Giving life to the neighborhood

constructionThere are these construction workers across the street building one of those big boxy, white, zero-lot-line townhouse projects, which I usually hate. But I’m glad to see them and hear them every day. It brings a sense of normalcy.

For some reason, construction work is permitted to proceed in the county while most other businesses are at a standstill, I’m not sure why, but in this one case I’m glad.

Each morning I hear them banging away, yelling back and forth to each other and giving life to the neighborhood.

Strange how things have changed in this crazy time. Things we hated we now love, things we loved, we now hate.

comic-conMy new favorite person is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, I always liked him, but love when he is on tv or the internet, speaking to us in his clear, calm voice.

I see the Jacob Javits Center is being turned into a field hospital in New York City. That’s where New York Comic Con takes place ever October. I don’t want to rush the year, but I keep dreaming of that day, when all is right with the world again and we’ll be walking through the huge complex thinking of what was there some months before. I pray for that day.

Travels with Farley

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The famous Gerald Ford WIN buttons, when turned upside down meant NO IMPROVEMENT NOW! according to many.

One of my favorite older comic strips is Travels with Farley. I remember seeing it in The San San Francisco Chronicle when I would visit, but I see from an article by Bill Van Nieekerken, that it was a nationally published strip for many years, starting in 1975, and in 1985, Phil Frank, the Farley cartoonist, moved to San Francisco and the strip was then only posted locally mostly about local issues, those are the ones I remember.

The strips are popping up along with other older strips on a Facebook page called The Batavia Funny (and Not So Funny) Pages and I love seeing them. Even though they are dated, for some reason they speak to me. They always remind me of San Francisco, but they are funny.

A lot of the reruns I’m reading covered the 1976 elections and Jimmy Carter/Gerald Ford and so many of the strips reflect life in the ’70s from elections to inflation. In the ’70s, Farley travele around the country and met people from all walks of life and they discussed the issues of the day. Reading them now makes me want to go back.

Recently there was a parade in town and a guy in the parade looked like Farley! I took his picture and said, “You look like the old Farley comic strip character!” he just smiled and I don’t think he knew what I was talking about, but he was the spitting image of the comic character.

The strips here are a few random ones from 1976 and 1977.

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Selling my services; taking commissions

fiverr13I’ve never been one to take commission work, but in these hard times where I don’t have money coming in, I am taking commissions. In the past I did a lot of work for newspapers and magazines – and books – single panel and editorial cartoons – and drawings for advertisements. I remember when I was in high school I used to do spot drawings for a local magazine. I still have all that published work somewhere, probably at my parents house in storage.

I’m also selling comics that I’ve sold before. What I mean is, take this Flintstones comic. Over the years I have sold this to numerous realtors.

I didn’t set out to sell it, I didn’t realize it was online anywhere. I may have posted it online a few years back and perhaps people shared it and it got around that way. My copyright info is at the bottom of the comic and thankfully the people who shared the comic left it there, as that is the proper thing to do when sharing other peoples’ work. But anyway, people reached out to me, they literally searched for my email address and asked to purchase the rights the comic. This has happened many times for this exact comic panel. Out of the blue I got emails, I blogged about it here.

I made a deal to sell them the rights, they purchased the comic and used it for their marketing – usually on postcards or business cards according to the buyer. And all of the buyers were realtors so far I think, except for a magazine publisher.

Anyway, I’m selling the rights for this and I’m doing commission work, starting off with low prices, until I get volume orders. I know my work is worth more, but I need to start somewhere and test the waters. It seems that every time you start a project, there are so many other people out there doing the same thing, especially on the internet. But the good part about cartooning, illustrating and art is that everyone has their own style and that’s what sells, rather than everyone competing to sell the same thing like a regular product or service.

colorize

Before and after colorization.

I am also recoloring old black and white photos. I learned how to do that with Photoshop so I thought I might as well make use of my “talent” and make a few bucks.

It’s amazing how this downtime is changing lives, people are doing things differently and thinking differently. Friends have told me they have taken up cooking and they are working out more and so many of us are doing Spring cleaning and so on. I have a friend who is doing workout classes online and it’s really such a renaissance for so many people.

Anyway, please reach out to me if you need art for anything – personal or commercial: tom@tomversation.com. Thanks!

Subscribe to this blog now. Receive Tomversation via email
each time I publish Click here. 

Social distancing

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While I’m anxious about everything these days, this Tom Tomorrow tweet says it all – I’m feeling the same.

People keep asking me if I miss publishing the daily Grapevine. I don’t. Not even a little. For such a long time I was telling people I didn’t want to leave my house – they were more than welcome to send me photos of events and news so I didn’t have to attend events! I was joking about not wanting to leave my house – I’m not that bad and I don’t know if I could deal with a self-imposed quarantine, but I do prefer being alone and cartooning.

I told my friend Harry that this “social distance” thing is how I have always tried to live my life! He would put me down for it, he doesn’t understand that different people have different personalities. But it looks like my way of life – social distancing – is a thing now, although I hope it ends really soon and be a choice (mine) and not forced on everyone.

