1990 (?) – “a guy sits in a bar…”

(1990) a guy sits in a bar...
“I really wish I knew where he was going with this…”

This cartoon fragment resides on one of the first pages of the sketch book I’ve been working in for…forever. Every time I take out my drawing supplies, I flip past this sketch to find a blank page.

That’s supposed to be me on the right (the hairline and facial hair may not be quite the same these days, but I’m sure anyone who knows me will readily recognize the looks of annoyance). Based on the drawings on the surrounding pages, this sketch is from 1990. Beyond that, I have no idea what’s going on here. I have no idea who the other person is (or even if it’s supposed to be anyone specific), what bar this is (strangely, even though the sketch doesn’t necessarily indicate “bar,” I know that’s the setting here), or where I was going with this strip. If I had to guess, I’d say this was likely to be some kind of I-don’t-want-to-hear-how-great-things-are-going-for-you-my-life-sucks statement. Or something similarly uplifting. I might guess this was during the time when my pal Eric was first dating his now-wife Laura—the other character here looks a little like a glassesless Eric—but (a) Eric wouldn’t have been inclined to prattle on about his good fortunes and (b) Eric doesn’t drink.

My beer is probably a Yuengling Lager or a Molson Golden. I was a bit of a label-peeler, so it’s amusing to see I found it worthwhile to capture that here. It was also extremely important, evidently, that I capture the precise position of the two snacks that escaped the bowl in each of the first two panels. And what exactly ARE those snacks? Goldfish?

Dialogue and theme aside, I like how this one was turning out. I wish I’d finished it.

2017-06-30 – “collect ’em all! (6)”


Moleskin Candida
…them old foot fungus blues…

Just realized I hadn’t put up a blog post in June—just getting in under the buzzer! My weight loss and cartooning goals for 2017 may be all but shot, but maybe I can take some satisfaction in a consecutive-months blogging streak.

Had the idea for this one in my head for a while. First choice would have been to come up with a parody for Molson Golden, but I couldn’t think of anything to change “Golden” to. So here we are.

A few things going on here. First, I didn’t know that my editing software couldn’t put text in an arc, so this label was harder to put together than I expected.

Second, for my birthday I splurged for a bunch of Prismacolor magic markers. Turns out I should have (a) tested them more extensively and (b) saved the receipt. The ink in these markers is heavy and very bleed-y, as I learned to my great dismay when I tried to draw the “CANDIDA” in this label.  It’s like trying to draw with a giant Sharpie. The ink also seeps through the pages of my sketchpad, which is not cool.

The receipt thing ticks me off, because I am a notorious pack rat who (usually) never throws ANY scrap of paper away. I recently came across a Food Lion receipt from a 2014 trip to the Outer Banks, for God’s sake. But I couldn’t put aside THIS receipt.

Yeah, this is another biology-themed joke. Not a very accurate one, either, as I don’t think Candida (the genus of the fungus that causes thrush and yeast infections) is much of a problem as a foot-focused skin infection. But if I went with the thrush or yeast infection angle, I’d lose the relevance of “Moleskin.”  And there you have the kind of thing that goes through my mind and prevents me from actually drawing anything.

I’m feeling like I REALLY need to get a few actual STRIPS drawn. As I think I noted before, these parody drawings feel like cheats cartooning-wise.

But, for the moment, the important thing is that I have an entry for June 2017.


2017-05-26 – “collect ’em all! (5a, b)”


(2017-05-26) Anemic MireBall edit

This is more a case of wanting to “honor” what may be my favoritest candy ever, Ferrera’s Atomic Fireball. Delicious as the candy is, the packaging is pretty bare bones and doesn’t leave a lot of room for visual parody.

I wasn’t sure which way to go with this product parody; I did have another idea in mind, but for this little project I wasn’t sure it was the best foot to put forward.

Putting together this one required a lot of method drawing. And by “required” I mean “involved” and by “method drawing” I mean “eating LOTS of Atomic Fireballs.”

