s Day

There truly is nothing like a good craft beer.

From the hefeweezers to the dopple whatsits, beer has become, in the last 2 decades or so, an exotic paradise of imbibing excess.

In any event, while I like craft beers, I can’t help wondering what the old guard thinks…my dad’s generation.

They drank Schlitz, man…Falstaff, Iron City, Blatz…masculine beer names…they didn’t haven’t time for this hefeweasel crap – give ‘em a Rolling Rock, with a Jack chaser and they were good to go.

And they’d order said suds at places with monikers like “Joe’s Bar”, or “Willie’s Place”, or…as found in many cartoons…“Bar”. Oftentimes, these classic beers of yore were chasing down fine epicurean delicacies like pickled eggs, pork rinds, pig’s feet and Slim Jims.

Today though, we’re all out there slugging…er…sipping ‘properly’ crafted WeisenstockenFauxBrauBock and picking at ‘small plates’ of deviled Irish quail egg whites with balsamic reduction.

All this, in upscale urban breweries, often marketed squarely at the über flighty, hipster demographic. You know, the kind that rewards you with long-term customer loyalty…uh…not.

Anyway, I feel like I’m lettin’ my Dad down (and all dads out there) when I partake of craft brews. It feels like, as a card-carryin’ guy (and I do have a card) I should be honoring the brewing traditions set forth by all the men of yesteryear.

Of course, slide a Great Lakes Christmas Ale in front of me and suddenly the guy credentials fly out the window.

I’m not proud.

As an aside (insert touchy-feely music, here) it IS Father’s Day, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to pause and remember my Dad.

He was all Johnny Carson cool, an Akron, Ohio shit-kicker, who was as charming and outgoing as he was humble and self-effacing. One of the funniest guys I ever knew, he simply loved (no, gulped) life and left us all way, way too goddamn soon.

I miss him every day.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, wherever you are. Love you.

And not to end this thing on too maudlin a note, he drank Stroh’s, which, in my humble opinion, tastes like crap.

He also loved braunschweiger and mustard sandwiches (shudder), but that’s for another post.

So, to all the dads out there – enjoy a cold one and have a Happy Father’s Day!

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The Art Of Funny


I can always tell when I’ve overworked a drawing. I can see it – for the most part though, no one else can – and it’s frustrating.  There may be something stiff about it, or it doesn’t have fluidity…in a word, it’s lacking something.

I’m referring to spontaneity – it’s a contradiction, but spontaneity can be a lot of work.

Spontaneity is tough to cultivate because, paradoxically, its so easy, and requires at some point, being in what could be called, a ‘flow’ state. You just have to let it roll and doodle, draw, sketch, whatever. So, you doodle. And you doodle, again. And then draw some more. Inevitably, if you keep at it, your own naturally sunny personality shines through, and that becomes ‘style’, which is another post for another time.

Anyway, I’ve had drawings come out nice, right out of the pen, and then there have been times where I’ve had to work back into it, creating multiple versions. Not exactly fun, but rewarding when you make the lines do exactly what you want them to do.

Intuition plays a big part as well – after a while, you learn to let mistakes creep through, and not over-think the drawing. Easy for me to say…I tend to erase a lot at the rough stage, but that’s where you should get it all lined up – before you do the finish. I then ink them by tracing over the rough – that’s where it all comes together for me. And I don’t have to wait for the ink to dry to erase anything. I’d rather get the hard compositional stuff figured out at the rough stage, and then enjoy the process of creating the finish.

Let’s face it though, in the age of computers, it’s pretty easy to doctor up anything after the fact, and we all do it…photoshop is, after all, an amazing tool. Yet, photoshop isn’t very useful if the original drawing/rough you’re working with is stiff or lifeless.

When I first got into social expressions work, I idolized one cartoonist in particular – his stuff was fresh and hilarious to look at…it had an immediacy to it and looked utterly effortless (still does, in fact)…like it was just knocked out in seconds.

I found out years later, that he struggled over every single drawing to get it ‘just right’, doing multiple redraws.

Somehow, I felt better about erasing a lot.

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Sketchbook Saturday






Miscellaneous stuff from the archives…or, something like that…

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