The lilies

Last week I started placing lilies in my cartoons. You may have noticed.

They are in honor of something personal and I don’t know how long they will be there, but if you scroll through above you can see the last five cartoons that have had the lily or lilies. Can you spot them all?

It’s not a game, but if you want to make it one, check these out and all the upcoming cartoons which may, or may not have lilies.

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Drawing styles

Today’s comic looks a bit different than my usual work. Why? Because it’s old! It’s one of my old ones.

Recently I’ve been redrawing old art, but I liked the look of this one, so I didn’t change it and a reader noticed. He commented, “This comic doesn’t have your touch. Like, you have a separate way of art and this toon doesn’t have your common art sense. But it’s funny.”

I really appreciated that comment. I like that he notices my usual style and the fact that I ever have one and I like that he mentioned it.

It’s always interesting to see how people’s drawing style changes over the years. This was my Far Side period, I did a lot of weird stuff. I have published some of them lately, but since they were redrawn, they fit in with the rest of the cartoons.

I like my line work better these days, it’s evolved, and I don’t use as much background if any, these days. In the past, I filled in the whole panel with background. But now I find it cleaner to use less background. I may put one image to set the scene – sort of like a black box theater where there isn’t much scenery on stage, just maybe table and chair.

For instance, in the snake scene above, I would have used the sign of course, but maybe just have the stage door with the star on it, where the voice is coming from. I doubt I would have used the dressing table or even the pipe up at the ceiling. And I don’t think I would have used a lot of color, I think mostly white would be the background.

Cartoonist Jason Chatfield said, “Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like.” And I’ve tried to live by that. Not so much the drawing, but the whole comic and gag. Sometimes I feel that the audience won’t get the gag or think something is funny, but I go with my gut feeling, and it seems to work out.

The lemonade comic had many comments – people were dissecting it on one website and on another, there were about 150 comments where people described similar incidents at their places of work or shopping! So you never know what is going to work, so it’s true, go with your gut and see where it falls. I wasn’t sure about that one, but I liked it so I published it.

I wasn’t sure about yesterday’s cartoon – this office one. It didn’t have a gag and I felt that people would be looking for the gag, but people got it. It was just a slice of life – a period of time where people are returning to the office and the happiness (I guess on most parts) of people seeing their co-workers and friends in person again. People liked this cartoon. So another gut reaction on my part that was right.

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Borrowing

Yes, today’s cartoon does take part of a previous cartoon. You can see the two here. The top is today’s and here below is a cartoon I ran about a year ago.

There is also another change. Before I ran the black and white one a year ago, the people did not have masks on, and then I added the masks, and that was was published! You can see the original here.


I know there are many ways to have done this – the “wholesale” could have said, “organic” or “free range” or something else, but I try to be “organic” myself when coming up with ideas and I got the idea from one of my own businesses.

I noticed that one of my businesses is popular when searched using the word “wholesale” on google. What I mean is when you type in the product and put “wholesale” as part of the search, I come up high in the searches. But the thing is, all of us who sell the same products sell wholesale. So by just putting the word there, it brings eyes and customers. So that’s what made me think of using that word rather than “organic” or “sale” or whatever .

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What a difference a year makes

A recent cartoon made me laugh before I even drew it. It wasn’t the cartoon or subject matter itself. It’s the fact that as I sat down to draw, I said out loud, “Let’s get this scene done!” I guess I think I’m shooting a movie or something these days. And possibly I am. I am the writer, director, cameraman and so on. So maybe it is a scene being shot.

I like the juxtaposition of this cartoon with one I did about a year ago, around the beginning of the pandemic. This one below.

They are both confusing due to the masks. In the last case above, masks are becoming a thing of the past, but the bank robber wants to keep his on. In the earlier one below, the bank robber is sort of infringed upon by everyone wearing masks, which struck me quite funny the first time I walked into a bank and saw everyone, including myself, wearing masks.

Here’s a little secret – they were both done around the same time – a year or so ago. The top one originally was the lady banker telling the man banker, to “calm down, it’s ok to wear masks in the bank today.” And the customer didn’t have a gun. He was just a customer with a mask. But it sat for a year and eventually, I changed the wording, added a gun and there you have it.

