Monday, March 30, 2009

Interview tips cartoon number one A FIRM HANDSHAKE

I was aimlessly watching The Cable TV and came across an infomercial this British fellow had on where he was teaching a seminar to young professionals entering the workforce on how to make a good impression. There was no new information, and i was surprised he was actually repeating some of the same old stuff that I've heard ever since I was a kid. "Get a haircut," "look your employer in the eye""speak in a clear confident voice" Gee, I thought are young people so dense they dont KNOW these things???? then he got to the age old sage advice of "greet your employer with a firm, confident handshake to show him you mean business" Once i heard that, my cartoon-mad mind kicked in and i instantly had this visual pun. The presenter actually helped it along because he was a MASSIVE bear of a man himself.He was well ober six feet, built like a linebacker for the Pittsburg Steelers, and had this curly shock of dark hair on top, cropped short on the sides and a five o clock shadow. I imagined that one of HIS frim handshakes must literally crush to powder the hand of an average man, and i'd love to be a fly on the wall to witness one of his interviews. I'll color this in later and maybe do more cartoons on this Interview series.


I was having a conversation with another artist friend of mine the other evening , and we were discussing different artists and comics that inspired both of us to become artists, ourselves. The usual names of Jack Kirby, Hanna Barbarea , Tex Avery, R Crumb, Charles Schultz, and other well known artists made their way into our conversation, then without even realizing it, i blurted out,
It's funny how most male artists wont "own up" to being influenced by "Archie Comics" well maybe not so funny, when you consider that Archie Comics, were those soft and squishy girlie books you threw to your kid sister, while you surged ahead reading the Fantastic Four and Superman. And yet, those Archie comics, at least for me, had a certain magic to them. Unlike the superhero comics that were "too hard" to draw, the Archie books somehow seemed more accessible, and easier. I remember feeling so good when I drew a successful looking Archie picture, and the stories, although"corny" were entertaining. When I got older, I found out that although simply drawn, the compostion, was masterful, and that was due to the work of Don Decarlo, an unsung hero, I think, in the comics world.
I drew this picture of one of my favorite Archie Characters, Mr. Weatherbee, because he had these nice rounded forms that were easy to get as a kid. So this is my salute to a comic that has spanned generations, and taught a LOT of us how to draw even though we wont admit it. The comics have a section where fans can send in their art, i think I'll send this one in!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Although you didnt ask, I've decided to talk, so since you're here anyway, you might as well listen!

You may have noticed that as of late, Ive been doing a lot less subway clowning caricatures and more and more cartoons. The reason for this on one level is due to my accident I told you about last year, and drew a comic about as well, when I fell down two flights of stairs in my house. This limited my mobility to the point where I really cannot travel as easily as before, and those daily trips into the city where I ride the trains and clown the people are temporarily impossible. I was depressed as you might imagine, and having nothing outwardly to focus on I began to look inward.
I've always loved the medium of comics, like most artists, but after reading the work of my heroes, Crumb, Schultz, Don Martin, Hank Ketchum, and others, I felt my little "whiney voice" was too insignificant to make any kind of dent so i put that dream on the back burner. My accident caused me to stop and think about what effected me, what i liked, disliked, what my point of view was. I decided to write/draw on that, first as a form of theraphy, to keep my mind occupied, as not to slip into depression, and found that there were a lot of stories inside me, particularly ones that dealt with the industry that I've worked in these past few years, and the trials and tribulations of being an artist. On a more mundane level, I began to think about my relationship, with my dog, and thought how I could twist that. All of a sudden now all kinds of child hood, teenage and young adult stories are emerging , all wanting to be told. Im in the process of writing and drawing those now even as we speak.

Although I'd like to be paid, I've come to expect that maybe as an artist, that's the one thing that holds me, and sometimes other artists as well, from creating. When i was younger, i would spend hours drawing happily just for it's own sake, without any promise of financial or verbal reward. I firmly believe i was held back from doing comics because I was judging myself by the standards of my heroes who were "making money" and felt that if i couldnt produce similar "money making " work that it was worthless.

Looking back I can see that Ive pretty much always done SOME form of cartooning and comics, having submitted a lot to the NCN Trade Magazine, Exaggerated Features , and other places. I was just too dumb to realize this because I wasnt creating stuff in VOLUMNE.

Another observation Ive made since being homebound is that Im no spring chicken anymore. When i was younger, I would have laughed at my fall, dusted myself off, and trotted outside to do handsprings. Getting older makes you realize your mortality, and also makes you want to tell someone, anyone what you think, what you saw, what you did.

It's also been refreshing to know that i do have more than one artistic voice inside of me. For the past couple of years, Ive "spoken in the caricature voice" I love that voice, and have gained some fluency in it, but now it's the time to speak in the "cartoonist comic artist voice" . I cant wait to see what happens when I combine those two voices.

I guess i should shut up now...

