Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Smiling Faces

I don't remember when I drew this, but it was sometime in the late 1980s or early 90s. It could be some sort of advertisement for dental products or services. The spiral binding which also got photocopied is kind of a goofy addition to a random kind of piece. I am pretty sure this started out just a doodle featuring the center subject. Actually, this marks the first time this drawing has seen the light of day, being previously buried in a portfolio. Perhaps I should have left well enough alone.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Danger at the Library

Accidents can happen anywhere. This cartoon dates back to at least 1992. Quite ironically, a couple of years after this was drawn, my son had an accident at a library that required stitches. So this premise is not as far-fetched as one might have guessed. Is there a morale to this cartoon? Perhaps not. But, I can make one up anyway. We can be as careful as we think we can be, but stuff is gonna happen anyway. We shouldn't beat ourselves up over things that we did not bring about on our own. So there.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This took quite some time to draw. I liked doing it, but I probably will never do something similar. It seems that there is no time in day to attempt anything like this. I am amazed how time has seemingly vanished or been truncated. Patience has faded away with the disappearance of time.  Life was much slower in years past.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brain Power

Just think of what we could accomplish if we all used 100% of our brain power.  The implications are staggering. Obviously this cartoon was created with no market in mind, it was just a concept rooted in irony. Maybe Einstein used 100% of his brain power. Or maybe, he was so smart, he only needed to used 3% to look like he was using 100%. It seems likely that I have used about 2.5% of my brain power in composing this blog post. Readers may utilize even less! This is indeed a scary scenario. I don't even want to think about it anymore. This would be 0% brain power.

Monday, September 21, 2009

School of Fish

This is another of my personal favorites, and it goes right to the heart of what the fish know about fishing. Of course they can see that hook sticking out with its pointed warning, and this long string - what's that all about? Fish cannot be so dumb as to fall for this time and time again, but alas, they are not too bright, so fishing is not too frustrating. Any fish will bite at a worm, but rubber and other synthetics will not fool most fish. I think that is where they draw the line. You can only insult their intelligence just to a certain point, and then they say, "Go find some other sucker!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Museum of Natural History Opens its Doors

Okay, here we go. There is no place that is off limits to the cartoonist. The cartoonist can rewrite history, and its a very freeing feeling.  Just think of the possibilities. There's just too many, I can't even give any examples. But it can be very fertile creative ground. Probably even cave drawings were overly elaborated, to the point of misleading the viewer to think that the hunt was better than it was. The cave drawings seemed to show only successful hunts, since there are no visual records of Alley Oop being gored by a zebu.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Frodo Sleeping

Here is one of many drawings of Frodo, the cat. This was a sitting that Frodo did for me, but he got so bored of it all, he fell asleep. He was a good cat, but a little stupid (he would regularly get stuck up a tree, but he was loveable). He died in 1988 at the age of 13. There are some more drawings of him around here somewhere. I will find them!

Demolition Dream

Dreams are funny things. Those random firings of the synapse produce some wacky stories. Cartoons dreams are another stock and trade of the comic repertoire. As a cartoonist, I stereotype dreams certain ways. In reality, dreams are totally incomprehensible, and as cartoons they would be difficult to express. What would be ultimately cool is videotape of the mind whereby we could play back dreams to our conscious minds to observe, like Youtube in your brain. They still wouldn't make sense, and our rational being would just shake its head and say, "What in the world was that?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

George's Bank

This cartoon was created in 1986 and was soundly rejected by every magazine I sent it to, and I sent to plenty of them. It utilizes an old chestnut that cartoonists have employed since cave art, wordplay which results in ridiculous situations. Notice the period automobile. At the time, George's Bank was in the news, but I don't remember why. Perhaps there was an international dispute regarding fishing there. I simply like the idea of fish driving cars.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Four Seasons of the Born Loser

Maybe you have felt like this sometimes. I know that I have. No matter the time of the year, bad luck can get in my grill, and then I feel like the lowest of the low. Do we make our own luck? Is there no such thing as bad or good luck? Is fate really this thing that operates in a bubble that is invulnerable to our will? Am I asking too many questions? Well, back to the tangible world. This piece is ink with watercolor and it shows up kind of funky when photocopied. The last panel (Winter) was actually the first one done, and probably should have been placed in the upper right hand corner, so the piece would read chronologically (that thought just occurred to me). An alternate title was "Gravity: Master of Reality." Ouch!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cat Nightmare

