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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What did your teacher think of you?

kidsart

I was reading a Q & A column in Hogan’s Alley magazine (the printed issue) where cartoonists were asked, “What did your high school art teacher think of your cartooning proclivities?”

I found that to be interesting. I remember all through school, even high school, I was usually the best artist in art class as I am sure most young cartoonists are. I would cringe over this. I was proud and good enough to do my best and not dumb my work down, but it was quite embarrassing for me year after year being known as the best artist.

I remember one year my teacher told me that she told my mother at a parent-teacher night that I was a great artist and I asked my teacher, “What did my mother respond?” And she said, with a sort of wry look, “She said she knew!” She was almost mocking my mother as not being humble. But what was my mother to do, feign ignorance? That always has bothered me to this day. I’m sure my mother was proud but a bit embarrassed as I was when I was pointed out for my art.

I do regret one thing about my art class days. I remember drawing a whole, full color Sunday comic strip of “All in the Family,” the tv show. What I regret is that I gave it away. A classmate liked it and I just gave it to him.

It was excellent as I remember it. I remember the characters, Archie and Edith and the rest and also the layout of the living room as I drew it and it was quite a large size and full color, colored with water color paint. I would love to see that piece of art today.

Awkward lunch

There’s this new restaurant in the neighborhood, it’s a casual place. You walk up to the counter and order and they bring it to your table. It’s a sort of Asian bowl place, but you can get many things there, they have a large menu.

Well, it’s always empty. I’m usually the only one there when I stop in for lunch. There are maybe four or five employees behind the counter and some preparing the food in the kitchen and my $12 lunch probably doesn’t cover one of their salaries for the day.

babu

They have a few locations in Miami and I don’t know if they are a large chain around the county or just have the few locations here. The food is great at a great price, but no one is going. I’ve told so many people about it, too.

It used to be a Quizno’s and that place was always full, so it’s not about the location.

It reminds me of that Babu, cafe episode of Seinfeld.

As you enter, before you are even in the door, they are greeting you from the front counter, I guess they are so happy to see a person arrive. Then when your food is being prepared, you don’t know where to look, they all just stand and stare at you and when you look at them, they smile. Very weird.

I do hope they make it. I like the food very much and it’s a great place for lunch.

Black t-shirt insecurities

tom-falcoI normally dress in a t-shirt and jeans, unless I’m going to a meeting or wedding or something a bit fancier than just every day stuff.

And that is how I want to dress daily – black t-shirt and jeans. Didn’t Steve Jobs dress like that? I think he did it because it was easy to just wear the same thing and not think about what you wear, although when you wear jeans and a t-shirt every day like I do, there really isn’t much to think about – green, red, black?

I like the black.

The only reason I don’t do it is because I don’t want people thinking I’m wearing the same shirt every day, even though I have so many black t-shirts and they are fresh when I put them on. I’m not sure why I care, all they have to do is sniff me to see the shirt is clean.

I literally have my finger on an Amazon order now, ready to hit “send” for a package of black t-shirts, but the thought of being seen as dirty is stopping me. The ironic part is that I wash my hands 20 times a day. I’m not neurotic, it isn’t that. I just do it when I enter the house or when I throw out the trash or before I eat, you know, things like that.

I do love my Batman/Starry Night shirt, so I’ll wear that once in awhile and I have plenty of other t-shirts that I like. When I go out to dinner or meetings, etc., I wear a dress shirt. But I like the black t-shirt and jeans look as my every day uniform. What do you think?

It’s funny, after I wrote this post I came upon this story on the CBS website called, “Should you wear a work uniform?” referring to wearing the same thing every day. It’s a growing trend where people voluntarily wear the same thing every day! The lady in the CBS piece says she was exhausted every day trying to figure out what to wear, I don’t feel like that I just feel like wearing the same thing because I like the look. No other reason.

Rejection

Michael Maslin has an excellent article in his blog about constant cartoon rejections. He shows an image which is a foot high of his rejected cartoons.