As usual, Im taking a long time to say things. Why do I do comics now?
Because I enjoy them.
Because It's a way of telling my story, only if Im the only one who reads them.
Because it's a way of maintaining my mental , emotional health.
I guess, in a sense, it's helping to heal me.
And you cant put a price tag on that.

Having said that...




Ah, the continuing episodes of me and my Pit Bull Butchie. Butchie DOES have this distracting habit of footlicking that drives me crazy, and as for me... well... I added the part about me for comic effect lets say! LOL! I guess the LESSON in todays cartoon has a lot to do with the human tendency to find fault in others but be ignorant to the faults of the man or woman in the mirror. We really think the things we do are "hidden" but as my grandmother used to say, "someone ALWAYS sees you!" even if it's just God.Jesus told a parable once about a person trying to remove a speck outta the eye of someone all the while having a beam(of wood) stukk in his own eye. He advised that the person first take the beam outta his own eye first so he could see clearly to take the speck outta his brothers eye. Knowing your own faults first keeps you humble. Hope you enjoy the cartoon.

Honestly though, my dog's licking is so loud and furious that it has literally woken me an my wife outta our sleep at night!

It's really old advice but i really encourage anyone who wants to make comics to look at the little mundane things that happen everyday in your life and start from there. It certainly has freed up my imagination.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How do you come up with your ideas?

How do I come up with my ideas, is a question Im frequently asked. After subjecting myself to close observation for centuries, Ive discovered that I have a few methods that I use individually and in combination to assist me. Perhaps they will one day work for you.

Art is not for whimps! It's warfare! you're face to face with a blank sheet of paper, a few markers, a cup of coffee, and an impossible deadline! What do you do? If you dont wanna sell pencils on a bowery street corner, you start drawing ..... A LOT. I will go through sketch upon sketch upon sketch screaming, ripping it up, throwing it across the room, drawing again and again until finally it's right!!! It this method doesnt work, I resort to method two...


Your Brain is your own personal computer, or File cabinet depending how old you are. Its full ideas, memories, impressions but its really hard to get at sometimes, You gotta put yourself in a place where you can take that gray matter outta your skull and examine it up close and personal until you find that idea or concept you're searching for. Be patient though and unlike the previous method, dont go throwing pieces of your brain all over the room. You wanna keep those pieces in tack because you'll have to put them back into your skull when you're done... The Next Method is similar to this one and it's called

It the answers not in your brain, maybe it's in your heart somewhere! Keep looking be aggressive If you are patient and look deep inside your own conciousness, you will begin to make connections and associations that will jumpstart an idea for you. When searching deep inside of yourself, be careful that you dont puncture your lung. That kinda hurts...


Be prepared for an idea to literally hit you outta nowhere! This sometimes happens when Im doing something totally unrelated to the work itself. Sometimes Im out taking a walk, or jogging and BAM! The Idea hits me like a Pissed off Monkey whose lost his blue jeans! Once you regain conciousness make sure you write the idea down so you dont forget it, and next time carry an extra bannana for the monkey.

they dont call me subwaysurfer for nothin! Its been said that there are eight million stories in the naked city! im willing to bet that half of em can be found by riding public transportation. Riding the trains literally brings the world to you. Remember to soak in the sights the sounds, and record what you see in your sketchbook! Ive been doing this for years, and not only has it kept me interested, but most of you who read this blog also! uh OH! I hear my train coming! Gotta Go! Hope you enjoyed this cartoon segment!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Barnes & Noble Dude

There are some people who "cannot" be "caricatured" they MUST be "CARTOONED!!!" As soon as I spotted him, he had one of those faces , bodies, and clothing that BEGGED to be made into a cartoon character , so I did. he may even show up as a cast member in one of my comix one day....

draw me good or I'll hit you.

I found this old sketch of this dude I did an outdoor caricature of last summer. This person was memorable because he was VVVVEEERRRRY drunk and threatened to hit me if it came out wrong. He liked it.

Werewolf on the subway ...

Begging for change is illegal on the trains, but when a guy like this asks you for spare change, you give him your pin number also. He reminded me of a werewolf cautht in mid change. I tried not to make eye contact with him. Didnt want to become dinner.....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kurt Russell

I know Im a day early, Kurt Russell's Bday is actually TOMMORROW March 17th, but I was so pleased with the sketch i did for Jan Obdebeek's "Birthday People" thread on the NCN forum that I wanted to post it here.
How could any self respecting New Yorker NOT love Kurt Russell? in John Carpenter's 1981 Cult Classic, "Escape From New York", his portrayal of bad to the bone, anti-hero, Jake Plissken, is one of cinemas immortal characters, right up there with "Dirty Harry""Han Solo", and "Cool Hand luke"
I drew this quickly using a thick crayola marker done in my "party style" total time on it took 3 minutes. Russell has one of those great faces that lends itself well to this technique, and had enough defineable features to make him an "easy draw" for any competent caricature artist.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Exaggerator is BAKK!!!

okay enough of this comic book stuff for a while... time to do some exaggeration! hope you like.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Retail caricature, why we do what we do

Some folks see a street caricature artist, or artist in a theme park or at a mall working "retail" and think we bring home giant bags of money every day!