2017-05-12 – “collect ’em all (4)”

(2017-05-11) Poxy
Frustratingly, my magic marker set does not have a “pustule purple” color.

The Violent Rumble entry from the other day seems to have loosened up my cartoonist’s block…at least as far as this little Wacky Packages sub-project goes. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with ideas for actual strips before too long.

With this drawing I’ve gone back to a full-marker approach (lettering aside). I think I prefer the results this way. At least, I feel more like the end product is mine and not something anyone with a photo-editing program could have done (not that this is a big claim, mind you).

It’s pretty evident that I need new markers. I’ve been meaning to go to a real art supply store (looking at you, Blick in Philadelphia) to check out where marker technology is these days. It has to have advanced from the Marvy Marker sets I got back in the early 80s (which I loved but which are all but bone dry at this point).

Not afraid to admit that I’m particularly happy with this one. Infectious diseases are cool, so I appreciate being able to weave that interest into the parody. Also, I am pleased that I was able to find another product that meets the criteria I’m loosely holding to in this little exercise: (1) a product Topps never hit with a Wacky Package (well, in the original run—I’m not up on any of the post-70s series); (2) a product I like.

So expect a lot of junk food, cereal, and beer.

2017-02-22 – “collect ’em all (3)” 


(2017-02-22) Violent Rumble
a pretty obvious parody of a pretty obscure (in the US) candy bar

Here’s the last of the drawings I did in my Wacky Packages drawing session from February, finally colored in.

I once again used the flood fill feature of my photo-management software, which I am losing my fondness for. The program offers a lot of color options, allows for more even coloring, and saves me marker ink. On the other hand, the flood fill never seems to know what to do with the black lines, and it can yield a too-cartoony look to the finished product (which I know is a weird thing to say about cartoons).

Also, I tend to leave gaps in the borders of shapes and “balloon letters” (that’s what Maia used to call block letters), so when I flood fill an area—for example, to make the letters yellow in this drawing—I invariably end up having a whole area overfilled with yellow until I can go in and use the clone feature to close the gaps in the outline. This is something I consciously corrected for as I inked in the lines of this drawing, which was distracting and took some of the fun out of the exercise.

As far as the product and the parody go…I love Violet Crumbles, but they are hard to find (Amazon aside, but I’ve been trying to get the Amazon monkey off my back). They’re from Australia, and they are divine. The parody practically writes itself.

OK, so 3 down, 27 to go for my own Wacky Packages series. I’ve been given a couple of ideas (thanks, Beth and Robby), so hopefully I can get a few more of these out there. I don’t have any ideas for proper comic strips, so I can keep my hand in the cartooning/blogging game that way.

2017-03-29 – “a load (or three) of crap”

(2017-03-29) a load (or three) of crap
If you had panel 4 for “the biggest bit of shoveling depicted here,” you’re today’s winner!

Content-wise, I have nothing to add to this cartoon. This is just the way it is these days.

Drawing-wise, I am pleased with this one. Not so much with the way it turned out (though I am happy with that, too), but mostly because I had something of an epiphany while I was working on it. I wanted to ink this one in and get it done quickly (I’ve set a goal of completing three cartoons a month, and I’m already falling behind), so I didn’t worry about making the character look like who she’s based on. The process went a lot faster.

It made me realize how much my concern about people saying “I don’t look like that!” or “[Person] doesn’t look anything like that!” slows me down. And that’s a microcosm of how I live much of my life: being so concerned about some largely unimportant consideration that I am tentative and apprehensive when I finally get around to what I need (or want) to do.

The depressing thing is that I take extra time to try to make characters look like the people they’re based on, and they never do anyway.

Trainspotter alert: barn cat is Willow May Farm’s Hazel. Couch cat is Kittyboy, the poor thing. First panel horse is (obviously) Tex, the one Maia rides regularly. The other horses are from Central Casting.

Also, I have no idea how to draw a saddle and didn’t bother checking online to see what they look like. So that’s what Maia is carrying in the first panel.