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The waiter and the water

After this cartoon was published today, it reminded me of a priest we used to have. Some years ago, Father Eddie was one of our priests. He was from a Latin country I think, but his accent sounded like Dracula. I loved it!

One time he was preaching and he was talking about Jesus turning water into wine, but he kept getting the words “waiter” and “water” mixed up.

He would said, “The water brought the waiter and then Jesus stunned the water by turning the waiter into wine.” Ha, I laugh when I think about it – he turned the waiter into wine.

I haven’t thought of Father Eddie in years, but again, I used to love his Dracula accent.

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Creative panhandlers

I’m not surprised that yesterday’s cartoon hit home with a lot of people, they or someone they know has had a similar experience in some way.

I got the idea for the cartoon through a circuitous route. I may have told you this before, but I was at a Taco Bell drive-thru recently and this guy comes up to the car and asks for money. I told him I didn’t have change, I only had a $10.00 bill and I showed him the bill in my hand.

He then says, “I’ll wait for the change.”

Now this intrigued me and I liked his ingenuity, so I didn’t mind that. But he was annoying as he followed me and the car as I drove around the drive, waiting for my turn to order. I ordered and drove to the window, and he was still there and when they handed me the change, he took it. He didn’t even wait for me to decide how much to give him – I think it was about $3.00 and he took it. He waited between the car and the drive-thru window, so as not to miss his opportunity in the off chance that I hit the peddle and sped off, which was not my intention, by the way.

So of course, I got to mulling this over and I ended up with the cartoon you see here.

It’s dog eat dog out there, these panhandlers have to be creative.

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May the 4th be with you!

We’re one today! Well, this incarnation of Tomversation is one.

On May 4th, 2020, I started publishing this incarnation of Tomversation, right at the beginning of the pandemic. This is the first cartoon. I started on May 4th, so that I would remember “May the 4th Be With You!” Although I don’t think I would have forgotten an important anniversary date.

A lot of the beginning cartoons were pandemic related, I guess it was easy to come up with those idea since that was an all consuming topic at the time. And it’s great to know we’re almost out of it!

Thanks for sticking around.

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What’s in a word?

Today’s Tomversation cartoon was influenced by the word, “orbisculate.” I got the idea from CBS Sunday Morning.

Growing up, Jonathan and Hilary Krieger’s vocabulary was enriched with a word their dad, Neil, used whenever a citrus fruit squirted you in the eye – a word they couldn’t find in a dictionary. Turns out he’d made it up! But with his passing last year from COVID, the Kriegers have set out to honor Neil by getting his word officially recognized by the publishers of dictionaries.

Their idea is to get the word used enough so as to make it become part of the English language. There is a list of uses they hope for and one was a comic strip. So I decided to accommodate them.

Here is the short story about it on CBS Sunday Morning.

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Am I trending? They seem to think so

So I’m getting some European love! Nora Gouma, a fashion/people magazine did a little feature on me.

They had seen my Ten With Tom feature in the Huffington Post and turned that back on me and did 10 questions with me.

I hadn’t done the 10 With Tom feature for awhile, but the feature is still popular. I guess when people Google certain celebs, my column comes up, so it’s always got some traction. I may bring it back, I’m in talks with the Huff Post. I have a bunch of the 10 With Tom columns here in tact in this blog.

Anyway, I see from a few of my recent press articles, that I need some new pics. Because of the pandemic, they aren’t sending people out to take pictures and I have to send the pictures in myself. I guess this European publication would not have sent anyone, but the Miami Herald and others would have when they did stories.

Frank

I tend to use certain characters over and over again. One of them is Frankenstein, or should I say Frankenstein’s monster. I used him and his wife the other day in this health care cartoon.

Whenever I use him in a gag, I call him “Frank,” and there is always someone who has to correct me and tell me he is Frankenstein’s monster – Frankenstein is the doctor. I know that.

But what would I call him? If he is Frankenstein’s monster, do I call him “Monster?” I think it’s nicer to call him “Frank,” which is short for Frankenstein’s monster.

But I have to always crack up that people always seem to have the need to correct the name. But of course, having people engage with the comic and discuss it is always a good thing.

One lady called him “Lurch,” getting her “monsters” mixed up.