Comics For Hire #3: In The Bag

This painfully hip piece goes so far back that l have forgotten who the client was- my assumption is some young adult magazine published by Scholastic or one of the other educational publishers. l can’t recall the year either, but internal evidence points to 1994 or 1995. The flannel shirt worn by one of the band members dates it to the era of grunge (which I had never heard of before Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994 made headlines), and I’m certain I did this job while I was still living in New York, so that had to have been before June 1995.

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Comics For Hire #2: The Perils Of Dr. Pauline

Dr. Pauline in peril
Julie Benz

In a follow-up to the Rasheed Wallace comic featured in a previous blog post, l have mounted all the episodes to date starting with this one, of an advertising series for SmartStart Practice, a service which provides veterinarians with the education and training to run their own businesses. The hapless heroine, Dr. Pauline, is an overworked vet perenially swamped by the details of maintaining her practice and in dire need of outside expertise.

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Comics For Hire #1: A Fresh Start.


Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed Wallace

Most of the work I do on commission is illustration, but occasionally a client who knows about my comics will hire me to draw a strip for publication. This strip for The Portland Monthly was the client’s concept all the way, and if the result looks unusually stiff, it’s because I was dealing with a sport I know nothing about- basketball- and an athlete I’d never heard of- Rasheed Wallace ( I believe he used to play for a team called the Trailblazers). With the thorny matter of race added to the mix, I wasn’t about to attempt anything too caricatural. Basically this piece is a straight photocollage with a light layer of drawing- using photographs I found of Wallace online, I put together a layout with added captions and balloons in Indesign, then used Photoshop to convert it to a dithered dot pattern which I printed onto coquille board and then pencilled over.
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Ben’s Presidents

My twelve year old son Ben began an ambitious painting project three years ago in a school art class; when the teacher gave him a choice of several pictures to copy, Ben picked a portrait of George Washington, which he copied in black and white. This is the result- pretty accomplished for a nine year old, even if it’s not quite an accurate likeness.

Ben\'s George Washington

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Cartoonists On Radio!

One of my very occasional moonlighting activities has been acting on the radio. Usually I’m reading Damon Runyon stories in my best Brooklyn accent under the alias “Naples Yellow” for KBOO-FM’s program Gremlin Time, but tonight it’s something a little more contemporary, a radio adaptation of “Frank” cartoonist Jim Woodring’s story Dinosaur Cage. I’m the narrator, and there is another cartoonist in the cast- The Oregonian’s Michael Russell, who years ago drew this strip about my first 24 Hour Comics Session. Another cartoonist, S.W. Conser, adapted and directed the piece. It is scheduled to air tonight (Monday) at 11pm PDT as one of the features on KBOO’s “Ubu Hour” (alert, in case you’re forwarding the info to friends: several of the other theater pieces airing tonight feature parental-advisory language).

The show can be tuned in live on the web at but if you prefer to wait until Tuesday, the audio will be up on the KBOO website, available for download.

Coming Soon To A Wall Near You

Irving Park Fountain in sinusoidal projection
Irving Park Fountain in sinusoidal projection

Stop the presses! I have actually sold a piece of original art! (Of course, I have been a working artist for over thirty years now, but as an illustrator and cartoonist I create art to be reproduced and no one much has been interested in owning the originals). A submission I made in January to The Visual Chronicle Of Portland, a city-owned collection of works on paper– prints, photographs, paintings and drawings– that focuses on artists’ views of the city’s social and urban landscapes- has been accepted, and at some point soon it will go on display. No black-tie gala planned for this year’s inductees, who also include Justine Avera, Kevin Farrell, Jason Greene, Bruce Hall, Alex Lilly, Francis Rosica and Jake Shivery, but there is a nice check and the satisfaction of seeing my work hanging somewhere besides on a telephone pole (the works are exhibited in publicly accessible areas throughout City and County offices).
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Put on your 3-D glasses

 Here’s something new I’ve been goofing around with when I haven’t been deep in work on the new perspective book. It’s 3-D caricature, and it really works. My first subject is the great Jonathan Winters, one of a projected series titled (with apologies to Drew Friedman) “Old Goyishe Comedians (In 3-D, Yet!)”  You’ll have to put on your red/blue glasses to get the effect:

Jonathan Winters red/blue
Jonathan Winters red/blue

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