Sunday, November 30, 2014


Traditional animal characters were often naked below the waist. Maybe that's one reason they were so appealing and funny. You wanted to laugh before they even did anything.

Modern designs are sometimes pantsless but they're designed in such a way as to de-emphasize the nudity.

For human characters the obvious way to go is clothes that are either too small or too big. I like the way Curly's jacket fits in this photo.

All my thrift store jackets are deliberately either too small or too big. I wish I could show you a picture of the miniature Uncle Eddie jacket John gave me a long time ago, but I don't have it anymore and I think I'll take a minute to tell you why. It spotlights an age-old wives trick that men need to know about.

It works like this: the wife waits til her husband is busy with something then asks him a few questions that have an obvious "no" answer, questions like: "Are you saving this ball of lint?" "Do want this pencil stub?" "How 'bout his used Kleenex?" She gets a nice litany of automatic "no's" going then casually throws in the important item, in this case: "Do you want to save this ugly old Uncle Eddie jacket?" The first ten times my wife tried this I reacted with horror that she could even think of such a thing, but she persisted and one day when I was seriously distracted I found myself saying, "Huh... oh, yeah...sure...whatever..." and that was the last time I ever saw my jacket. Now I live in fear that my more-precious-than-rubies Wrinkle Jacket will suffer the same fate.

But I digress.

 I like one-of-a-kind outfits myself.

Cartoonists should be fashion leaders, not fashion followers.

I like suit jackets (above) that flare out and stay flared.

What kind of dress shirt? One way to go is bulky one-size-fits-all shirts that always look ironed and new, like they just came out of the wrapper.
A certain kind of character should tuck in his shirt even though that's not the style now. In real life tucking it in requires constant adjustment and that's a great bit of business for a character with OCD.

Besides, tucked in shirts look great when they're pulled out (above) and allowed to hang loose. They retain their beautiful wrinkles at the shirt's bottom.

BTW, how do you like the crumpled forearm fabric and long cuffs?

Dress shirts come with all sorts of biases. This one is tight at the shoulders and loose everywhere else.

I wish I could have found a picture of a ballooning "parachute" backed tuck-in but, Alas!, it was not meant to be. Maybe next time.

Friday, November 28, 2014


Black Friday is here! If you're a cartoonist what better subject is there than this?

I have yet to see a photograph that adequately covers the subject.

Cartoonists OWN this holiday.

Photos can't do justice to it. What photographer has captured the essence of the crowded escalator?

None! That's the domain of cartoonists!

I'd have loved to have seen this kind of crowd for myself but I couldn't find a friend who'd do it with me, and I didn't want to go alone. I didn't want to shop, I just wanted to see the crowd.

When I watch videos like this one (above) I'm amazed at how many people mill around in a stupor. They seem to be anesthetized by the unfamiliar sights and sounds. It's funny to see the same super charged people who trampled old ladies to get into the store now mill about aimlessly, not knowing what to do next. That must be frustrating for goal oriented people who know exactly where they want to go and feel they have to push others aside to get anywhere at all.

On other videos I notice that nobody in the crowd can take big strides...there's no everybody walks in little bird steps. Tiny steps and a forward inclination make you unstable so you tend to lean on the person infront of you with the result that they lean on the person infront of them. Eventually someone tries to break out by insinuating himself between two other people who are then forced to the sides and have to battle their way to the center again. Fascinating, eh?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


That's Horn and Hardart's automat above, a noble restaurant that no longer exists now, but which is fondly remembered by everyone who took a meal there. What I remember best was their pumpkin pie. For kids its appearance in the Fall was a major event, eclipsed only by giant super holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. 

Like I said, Horn and Hardart's is closed for good now but I discovered that the recipe they used is available on the net now. That means this mouth-watering food of the gods is available to anyone who's willing to take the trouble to make it. Now THAT'S news! Imagine more plain brown pumpkin pie. The glorious original awaits...

...the glorious, textured ORANGE original, just like the innards of a real pumpkin!