I sometimes equate cartoonists with actors. Actors have that cattle call lifestyle where they go from audition to audition and rejection to rejection and it’s hard not to take it personally.

So much of it has to do with personality I believe. You may remind the person making the decisions of someone they don’t like and you are in their gun sites forever for that reason. It may have nothing to do with your work.

But of course most of it is just too much competition. Too many people out there do the same thing and it’s easy to put others down. Art is subjective, so I may not like someone’s drawing style, but that doesn’t make it bad and I may not understand a comic gag line, but others do, so that doesn’t make it bad.

There was a time when I sold a lot of my work simply by submitting it. I would sell cartoons to magazines, books and newspapers. I was part of King Features’ “New Breed” concept, where they published various cartoonists in the newspapers, grooming us for better things to come. I stopped after a bit to start a business and have always regretted that.

I would send them maybe 20 comic panels and they would purchase maybe five of that lot. Not bad. I would sell a lot to magazines, too. They would buy what I sent them.

The good part about the internet and social media is that you can do your own thing and build your own audience. If you have good content, it’s not that hard to build an audience; making a living at it is another story.

Patience; patience in adversity

Guess the pink moon is not working in my favor. I reached out to three people this week for 10 With Tom interviews and was blown off by all three. Well, one never answered me. The other two told me they weren’t ready, one asked me to wait a few weeks and one asked me to wait six months!

The problem is they are hot now and in a few weeks or months the bloom will be off the rose. I’m feeling a bit dejected.

On a happy note, one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Cartoonist is back in action, having been on hiatus for almost two hears. In fact, tomorrow, May 2, will be exactly two years since Alan Gardner put the blog on hold. Now Andrews McMeel/GoComics owns it and has started it up again under the aegis of John Glynn the main man at GoComics and comic junkie D.D. Degg will be running daily operations and providing most of the posts.

On the first day cartoonists were popping up out of the woodwork. It’s amazing how much the blog is loved. It really covers the comics industry excellently. It’s mostly aggregating stories about comics and cartooning, but it’s the one stop shop for that info. I was thinking of hitting them up with some of my comic strip and cartoonist interviews that I do with 10 With Tom, you know, fresh content.

I’m still working on getting my Tomversation comics published at GoComics.com, too. It’s amazing to me that I’ve been published in books, magazines and newspapers for years, but I cannot break that bubble.

Patience. Patience in adversity.

tomversation

A comic I’m working on.

I finally cut the cord

phone

I finally pulled the plug on my house phone, the land line. I don’t know why I kept holding onto it, for 10 years or so I had it forwarded to my cell phone, so I never used the house phone. But boy, was it a bitch getting AT&T to release me. They gave me the run around. One guy refused to pass me onto the correct department until he looked at my account and tried to stick me with other services.

Then he passed me to another department and then they passed me to another and then I was on hold for a long time and then the lady who came on could barely be heard. It was some game they play in order to get you to give up. AT&T are bastards.

I finally went to the website and chatted with a guy and he did it within few seconds.

I then asked him about my very high cable and internet bill. He gave me a lower rate and gave me a faster internet speed, which I thought I was paying for all the while. I’m not sure why they just don’t give everyone the fastest internet, why would you not want that?

I want to learn what Sling and Hulu and all those anti-cable tv things are about so I can just tell the cable tv to take a hike.

It feels weird now not having a home land line, but like I said, I never used it anyway. It would just forward the calls all to my cell phone, which all were telemarketers anyway.

I also cancelled four websites I had with Earthlink. I had moved them long ago and was still paying for them. Earthlink is expensive and for almost 20 years I paid those rates!

They too tried to give me the run around. I kept trying to explain to the guy that one site was only $13 per year on WordPress, yet Earthlink charges me $45 per month. Why would I stay with them? My main biz site is now only $150 per year with a new provider, as opposed to their rate of $45 per month, which is $540 per year! At one time I had a lot of websites with them and I paid through the nose. I also had them return the $139 they charged me for SSL service which I never used. I got it free from my new web host.

Loyalty has its price. So does stupidity on my part. I’m glad I finally wizened up.