He says my style is rushed

I had sent my work to one of the heads of one of the major newspaper syndicates. He gave me a lot of good advice, which I appreciate.  He did say something quite puzzling, he said my work looked rushed – that I drew too fast. These three drawings are samples of my style.

First off, he is right, I do draw fast, I’m not sure how he knew but I guess its his job to know. But is it a bad thing that I draw fast? That’s just my personality, I do things fast. I don’t think it diminishes the drawings. I see so many comic strips that look as if they were drawn fast, I mean people can’t even draw hands for gods sake, but that is the cartoonists’ styles, in fact many of them draw other things that I’ve seen that are totally different than their comic strip style.

Just this morning I was looking at a blog of a cartoonist who draws his comic strip very simply but he had other drawings on his blog, greeting cards, or something like that, which I really enjoyed, they were quite detailed and sort of a fine-line drawing style which is nothing like his comic strip style. And there is a woman cartoonist who does the same thing, when she draws things other than her comic strip, the drawings are quite different, more refined and detailed.

I don’t like to pick on other artist’s styles because art is art. Who am I to judge, which did make me wonder about this comic head who judged my art. I mean, I can understand him judging the comic as a whole, but since when is a cartoonist’s drawing style judged by an editor? There are so many comic strip and comic panel artists in the newspapers and magazines like The New Yorker, who have a very simple, fast style, but the finished work is perfect.

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Backstage at the strips

backstageI started reading “Backstage at the Strips” again, by Mort Walker. I bought the book when I was a kid in the late ’70s and every few years I look at it.

I love that whole idea of the cartoonists being in their own little enclave in and around Westport, Connecticut. I like that life. I’m always tempted to move to New London or Mystic CT, but the cold is too much for a Florida guy. Vanity Fair did  a story not too long ago called, ‘When Fairfield County was the Comic Strip Capital of the World“, which describes exactly what Mort does in his book.

It seems like a perfect life – living on the waterfront in Connecticut and waking up in the morning and cartooning. I like the way Mort describes living an 80-year-old house at the time, in a shore community and working in an old barn.

I notice that in the book Mort says that Bob Gustafson handled his fan mail, so that letter I received so many years ago that I wrote about here, probably came from Bob and not Mort.

Backstage at the Strips, written in 1975 describes there being over 300 newspaper syndicates at the time and 1700 daily newspapers in the US, but still describes how hard it was to break into daily newspaper syndication. Now it’s almost impossible.

The book is really a great look at a cartoonist’s life with lots of valuable information about the cartooning industry at that time and before that time. The book is timeless. But it also encapsulates a time back then, in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s when things were different and times were simpler. It’s a place you want to go back to and just the fact that I first read the book when I was a boy it sort of does take me back to that time because as I read it, a lot of the passages remind me of the first time I read them back in the ’70s.

Anthony Bourdain; a friend in my head

anthony-bourdain-no-reservationsAnthony Bourdain is friend in my head. You know how you see people on tv or movies and you just feel as if you know them? Every once in awhile someone famous dies and I feel as if they were/are a family member. I mean I guess I feel that same way when they were alive, but it hits hard when they pass on. Random people have had that effect on me over the years. It was shocking to hear his name announced on the tv this morning. I had my back to the Today Show, I was making breakfast when they announced a famous chef had passed. I held my breath as they said the name, hoping that I didn’t know the person they would announce, so it knocked the breath out of me when they said his name.

I loved Anthony’s attitude and story-telling technique. I was drawn in like so many millions when he took us on adventures of far away places and even places close to home. I’ve lived in Miami most of my life, but on his Miami episode I learned so much.

First No Reservations and then Parts Unknown. I would watch marathons of these shows, always drawn in from the beginning of each episode. The food and the locations were featured, but Anthony was the star.

The New York Herald

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Herman Hyneman, 1899

Whenever I’m in New York, I look for the New York Herald building in Herald Square. I stand in front of Macy’s and look around and try to imagine which of the old buildings is the Herald. But of course that building is long gone.  It stood on the triangle at Broadway and 6th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets. It originally was downtown on Park Row where most of the newspapers in the 19th century were, but in 1895 James Gordon Bennett, Sr., founder, moved the newspaper uptown.

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Detroit Publishing Co. (ca. 1900-10) – George Grantham Bain

I had only seen photos from the front, which faces downtown and love seeing these photos which I came upon recently where you can see the whole side of the ornate building. Shame that it is gone as is so much of old New York

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People watching the presses roll. Photo: Detroit Publishing Co. (ca. 1900-10) – George Grantham Bain

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Herald Square, New York. Minerva & the Bell Ringers, 1895. Sculptor: Antonin Jean Carles

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Herald Square, 1903

What’s depressing is that the building is now this bland structure which houses a Santander Bank and a Duane Reade drugstore.

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Paying for views on social media

Cartoonist Clay Jones had something to say about Facebook and his comics, I have been pushing social media for years as a great source for comics and comics strips, but of course if they aren’t being seen, then it’s all a moot point. It’s really horrible how social media sites are gunning for paid content now and I wonder if they treat you better if you do pay to have your content seen. I mean not every day, but if you pay once in awhile, do they see you more favorably? Anyway, here’s what Clay had to say:

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Something analytical I’ve noticed which will only interest you if you pay attention to such things. And yes, I look at these sort of things, and if I don’t fully understand it.

There have been complaints from rightwingers that Facebook is discriminating against them as views, comments, reactions, etc are down on their fan/group pages. They say it hurts their YouTube views which in turn hurts their income. They’re half right.

Facebook is decreasing their views. But, it’s not because they’re conservative. They’re doing it to everyone.

On my fan page I would get thousands of reactions a day to a post. On a bad day, I’d only get around 500. Now, on a great day I might reach 200. This has coincided with me receiving emails and even instant messages from FB trying to entice me to pay for a push, which they promise can net me a certain number of views.

Today, my website got over a thousand referrals from Twitter. It got 99 from Facebook. This is important to me as I do collect revenue from hits to the website. This is why I ask for people to share links to my work, not the images. It’s money, people. An independent freelancing self-syndicated cartoonist needs to eat too.

Most cartoonists don’t pay attention to this sort of stuff because they believe they don’t have to. The times have already changed from the days of drawing a cartoon, sending it to an editor/syndicate, and moving on to your next cartoon. You have to do more. Most of you don’t even have a website. You really need to know this stuff, despite how boring it is.

If you are sharing images of your work and not links, you’re killing yourself. You could be getting paid for sharing your work and when others share it. When you only post an image and boast about thousands of shares, you’re working for free and you’re working for Facebook.

With that said, only about four people will see this post unless I pay to boost it.

Here is his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/clayjones
And his website: https://claytoonz.com/

Comics I recently discovered

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Some comics I recently discovered are “A Fistful of Babies,” by Reyn. I find myself laughing out loud to his work. Some is a bit racy, but still funny.  Here are three clean ones.

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I like Guto Dias Studio’s comics. He posts single panel comics and full color strips. His gags are subtle, I like that about him

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I also like Scribbly G., a cartoonist from South Africa. He started doing comics about South Africa then morphed into general interest comics. What I love about his work is that it usually has a non-foreseen twist in the last panel that really makes you laugh out loud.

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