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An Artist's Journey

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Chapter 11: Cartoon Teaching and Cartoon Illustration

 

On Fridays, the main classroom of the Advertising Art Department at Pima Community College was dedicated to the cartooning classes. Cartooning I met in the morning and Cartooning II and III met in the afternoon. I spent a day before the classes writing and grading assignments. The students included a greater variety of people than art classes at the University. We had people in their late teens, retired folks, street people, learning impaired, and hearing impaired students. There were people in wheelchairs, people from jail, single moms, mystics and assorted other characters. I learned to be very flexible to accommodate and communicate with everyone.

For a few years we published a collection of cartoons from the class in a comic book at the end of the semester. Classes were assigned to create a cover for their comic book. These were the winners selected from student designs in 1988 and 90.

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This poster was my gift to the advanced class one semester.

In 1990 I received a call from Harrison Shaffer, the designer with a small local publisher, Harbinger House. They hired me to provide illustrations for covers for two books, "American Gridmark" and "Buying Your Next Car". Soon after these books came out, Harbinger House changed ownership and eventually closed. Publishing is a fluid business.

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Other freelance work of that time included producing spot drawings for yellow page ads.

During slow business spells I turned to painting. Below are experiments with materials left over from model home murals and window valance carpentry projects. They were done with latex house paints on OSB (oriented strand board) a plywood-like board. These and some of the earlier fish and splatter paintings were exhibited in the Mosaic and Bentley's cafes at various times in the 80s and 90s. Nora Kuehl, a student from my teaching stint at the University of Arizona, has been very supportive in these informal exhibits. She arranged for shows and helped hang the paintings.

I also enjoy doing portraits. Here's one of Nora Kuehl from that era..

Portrait of Virginia "Gina" Webb, and two of Kay Stork

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In 1991 I heard from Hugh Holub. (I'd illustrated his "Book of John" when we were undergraduates at the University of Arizona, and also worked on his underground campus newspaper, the Frumious Bandersnatch.) He wanted me to help him fulfill a lifetime dream to create a comic strip. Since business was slow, I agreed and drew the "Tilly" strips he wrote. We also did editorial cartoons together that were published in local newspapers. The comic strip never took off. The editorial cartoons were better received.

These are a few examples of the Tilly strip that Hugh wrote and I drew. There were 96 in all.

This was a cartoon idea by Beth Holub, Hugh's younger daughter.

This cartoon was quite popular and was reprinted in several places around the country and in europe.

Then a call came from Karen Liptak. She had begun working with Positive Promotions, a New York based company that specializes in health, safety and other educational promotional products. She asked me to illustrate a kid's financial book for them. They liked the results and I drew many other of these educational activity books for them through the 90s.

These 16-page books included simple black and white line drawings inside to accompany the text. They were inexpensively produced on newsprint. The covers had space at the bottom to imprint the buyer's logo to customize them. I did dozens of these over the next several years.

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I became so busy with this work that it was becoming difficult to keep up with teaching. In the spring of 1994, after nine years, I decided to leave Pima College rather than enter the classroom with less than full energy and enthusiasm.

 

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