Another title for this might be Death Cab for Kittie.  Or another title might be The Mouse that Roared. In any event, this piece might have been too nightmarish to publish in Cat Fancy or I am like one of those people that try out for American Idol that has absolutely no talent whatsoever, but truly believes that they can carry a tune that millions of people would love. What if that is true and no one cared enough to straighten me out? Here I am wasting my time publishing these cartoons that editors across America have weighed in on as not worth it. Can't I take a hint? Apparently not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Man in the Mountain

Here is a four-panel cartoon that was fun. It was drawn way before this cliff on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire collapsed. I remember that the state was considering rebuilding the Profile, but I don't remember if they went through with it.  Even though it is an icon of New Hampshire, it seems odd to rebuild something that nature created in the first place. The Profile appears on the New Hampshire quarter.  Oh well, nothing lasts forever and all things must pass, and I have run out of cliches. What a shame. This particular cartoon had the honor of being rejected by Yankee Magazine. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disposable Income

Of course, this one was done during better economic times. But it never made my economic times any better because it never sold. It is one those ideas that spring from terminology. Why would anybody dispose their income? These types of inane observations are the bread and butter of cartoonists. It is probably a contributing factor of why cartoonists are battered around by society at times. Or perhaps it is why certain cartoons are not bought by publications. Or maybe it is only why this particular cartoon was not bought by a publication. Or maybe I should just end this pointless drivel right here.

Snow Goose

I am not sure why this goose appears to headed down a waterfall. The drawing was straight when I scanned it. But, I actually like this slanted bird. It seems oblivious to its fate. It is another old drawing, and it is probably from a professional photographer's collection appearing in some book. Is it illegal to draw from a photo which you did not actually take? Anyway, I think I intended this drawing to appear in a series of notecards that was sold at our now-defunct contemporary crafts gallery. Way back in the early 1980s, I had the patience (and time) to sit and draw involved pieces like this. I can't imagine myself drawing something like this now. That is unfortunate, because I remember enjoying such detail, but I think that I might just go bonkers if I tried this now. Maybe I should try it, just to see what would happen. I used to do pointillistic pieces also, which is now hard to imagine, but some of them might pop up in this blog. Those pieces have a different feel than this one which incorporates several techniques instead of one.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Men at Lunch

Here is a multi-panel cartoon with no gag line. I like this one, but magazines where I sent this one for publication, did not. And so it goes. It probably could have been done better, and if anybody has a suggestion....keep it to yourself! I can't go around changing every little thing just because the world is full of critics who all believe they can do it better! Just kidding. I actually only sent this around to 2 magazines. I am also lazy, forgot to mention that...

Puppet and the Puppeteer

This one definately started as a little doodle with nothing at all in mind. This one has not sold, but I never was sure where to send it. I like it and I don't like it. It might be a bit too simple. The implications are interesting, but it just kind of sits there. I guess it is good for a small "ha." But that just about is all I get from it these days. It was rejected by the Alabama Literary Review back in 1992. I have no idea why I sent it to the Alabama Literary Review.

Atomic Age

This one falls under the
category of illustration or maybe political cartoon. It is different than what I usually draw or drew. This one dates back to 1985 and actually sold twice! The original sale was to Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and then the reprint sold to Artist's Market 1986. It started as a kind of doodle and then morphed into the final piece. So, it wasn't created to fit a publication, but I found a publication where it would fit. That is the story for the very few pieces I have sold - they are stuff just out of my imagination and then finding a place to sell it. Whenever, I try to create a piece purposely to fit a publication, it never works out. I forget this lesson time and time again. Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

He's a strange duck.

