During my days as a struggling illustrator in New York I did a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet, including drawing caricatures at parties, running a carousel at a street fair, and even a bit of modeling. Never a glamorous GQ cover boy , I was more of a character type, and the high point of my modeling career was probably appearing as ”Randall Schwab, Jr.” in the ”O.C. and Stiggs” special issue of the National Lampoon (O.C. and Stiggs were two slacker teen characters who appeared in the magazine, and Schwab, Jr. was their nerd nemesis, eventually played by Jon Cryer when Robert Altman brought the characters to the screen).
My favorite modeling job, however, has to be this photo illustration from 1991 for a column by Anka Radakovitch in Details about getting fired. The photographer, a very creative Yugoslav named Primoz Kotnik, achieved the effect of me flying out the door by setting the whole composition up sideways- the door was mounted on the floor, the model playing the boss was lying on the floor kicking up into the air, and I was jumping up and down on a concealed trampoline, trying to stay in sync with the papers that were being tossed into the air. Turning the picture sideways should make it clearer.
I did another photo shoot for Primoz later in which I was pushed down 6th Avenue in a bathtub on wheels, like Peter Tork in the opening to The Monkees. Unfortunately, Primoz died not long after that. The story I heard is that he was out on a blind date when the van he was driving was struck by another vehicle. Both Primoz and his date were killed.
Last Monday l took the kids for an outing with another family to Oaks Park, the local roller rink I used to skate at back when I was a teenager. l hadn’t been skating in years,and I figured it was about time for the kids to learn- Rebecca is already pretty good on ice skates. My accident happened when I decided to take a break from circling the rink and get a drink. Decelerating as I went from the wood rink to the carpeted outer area, I heard a pop and stumbled- I thought somehow the shoe had broken until an Oaks employee pointed out my broken shin and asked if I wanted someone to call 911(Please disregard any rumors you may have heard that my broken leg resulted from a rinkside run-in with Tonya Harding).. Eve has done research and tells me this injury happens to a lot of guys like me- that is, middle-aged hotdogs with an old man’s brittle bones- though it usually results from something more macho like a football tackle or a motorcycle crash. At least my downfall didn’t happen to cheesy organ music- the rink has switched to nonstop oldies.
l was taken by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel, where I received excellent care, had surgery the next day and got home the day before Thanksgiving. I had hoped to get some comics drawn during my hospital stay but I was on heavy medication and mostly took naps.This was all I could manage:
I just uploaded eight of my Palm Pilot comics to my page at Comics Lifestyle. This is a series of little autobiographical and dream strips I drew between 2004 and 2006 using the Notepad application on a Palm Zire 71. I still have the device, and in fact I am scribbling this paragraph on it in the Memo Pad application, but eventually I quit drawing the strips because the software’s limitations were wearing on me- the 1×3 window limits the number of frames to no more than three. and the combination of the application’s low resolution with the device’s clumsy stylus makes it difficult to get either fine detail or legible lettering.
What the software is best at is stipple, and I did do some decent drawings in it given the limitations. John Weeks was displaying the strips on his site for a while, and a techie friend managed to get them to display on his cell phone, and told me they looked really good there, making me feel very 21st Century. Still, I have never really warmed up to drawing using a computer or any electronic device.
The bulk of my artwork is created on paper using fossil technology like ink and brushes- which I then scan into Photoshop and beam worldwide.