On a practical note, I'll add that If you make this pie, don't buy the pumpkin mash in a can...what you want are real baking pumpkins (small), and real evaporated milk, not condensed milk, which is different.

Here's the recipe:

The recipe doesn't tell us how H&H made the pie crust. I seem to remember it tasting a bit like shortbread. And I can't tell from the wording if the pumpkin mash is pre-cooked. I don't think it is, but it would be nice to be certain. Also, I'll hazard a guess that H&H used a little more butter and spices than is allowed here. After all, people loved butter in those days! And where's the teaspoon full of orange peel scrapings!?

Monday, November 24, 2014


"Hey, I was rummaging in some old boxes in the garage and 
dug up an adventure book I thought I'd lost . You want to hear a few paragraphs?  I gotta warn's not for the feint of heart.

"Yikes! A spider! I'll just shake it out."

"Okay, here goes: 'On a night when the moon is at the full and the taboo of the rice feast is forgotten, a live hamadryad..."

", that's a poisonous snake, I think..."

 "...a live hamadryad is thrown into a kettle of boiling blood, blood which is drained from the body of a young Dryad girl. Into the mixture are thrown the teeth of nine crocodiles and the skull of a female orangutan."

"The potion is stirred with a golden parang...slowly...and the scum spooned off and allowed to dry. It is ground to a powder then and blended with the thorn of the Klubi, the swamp plant..."

"Whew! This is pretty intense stuff!"

"See! I warned you! You didn't believe me, didja?"

"Maybe we'll skip ahead to another chapter. Something a little milder, something like...THIS."

Yikes! It's about snakes!

Good Lord! I HATE snakes!!!!!

"That background, that misty darkness, was an undulating blanket of horror. Out there, wriggling, crawling, crossed and interwoven like the design of some colossal tapestry, was a compact mass of snakes....they were watching him with a thousand pairs of eyes, and they were advancing slowly nearer."

"Then it happened. Before he could flail his arms forward, before he could throw his weight to the side, his legs buckled under him and he fell to the floor.

He screamed then shot a frantic glance over his shoulder."

"Like a man in an hypnotic trance he felt himself powerless to move. What he saw was the snakes.  With a slow and inexorable movement the snake mass crossed the intervening distance, and, cold and clinging, began to slide its coils over his body."

"That's it!!! I can't take any more!!!!!!!!!"

Holy Cow! 'Another spider! I gotta clean that garage!"

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Some of my animation friends have work spaces (above) that are dominated by a cacophony of action figures and toys. Since I like clutter you'd think I'd do the same, but I guess there's different kinds of clutter and that kind just isn't me. It's too distracting. Even so, I kinda like this room.

I like the explosion of color and I like the overall lighting. I also kinda like the idea of a flat paper man dangling from a thread.

I have a few figures hanging from the ceiling in my workroom; mostly puppets, mobiles and cartoony paper sculptures.

Oh, yes...and Halloween paraphernalia.

I might consider putting little shelf figures around if I could find more funny ones (above), but they're pricey and in short supply.

Haw! There's always off-model toys...

...and maquettes. I don't have any myself but animators' workspaces are often full of them. I got this picture (above) from the net.

Most of what I have in there are bulletin board pictures (above).

Just funny stuff that cheers me up.

And colorful stuff. Click to enlarge. You can see the texture better when the image fills the whole screen. Texture amplifies and activates color.

My own taste in working surfaces is for the kind of tabletop workspaces painters make for themselves. I'm a line artist who only occasionally paints so it doesn't make any sense but my intuition tells me that painters know something important that I don't so I surround myself with little things I painted that remind me of the mystery of color.

I like to see other artists workspaces. For a casual space this one (above) is fine. This artist has a nice feel for color and shapes. It wouldn't do for someone who has to turn out a high volume, though. There's no room to spread out and not much storage space.

Busy artists usually work in areas like this (above). There's not much time to pretty it up.

Every once in a while I yearn to go back to a simpler workspace. Maybe something like the room I had when I was a kid, where I did my first cartoons. But that's just a fantasy. Where would I put all my junk?