OK, I know it's not a cartoon. It's a merganser, which in some people's opinions, is a cartoon of a duck. I guess for all of you folks who prefer technical labels, this is more of an illustration. Yes, it does not have a joke attached to it. I mean it's a strange duck, so it has a cartoon quality, but like many cartoons in this blog, it did not sell, so it is brethren of the typical Ken cartoon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Extreme Chess

I am finding that, over time, these cartoons tend to pile up. I guess I could have thrown them away and been more discerning about the ones I keep. In a sense, I guess I am doing that to some extent because I am not including all that I have in this blog. Unfortunately, I am somewhat of a pack rat. However, some of them I just don't like anymore. I object to them based on the art, or the theme, or both, or my perspective has changed over time. Some might claim that the whole kit-and-kaboodle should be scrapped, and I should start all over again. That thought occurred to me, and I know that 99% of these drawings have no future whatsoever, but here they are nonetheless. It's that pack rat in me coming out. I guess I relate to the drawings differently than anyone else because, even though most of these cartoons are very old, I can remember some details of drawing them. Many times, for me, the process of drawing was more meaningful than the actual product. Many of you may be saying, "I sure hope the process was meaningful, because the product is junk!" In any event, this particular cartoon was targeted at publication in the "Bulletin of Atomic Scientists," because they had once purchased another cartoon, which may appear sometime in this blog. Rarely has such a targeted idea paid off for me. I should try to include some newer drawings here, and I will, but a pack rat is forever doomed to be backlogged.

Help Desk at the Bookstore

It suddenly dawns on me that I don't quite know what I am doing, but "Foreward March!" anyway. Remember, dear readers (if any), that the overwhelming majority of these cartoons were sent out into the marketplace and not sold. I am told that this is quite common. It is also very possible that I am not that good at cartooning. Nothing is quite so dangerous as a little bit of talent. It can be a major source of frustration. For example, this particular cartoon was drawn circa 1992 and was rejected by over a dozen publications. It is not that good, but I have done worse. I have also done better. There exists among observers a subjective and objective reaction toward cartoon humor. There probably are a few cartoons that are universally considered good cartoons. So, from an objective standpoint, those few cartoons are funny and probably well-drawn. There are also subjective reactions where one observer finds a cartoon good while another observer does not. My feeling is that the latter is much more common than the universally accepted opinion of a cartoon. I have published several cartoons. Were they my best cartoons? From my subjective standpoint, I would say no. Does the perspective and taste of an editor come into play? I would say yes. Perhaps, at some point, this blog should sponsor a poll to vote on favorite cartoons if anybody ever sees this stuff.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Last Chance Art Center

This cartoon actually did sell (1992). However, I consider it a "pity sale." Here is the story: I had submitted it to Artist's Magazine, and I did not hear from them for quite a while, so I wrote a letter and asked for some sort of status report, something like: "So, what's going on?" Then there was a long time that I heard not a peep about it. I may have tried one more time to find out about the fate of the submittal, but for a long time, there was no word. I figured at that point that the editor hated the cartoon, and hated me for bothering them about its status. So, I just tried to forget about it and move on. One day, I received a check from Artist's Magazine for sale of a cartoon, but no tearsheet. The tearsheet would show the cartoon laid out on the page that it appeared on in the magazine. I decided not to pursue the mystery, but rather, take the money and run. My assumption was that the cartoon was lost, since I never was sent back the original, which is the usual practice after publication. So, that is why I call it a "pity sale." If anybody knows if this cartoon appeared in Artist's Magazine, please let me know. I have some photocopies of it, and maybe someday I will redraw it. I remember that it did not take long to draw. The idea of the cartoon was probably based on the popular "Art for Art's Sake" mantra of many art organizations which hoped to raise the importance of art in the eyes of society. The basic theme was that there is some intrinsic value of art for parts of a society. However, art can vanish, and this is regardless of its value.

Turkey Nightmare

This cartoon dates back to around 1986, and I always liked it. It never sold. I probably should resubmit it somewhere before Thanksgiving. I suppose the drawing is saying that animals have feelings, too. I do believe that, although their feelings are probably not like human feelings, animals have a range of emotions. If animals were as developed as us, each generation of turkeys could pass down to the next generation of turkeys, the story of Thanksgiving. They would probably refer to it as "Dark November," or something like that. Anyway, if they knew what was going to happen, they wouldn't be blissfully wolfing down their feed on November 10th. I am a vegetarian, and maybe that influenced somewhat this portrayal of avian life. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Imagine the state of mind for a turkey who knows what is coming in November. Surely, if the turkeys knew what we had in mind for them, they would never be so compliant to our demands - from the barnyard to the barbecue. They just connect us with the bringers of mega quantities of yummy feed. The irony of the situation is weighty.