It’s all about the color

This is one of those cartoons that kept bothering me. It wasn’t hitting the mark, I kept looking at it and after it was published, I changed one color and that made all the difference.

If you look at both images above (slide from one image to the other), you can see that they are two lifeguards and it makes it funnier, because you can imagine the one guy asking his buddy, “What happened, where have you been?”

The blue bathing suit guy originally was just a nosey guy walking up the beach or pool area – someone for the lifeguard to explain his situation to. But I think it works better with the guy being another lifeguard and friend.

And all it took was changing the swimming trunks to red from blue and adding a whistle!

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Buying time to travel and do other things

Stephan Pastis at NY Comic Con a few years ago.

In my interview with Stephan Pastis the other day, he mentions that  he draws 14 Pearls Before Swine comic strips every week, which buys him 26 free weeks a year to write other books and travel. He needs 7 strips a week, six dailies and one Sunday and in one week he gets double that done – 14 (12 dailies and two Sundays).

I find that fascinating because one big complaint with daily cartoonists have is that they don’t have a life. Most say they work non-stop, full time and never have time to travel or do many family things, but Stephen seems to have it all figured out, which I love. 26 weeks of free time to do other things is fantastic, especially the travel part.

I do five cartoons a week, he does seven, so with me, that would be 10 strips a week, rather than 14. And mine are single panel, rather than actual multi-panel strips. Not that I have a problem getting them done, for some reason five strips a week, rather six or seven, seems to work perfectly for me and it’s worked out for my travel schedule. I also work fast, which to one cartoon editor was a negative, while I see it as a positive.

I have another 10 With Tom interview with another cartoonist this week and he says he spends six hours on dailies and up to 18 hours on a Sunday strip. I have to work fast, I can’t imagine spending all that time on one single strip. It’s just not part of my constitution.

I have thought about working while I traveling, but I’m not in my element, my office, I can’t get comfortable doing that, so it’s easy to see that if doubling up on weeks, it buys all that extra time.

I do get ideas when am traveling, so while that is work, it’s not actual drawing, it’s just thinking and jotting ideas down, which is great, because them I have an arsenal of them when I return home and am ready to work.

Another thing Stephan said, which I found interesting is that he gets more eyes on his comic strip when posts it on social media because of all the shares. “Those reader numbers may exceed newspapers,” he said, which shows that more people read the comics online and through social media than in print these days.

I like that fact because after all these years, I prefer online publication, rather than print for so many reasons – there is the sharing aspect of course and the main reason is that the deadlines are short, if there even are deadlines. With newspaper comics, the deadlines are sometimes four to six weeks. Online it can be minutes, literally minutes. The cartoon can be drawn and be posted right then and there.

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Frank and his wife

This cartoon which was published a couple of days ago ended up being quite popular. When I thought of it and drew it, I wasn’t sure. But that quote from Jason Chatfield, “Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like,” and that always seems to pan out. If I like it, the readers like it, most of the time, anyway.

The Frankenstein Monster, who I call Frank, and his wife and recurring characters in Tomversation cartoons, I don’t know why, but ideas for them seem to pop up in my mind often. Yesterday’s cartoon about taking things home from the office was going to feature them in some way. I pictured body parts hanging on hooks in the kitchen or something like that, but I thought I’ve been using them too often, so I thought of another idea, which surprisingly went quite well, too.

I use Batman and Superman often, Batman more so, in fact, I have three or four new Batman related cartoons drawn and in the hopper for publication, one is published today.


I like using snakes, witches, cavemen and ancient Egypt and a few other concepts on a regular basis. Again, I don’t know why they are in my mind, but ideas pop up often.

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Google it

I have a friend who worked in an info booth in town for years. Whenever I wanted to go to lunch or whatever, I would say, “Put a sign on the booth and let’s go. Tell people to Google It!”

Actually, the city sort of did that. They removed the info booths and put in something like those LinkNYC things they have in NY, only they aren’t as sophisticated, you can’t go online or use the internet, it’s more of an advertising thing. I have another friend whose beautiful art is on the info link things as part of the City of Miami’s project, I would love to get some of my cartoons on them.

A few years back I was in New York and a Nor’easter was coming. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I asked the concierge about it, “What should I do Michael? Stay? Go home?” He told me he would let me know in the morning. I gave him my number and figured that being a concierge, he had some sort of in with the weather service.

I asked him, “How are you going to get the weather?” He said, “I’m going to Google it,” to which I laughed.

In the end, the airline contacted me and had me change my flight and I came home early because of the oncoming storm. Michael did contact me the next day about the weather, but I took an early flight and was already home in Miami by then.

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Van Go Moving and Storage

Today’s comic made me think of the real thing. What if there was a moving company called “Van Go” and and all of the movers looked like Vincent Van Gogh? We’ve all seen people in real life who look like Van Gogh, right?

But I guess it would be hard to gather a bunch together and have them work as movers, right? But it’s an interesting idea.

Or another idea I had was a arts and antiques moving company that used people dressed as or look-alike artists or art subjects. Like for instance you had the Mona Lisa delivering a painting you won at auction or Monet delivering a vase you got at a tag sale.

I remember years ago there was a restaurant in town that gave you famous names as you walked in along with your table buzzer. When your table was ready they would call out, “Marilyn Monroe, table for two!” “Clark Gable, table for four,” etc.

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Some cocoa butter . . .

Amazon Prime Day is over and I’m gonna miss it. Not for the bargains, for the Jon Baptiste commercial!

It’s the song of summer! I can’t get it out of my head – the line that says, “I need some cocoa butter and camping supplies,” makes me laugh every time. I actually would wait for the commercial, which was not hard to do since it seemed to be on every few minutes. It’s short and sweet and catchy.

I had written it down to use in a cartoon and I couldn’t come up with anything. Them I remembered a cartoon I used for a past Prime Day and I added the text.

Now to be honest, the 1000 times I’ve seen the commercial, I thought he was singing “Cold, Cold Butter,” but a reader corrected me so I changed the cartoon early this morning before most people saw it.

Butter made sense to me because I thought they were trying to show that Amazon/Wholefoods, delivers food, too.

I did take advantage of Prime Day and I bought a new Surface Pro 8 computer so you’ll be seeing my new cartoons created on that.

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Matisse’s – The Red Studio

I checked out the Matisse exhibit at MOMA yesterday.  Henri Matisse’s The Red Studio (1911), depicts the artist’s work space in the Parisian suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Of course I had to add Starry Night here. Since I was at MOMA, I had to visit my favorite painting.

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