The truth is that some days, we bring home very few dollars, almost pennies...

Other days we take a lot of abuse from irate customers,bratty kids, street people, so called "real artists" who look down on us, law enforcement officials who give us hard times setting up, and other retailers who we have to fight for space! You feel like EVERYONE is using your backside for a target!

Then why do it at all? why not give up, and get a "real job?"

It's because of the FREEDOM!! of knowing that you are NOT taking a handout, NOT relying on Government aid, but making a living with your own two hands, your brains and your wit! Retail caricature tests your negotiation skills, your public relations skills, your marketing skills, and of course, your drawing skills. Everyday is a new challenge, and yesterday's work, means nothing today. You must show up for work and PROVE yourself everyday! That's satisfying and it's also AMERICAN! Ive left home without a dime in my pocket and have come back with hundreds of dollars, all because I took a chance on myself, and took advantage of what this country has to offer all of us, OPPORTUNITY. We're going through hard times now, but as long as I have a pencil and paper, I have the confidence that i will never go hungry!


There comes a point in every negotiation involving males where words can no longer adequately carry the message you want to express.... nothin like a little primal physical persuasion to ensure that everyone's on the same page. In the old days a man would even respect you more if you knocked him "upside his head" especially if he knew he had it comin..
It's been my experience also, that so called "Alpha Males" have a tendency to take so called"brainiac guys" for granted, thinking they cant possibly "ring your bell" if the situation arises.
As for the punch in the eye, it's always been a fight ender for me.....


copyright infringement and creator's rights is something I, and every other artist takes very seriously. Although so called creative people may SEEM like they make great works of art easily, it really DOES take hard work. Even these few panels for this cartoon series took a couple of months of planning out and mulling over in my head. Artists deserve to be compensated for their work, even if it seems to be "crap" or "poop". You shouldnt be profiting from my poop without my consent. Lifting and profiting off of another artists' work is something that happens on the internet all the time, unfortunately. All you do is copy and paste, and it's "yours" I recall one friend who was furious when he saw HIS cartoon silk screened on a strangers' tee shirt while shopping in the supermarket! If that wasnt bad enough, the guilty party even erased HIS name, and wrote in his own! That artist,cartoonist, Oliver Gaspritz, was an editor I worked with at The Canarsie Courier Newspaper Years ago. Tom Richmond, on his blogsite, has some excellent idiot proof articles on this, that are worth reading about.


I've got this squirrel who lives in the tree infront of my house, owns property in the back of the house, and also has carved out a space for himself and his FAMILY on the roof of my house! The squirrel "came with " the house, so i guess he feels he has "squatters rights" or something like that. I imagined if the little pest could talk, he'd probably would be an attorney. He'd probably try to stick it to me also, since he cant get into my garbage can like he can my neighbors.
The story is about to reach it's end. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


For those of you who are wondering, dont worrry, Im coming to a climax to this story and i'll be right back doing the caricatures you all know and love. As always, there's an element of reality in these strips, not that I work part time as a pimp, but I've been a fan of 1870's media, growing up watching Superfly, "Goldie" Huggy Bear,from Starsky and Hutch, and Rooster from Baretta. Loved the outlandish costmes the players wore, and for you youngin's out there, YES, they really DID dress like this! LOL!
My Dog, actually DOES lay down with his feet in this strange position. At first I thought he had broken his legs, but soon realized that he just had crazy flexability and liked laying donw like this from time to time. He also likes to sleep on his rug in the living room with his bowl right next to him.

Monday, March 09, 2009


2nd installment in the series. I once read that if you're going to make your own comics, it's best to write/draw first about the things that you know. My dog, Butchie, is ten years old, and like most "senior citizens" his stomache is kinda delicate. Every week I have to boil chicken, sweet potatoes, and rice, mix it in a giant bowl, and bag meal portions for the week. If I dont do this and feed him regular dog food instead, he WILL throw up all over the floor , and have the runs for days. He really DOES love chicken gravey too. Stay tuned for the next cartoon.


Hope you folks are enjoying the comics. I'm still healing from my "humpty dumpty" fall down my stairs, and as a result havent gotten the chance to ride the trains and clown commuters. My pit bull Butchie, STILL needs to be walked, however, and since I'm cursed with this creative, capitalistic mind, I couldnt help but think of a way that i could some how turn a profit with my dog..... As i was picking up his poop, this idea came to me, and i ran to my drawing board..... stay tuned for continuing comics in this PUPPY POOP PIMP series....

Friday, March 06, 2009

Adventures in Retail....

You cant please everybody, can you? LOL! i have never been beaten up by a customer, but some sure wanted to!