Still reading the printed newspaper

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Sunday’s newspaper.

I still subscribe to the printed newspaper – The Miami Herald. Do you subscribe to a printed newspaper?

I only do it for the tv listings, which I know I can get online, so maybe it’s really to support the printed paper. I always want to support the printed newspaper.

One problem with the printed newspaper is that the news is always old when you receive it. By the time it’s on your doorstep the news has been posted all over social media. And I understand that, the news is fresh, if you can post it the second it’s fresh, why not do that?

But what about the features? Most times I’ll read a Sunday feature on a Tuesday, when the feature is completed. It won’t be printed for five days, but there it is for all to read on Tuesday. I think that is part of what’s killing the printed papers. Why not save the features so that they are seen in the printed version first? Then they can be shared on social media or wherever after they make their debut in print.

A lot of times my father tells me something, “You know what I read in today’s paper? Blah, blah, blah …. and blah, blah, blah,” and I have to tell him I read those stories days ago online.

The comics are a lost cause in the paper because I don’t like most of them and they are too small to read, I showed a photo here one time of how small they really are – smaller than some postage stamps! I read the comics online. They are big, colorful, bright and right out there in your face.

The Daily cartoonist showed some samples of newspaper comics from 1954 the other day, that is how comics should be run – large and respected!

When I was a kid, my parents subscribed to the Miami Herald and the South Dade News Leader and I would sometimes buy the afternoon Miami News. When I got older and would traverse South Florida, I would sometimes buy the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Ft. Lauderdale News and I loved the Hollywood Sun-Tattler, probably for the name mostly.  You could also go further north and get the Palm Beach Post and Boca Raton News or go south and get the Key West Citizen, three of them still printed today. But these were all daily newspapers easily accessible. I loved that they all had different comics, and did not like when the Ft. Lauderdale papers combined the comics page and ran the same one every day – I sort of felt cheated.

On the west coast of Florida there are still many papers like the Ft. Myers News Press and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Bradenton Herald, and I love the Naples Daily News – mostly because it doesn’t seem to be part of a chain on the west coast of Florida and it’s still large in page size and sort of does its own thing. It’s the last newspaper I buy on my way back to Miami whenever I’m on Florida’s west coast and I stop and pick it up on my way home.

I’ve been ‘pumping out’ comics

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I’ve been pumping out comics on a daily basis – two, three, four comics a day! And I’m still getting giddy after completing each one. I really love the single panel format. I enjoy having different characters all the time in different situations. So by “pumping out” I don’t mean it to sound like an assembly line – I am enjoying every moment of it!

tomversation-comic-friday1All systems are go for May the 4th for daily publication to start. I chose May the 4th, because it’s sort of a pop culture sort of day – “May the 4th Be With You!”

Pretty soon, this page at Tomversation.com will turn into a gateway page for this blog and also for the Tomversation comic. You’ll see what I mean when it switches over, so you can read the comic daily here online or at social media sites:

Instagram: instagram.com/tomversation.toons/
Facebook: facebook.com/Tomversation.toons/

Go ahead, follow now so you won’t miss out on premier day!!

Subscribe to this blog now. Receive Tomversation via email
each time I publish Click here. 

Single panel vs comic strip

IMG_4076I’ve been asked why I like single panel cartoons rather than comic strips.

I like to read both, I appreciate both, but for my own projects, I prefer the single panel. They both have their pros and cons to me.

A single panel comic might seem harder in theory, as each day is a single gag that has to be funny, where a comic strip can move the story along without being a belly laugh daily because once you know the characters, you don’t have to be funny every day.

With a comic strip or even a panel with the same characters daily, I’ve found that they write themselves after awhile. Their own personalities come out and you can have a character stare out into the audience and get a laugh without even saying anything. But I get bored drawing the same characters and basic situations day after day.

While a single panel may be a bit difficult where you have to come up with different situations and gags daily, I really enjoy that. I like having different characters and different situations; different time periods -future, past, whatever. As for coming up with the gags, I don’t seem to have a problem with that, I guess it’s just how my mind works. I’ll hear something or read something and I then sort of twist it in my mind and get a comic out of it. I don’t do that to get a comic, I just think like that on a daily basis!

The comic strips take me from three to four hours to complete each strip, where a single panel can take from 45 minutes to an hour. I was told one time by a comics editor that I work too fast, he could tell that by looking at my work, not watching me work, but just by looking at the completed comics.

I like the fact that with a single panel comic, it is easily shared on social media. You don’t have to know the characters, you don’t have to know the storyline, it is just a single gag that you might enjoy and share. I’ve had single panel comics shared on social media by thousands of people and liked by thousands, where I don’t know if that would be the case with a strip unless it’s Peanuts or Pearls Before Swine or something like that.

So I hope you’ll be following Tomversation daily when I start publishing my comic starting May 4th. You can follow here online (that’s a different address than this blog, or at Instagram: instagram.com/tomversation.toons/  and Facebook: facebook.com/Tomversation.toons/

Go ahead, follow now so you won’t miss out on premier day!!

Subscribe to this blog now. Receive Tomversation via email
each time I publish Click here.