Friday, April 24, 2015

Cartoon Class: Can You Draw 160 Cartoons?

A comic book artist friend of mine, when looking at comic book art by Wally Wood (Wally Wood being the best artist ever, in his opinion), would point to Mr. Wood's art and always say, "Look at the knowledge!"

And that's what drawing is all about; acquiring the knowledge of how to draw. How do you draw a fish? A bird? a cool car? a poodle?

Sure, when you read those words you get a visual in your mind -- but how to train your hand to draw what you imagine?

Answer: by drawing a lot.

How do you get to be a better cartoonist?

There is the old piece of advice: take a stack of paper the same height that you are. Draw on every sheet. When you get to the bottom, you've gotten a lot of the bad drawings out of your system and you're a better artist.

I teach cartoon classes in New England and New York. One of the things we do is the "cartoon grid," a series of empty boxes on a page with a word under each panel. As you can see above, there is one of the cartoon grids, all filled out by a recent cartoon class of elementary school kids.

There are 10 kids in the class, all of them in the upper grades at the local elementary school. All of them are fearless drawing machines!

Here are some details:

Above: 4 of one page's 16 panels. The sleepy monster is one of my favorites.

The chef is crying! The student cartoonist added the emotion herself. What's the story? Cutting onions? Did the souffle fall? Did Gordon Ramsey yell?

This is the most devilly devil have ever seen!

I like the addition of "Yo! Yo!!"

Yes, that IS a big nose!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Captain Underpants!

Look at that breathy exhaust! Great!

This does not look like a nice robot.

I couldn't draw a pencil better myself.

The class of ten kids drew 160 images in about 25 minutes. How it works: you would get the cartoon grid and read all 16 of the boxes. Pick your favorite to draw, draw one image, and then, when finished drawing, pass it to the left, to the next student cartoonist. The 10 pieces of paper went around the circle of hardworking cartoonists until all of the grids were filled in.

Here are the results (click on them to supersize):

Just look at all that knowledge! And look at all of the personal, artistic touches: those steam lines coming out of that hot cup of coffee, the girl dancing with the "TAP TAP" sound effect, the mountain climber with all of his gear. I could go on and on, but pictures are worth a thousand words. And there are 160 pictures to look at, so take a moment to look above, and see this next generation of talent.

It worked out to be about 6.4 drawings per minute.

A lot of pages! It's not a pile of paper as high as I am, but it's a darn good bit of drawing by a classful of talent for sure!

WANT TO HIRE MIKE TO TEACH CARTOONING? Contact: mike@mikelynchcartoons dot com

The New PEANUTS Movie Posters

Cartoon Brew has a story about the new series of PEANUTS movie posters that Fox just released, and why the characters look so hyper-detailed in them. The series of nine posters for the theatrical CGI movie, scheduled for release on November 6, 2015, showcases

Charlie Brown,
Snoopy and Woodstock,
Pig Pen (not "Pigpen"),
Woodstock (a solo poster),
Peppermint Patty,
and Marcie.

Cartoon Brew has all of the posters for your perusal. I agree that they look way too textured, but Blue Sky Studios is doing a 3D CGI big screen version of the classic comic strip, and the decision was made a long time ago to go "off model;" away from the flat, inky world they started living in in 1950.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jonathan Winters, Cartoonist

I didn't know that Jonathan Winters had a book of cartoons.

Sure enough, he attended the Dayton Art Institute for two and a half years. And he drew his whole life. But this book, MOUSE BREATH, CONFORMITY AND OTHER SOCIAL ILLS, is the only published record of Mr. Winters' artistic chops.

My thanks to my pal John Klossner for letting me borrow his copy. As of now, you can find inexpensive copies of the 1965 hardcover published by Bobbs Merrill and copyright that same year by Wintergood Inc.

-- This is an edited version of a blog entry dated May 15, 2013.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


In its entirety: THE CARTOONIST!, the in-house publication of the National Cartoonists Society. This is the Annual Photo Issue Fall 1953.

