Studying cartoonists – in person

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I was talking about the humbleness of cartoonists I’ve interviewed or met. I find it quite interesting. Other than interviewing them, I’ve seen many at Comic Cons. I like to watch them, study them. I usually don’t go up to them, but I stand back and just watch. I don’t know if I’m absorbing the scene or what. I mostly see them at the GoComics booth.

I’ve watched Stephan Pastis of Pearls Before Swine. Not stalking, by the way, just happened to be there a couple of times, a year or so after our 10 With Tom interview. I didn’t approach him, I just happened to be at the GoComics booth when he arrived a couple of times.

One time he was a few minutes late, the line of people waiting to meet him and get his autograph was long. I wanted to see how he would be when he got there. He is one of the top cartoonists today, would he act it? Would he arrive and be big, you know, like be a presence. So he arrived, had on his usual baseball cap, jeans and a t-shirt and a backpack. I wondered what he possibly could be carrying around New York City in a large backpack. Anyway, he arrived at the booth, smiled, threw the backpack down and sat down and started his thing – meeting and greeting his fans, one by one, making small chit chat with each of them, signing their books and just being humble. What I love about cartoonists. The humbleness.

I don’t know what I expected. Maybe I thought he would come in big and say, “Here I am, the great Stephan Pastis!” And act like he was all that. Which he is. But it was the total opposite. I loved that.

I know he likes beer. I would love to go with him for a beer some time. But I’m to shy to ask or to even approach him, even though I feel like I know him because of the 10 With Tom interview a couple of years ago. He’s a friend in my head.

The company I keep; or hope to keep

interviewI’ve  been interviewing a lot of cartoonists lately for my 10 With Tom series. I’ve interviewed many people over the years from “real housewives” to authors, news reporters, fashionistas and actors.  But I think I enjoy the cartoonists the most since that’s what I do and I learn from the interviews. I ask questions that I’m curious about, mostly their influences and their techniques.

An interesting thing about most people and especially the cartoonists is how humble they are. They are all very appreciative of me asking for the interview and they seem to enjoy doing it. I like that about them, they are a great group, I like associating myself with them. I’ve interviewed “the greats” and those starting out, and they all are the same – nice, appreciative and kind.

There are some interviews I’ve tried to get but I either get the runaround or no answer at all. I like to think the email went to the spam folder on those, rather than the fact that they just plain ignored me.

But my point is that I am always amazed at the humbleness and gratefulness of these people I admire, who I am interviewing because I admire. Some become friends or friendly and we run into each other at places like Comic Cons and such and I like that. I like being part of that company.

I do all of the interviews for the Huffington Post but I’ve posted many of them after they run in the HuffPost, right here in my blog. You can see them here.

I had to laugh at one major cartoonist who said he didn’t like the HuffPost and didn’t want to have his interview there. When I asked if I could post it in my Tomversation blog, right here, he agreed. So I got that interview with him. That was gracious of him to to ahead with the interview anyway for the few thousand that read Tomversation rather than the millions who read the HuffPost. Just another example of why I like cartoonists.

Graphic design in the ‘old days’

A few friends shared this video on Facebook. It shows what graphic design was like before Adobe Illustrator was around. I remember the press down letters, but this wasn’t that long ago, was it? They make it sound like ancient history.

I remember using the letters for a bag company I worked for, I think I told the story before, I used to do the graphics for a paper bag company. At times I didn’t have the typeface I needed on our Compugraphic or Varityper machines so I would purchase the type on sheets and press them onto the graphic I was working on.

waxer

Compugraphic and Varityper, I haven’t thought of those names for years. They were huge machines where type came out sort of on reverse film, black on white. Then we waxed the back using a “waxer.” There was a machine with a roller, called a “waxer,” and it waxed the back of the film and it then was placed down where needed. And of course xacto knives and razor blades were in our hands at every moment. I preferred razor blades to xacto knives.

It was all “pasted-up” to make a complete page, image, advertisement . . .

It was all to get the work “camera-ready.” Yes, the stuff was all then shot with cameras and plates and negatives were made from that. Now camera ready means Kendall Jenner posing for Instagram.

I remember I could look at any typeface and know the name of it and the point size it was, just by eyeing it.

I remember in the 1980s when one of my bosses told me that “pagination” was coming in the future. This is where the whole page would come out as one piece. At that time we did the headlines as one piece, the text in columns as another, the photos  were stripped in later in the camera room and there were so many steps to getting just one newspaper page done. I remember thinking that he was kidding, how could it all come out as one piece?

I also remember asking my brother Chris one time if it would be possible to typeset on computers and have different typefaces for different jobs. He said it was probably possible but something would have to be programmed into the computer to get that effect as it wasn’t something that was done at the time. I remember standing in his kitchen in the 1980s having that conversation with him like it was yesterday.

Am I dating myself?

Things that will soon disappear

paper_checkKipplinger has an article, actually, an annoying slide show, which lists 10 things that will soon disappear forever and 7 things that refuse to die. I still use some of those things that refuse to die, sort of like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

The penny, I like it; the fax, I pay bills with it and checks, which I use to pay bills, maybe one bill a month, but I still need the checkbook for that. All the rest are paid online. Or by fax. I do use the fax online, I got rid of my home phone, which I only kept all these years for my one or two faxes a montht that I send, but now I use an online fax service and was able to drop the landline at home.

And one thing I’m not happy about losing, my internet privacy.

Here is the list.

My Stories on Instagram

instagram-tomversationI told you about  VideoCam, my favorite new app. That still is my favorite, but I’ve also been playing around with Facebook live and doing live videos and now I’ve gotten into the Story thingie on Instagram. It’s supposed to be like Snapchat, but I could never get into Snapchat, but I’m really enjoying Instagram’s Story feature where you add short videos which disappear in 24 hours.

I’ve been showing some of my upcoming comics and the work I’ve been doing getting my Tomversation comic ready for publication. You can join me at Instagram.com/Tomversation and if you follow me, you’ll get to see the Story videos when I post them. You have to follow on a cell phone, it doesn’t work on a computer or ipad, that’s the nature of Instagram.

The Lyceum Theatre

lyceumI love this picture. It was taken in 1917. You can see the Lyceum Theatre sort of at the center, see it, next to the Loews sign? I was at a play at that exact theater last summer, 99 years later! We saw Jesse Tyler Ferguson in “Fully Committed,” a one man play.

I had a couple of premonitions that night. Stupid, but they played out as I described.

Before the play started, I told my cousin, who was seated next to me that the guy seated next to me would have his phone ring during the play. And it did. The only phone to ring! Jesse looked at the guy from the stage and made a joke of it, even though he was annoyed, but right on cue, the guy’s phone rang.

I also said something about spitting would happen. I wasn’t sure what, but I saw in my head that Jesse would spit on the stage or the audience. By accident. And he did. He talked so much during the play that at one point he just spat. Right onto the front row! He laughed about it and played it off, but it happened.

Now if I could only get a premonition about tonight’s lottery numbers!

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This is the Lyceum Theatre stage last summer.

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