The Cartoonist: a quarterly published by the National Cartoonists Society, 140 West 57th Street, New York 19, N. Y.

If you Google Map this address, you get:

.. a bus zooming in front to the frikkin' Google camera!

Oh well, back to the mag:

Mort Walker edited THE CARTOONIST, with Bill Yates as Assistant Editor.

The 1953 NCS Board:

BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Rube Goldberg, Honorary President; Otto Soglow, President; Bob Dunn, First Vice President; Willard Mullin, Second Vice President; John Pierotti, Treasurer; McGowan Miller, Secretary; Carl Rose, General Membership Representative; EXECUTIVE COUNCIL: Martin Banner, Ernie Bushmiller, E. Simms Campbell, Milton Caniff, Past Pres., Fred Cooper, Walt Disney, Albert Dorne, Ham Fisher, Hal Foster, Harold Gray, Jimmy Hatlo, Harry Hershfeld, Bill Holman, Walt Kelly, Frank King, Bill Mauldin, George MacManus, Willard Mullin, Russell Patterson, Past Pres., Alex Raymond, Past Pres., Mischa Richter, C.D. Russell, Frank Willard, George Wunder, Chic Young.

Fred Waring was a great fan and friend of cartoonists.

Above: Fred Waring reads the Sunday funnies in a photo nicked from the Fred Waring's America site.
He had a huge place in Pennsylvania and he would send a bus to Times Square for all the NCSers to get aboard. The bus would then drive thru NJ to PA, and all the cartoonists would hang out at his place -- usually for a couple of days. Mel Casson helped start the annual visit to Waring's Shawnee Golf Resort. More here, at the Penn State Fred Waring's America site.

Back to the magazine:

Evert cartoonist should wear a hat and smoke a pipe ala Ed Dodd and Walt Kelly!

-- This has been an edited version of a blog entry that originally appeared May 26, 2009.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mike Lynch is "Mr. Comics Smarty-Pants" by Brian Fies

I talked about how there's a Walt Kelly quote on the wall of a grocery store, and how none of the employees know who on earth he is. So, I have been lecturing them, there in the checkout line, about Mr. Kelly; that he's a famous cartoonist, the creator of POGO, etc.

My pal, the award winning graphic novelist and writer Brian Fies, in the comments section (see link above), imagined the employees' reaction when I am around. Not only did he imagine, but he wrote an entire script.

So, I drew it up.

Here ya go:

-- This blog entry originally appeared on April 18, 2014. So there.

Monday, April 20, 2015

MOM'S CANCER by Brian Fies Now Serialized at GoComics

Brian Fies award winning graphic novel MOM'S CANCER begins a page-a-day serialization at GoComics today. 

If you didn't get a chance to read it or want to reread it, now is the time.

Even better: Brian, over at his blog, is providing a "director's commentary" of behind the scenes drawings and stories.

Art by Charles Geer: THAT SUMMER WITH LEXY!

Here is another book with illustrations by Charles Geer (1922-2008). (Last month I showed you some of his work from the children's book THE MYSTERY AT REDTOP HILL.)

THAT SUMMER WITH LEXY by Audrey McKim was published in 1964 by Abingdon Press. It's copyright that year by the author. The dust jacket and cloth book cover utilize an exclamation point at the end of the title, but the interior title page drops it. 

Plot: Lexy O'Connor and her friend Patty are starting an unexciting summer vacation at home in Edmonton, Ontario, when they

"… decide to earn money for allowances during the school year. A White Elephant Sale ends in near disaster when a neighbor's wedding ring is sold; their house-to-house photography business almost collapses when two picture become police evidence. A lot happens, but it's all told in uninspired prose. The laugh possibilities in this string of misfortunes may hold the youngest members of the age group." -- Kirkus

Here are some of the drawings from the book, all drawn in that loose but confident style of Mr. Geer's which I admire. Mr. Geer was born in Long Island, served in the navy in World War II, and then studied at Pratt. He settled in Rockland, Maine. You can see his love of trees, rocks and water in these drawings.