Archive for the ‘Studio’ Category

Studio tour part 5 – Look, Ma! I’m in the comics!

September 22, 2009

If my last post didn’t make me seem like an egotist, this one will.

What can I say? Cartoonists tend to put their friends in their work just for fun. Here’s two featuring me from Dave Coverly and Dan Piraro respectively. (I’m only showing two cuz I only have really crappy photos of two.)


Studio tour part 4 – Effigies

September 21, 2009

You’d think that by the number of representations of myself in my studio that I’m some sort of egotist, but really, it’s not my fault.


This is a bobble head that my friend Chuck Gamble made of/for me on the occasion of my 40th birthday. Because of some painting/curing problem it was sticky for, oh, about five years until I found some sealant to spray on it.


Another birthday present. This is a marionette my then girlfriend/now wife made for me. (This was a year after she made a Muppet-like puppet of her roommate for his birthday.)


OK, so this one I did have something to do with. This is a self-caricature I did while working for Xerox (my last real job). I came back from vacation to find that my friend Scooty had made a mobile out of it. (I think he may have also wallpapered my cubicle with Cheap Trick lyrics.)

Studio tour part 3 – Other stuff on shelves

September 16, 2009

And now stuff that isn’t books.


First off let’s look at some drawers. On the front of the top drawer of the file cabinet is a Batman door sensor. Pass your hand in front of it and it plays the 90s animated Batman theme and says, “Batcave defense program activated. Please wait for security clearance.” On top left there is a picture of me in my superhero costume. (It’s not my fault – read here.) There are also various bobble heads, including one of me my friend Chuck Gamble made for for 40th birthday. On the side are some odd candies from Seattle’s Chinatown. On the top of the dresser are some fake Bo Nanas merchandise I made as holiday gifts for my clients. (More on that later.) Down the side is some escape artist nerd stuff (yep, they’re real handcuffs). Down the front, a couple of lanyards with buttons to keep them from being under foot.


Left to right: A special edition Batman thingy, a cardboard Dilbert periscope, Aku from “Samurai Jack”, Ned* and a Dick Tracy lunchbox. Next shelf: mini Batman/Mr. Freeze Rock ’em sock ’em robots being crushed by books.

* Ned was a product that Lynn Johnston created based on a naked suction-cup-to-window guy (a la Garfield) that the character Michael had in her comic strip “For Better or for Worse.” I think these were prototypes and she brought a bunch to a cartoonist gathering in Toronto. This one is signed.


Left to right: Avon Peanuts soap from the 70s, an Opus phone (take the handset from his back and he turns his head toward you) and a bird sculpture by a cartoonist friend.


In 1995 the National Cartoonist Society had their Reuben Weekend in Boca Raton, FL to celebrate the new International Museum of Cartoon Art…except the museum wasn’t finished yet. So one of the receptions was a hard hat party. We were all given hard hats and Sharpies and, well, you can see what happened. (The fancy-pants glass box is actually an aquarium on its side.)


Studio tour part 2 – Shelf porn

September 15, 2009

Don’t blame me – that’s what people call it because book people (of various ilks) like to see what others of their ilk have on their shelves. (This pretty much ran as you see it on Robot 6 last week – I’ve added a couple of things…and fixed some typos.)

My shelves are all cheapo brown pressboard affairs (none bought new) that just about cover my third floor studio’s shared wall in our 100+ year old duplex.

When we moved in I spent a lot of time unpacking the books and trying to find the right place for each. I was trying to put them in categories. My wife asked if anyone but me would know. I said another nerd might.


Bookcase on the left: Top shelf – biography and collections. Second shelf – foreign comics. Third shelf – Non-mainstream/graphic novel-y stuff. Fourth shelf – MAD paperbacks, Popeye cup, gag cartoon paperbacks. Bottom shelf – gag cartoon hardcovers. (On the far right is one of a series of posters done for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in the 80’s (I think). This was done by “Wizard if Id’s” Brant Parker. The odd thing is that the thumbs are on the wrong side of the hands.)

Bookcase on the right: Top shelf – hodge podge of hard-to-categorize books (ie,comics cookbook) and fiction about the comic industry. Second and third shelf – research and how-to. Fourth and bottom shelf – gag cartoon hardcovers.


Cut off on the top you can see the bottom my Batman alarm clock (which went off at 4:00 am – while still packed in a box – the first night we moved in), Mickey Mouse ears and a Kermit the Frog candlestick phone.

Bookcase on the left: All comic strip collections. (Surprised?)

Bookcase on the right: Top shelf – biography. Second shelf – animation, EC comics, Will Eisner. Third shelf – Comic book and non-mainstream/graphic novel-y stuff. Fourth shelf – illustration, MAD related books. Bottom shelf – editorial cartoons.


Shelf one, two and four are all Peanuts. Shelf three is paperback comic strip collections (BC, Wizard if Id, Denise the Menace, etc.) On the bottom shelf you can see an unglazed piece of pottery of Jiggs from the comic strip “Bringing up Father.” (I’ll talk about the puppet on the right in a later post.)

And I have two shelves of signed books.


Of note, books signed by 1) Nico (from Paraguay), 2) Gahan Wilson, 3) Mell Lazarus (one of his non-cartoon novels), 4) Jules Feiffer, 5) Virgil Partch.


Of note, books signed by 1) Bill Watterson*, 2) James Kemsley (from Australia), 3) Milt Gross, 4) Chuck Jones.

*He used to sign Calvin and Hobbes books for a friend who owned a small bookstore in Ohio. When it became too well known that he was doing this he stopped.

Studio tour part 1

September 14, 2009


These next couple of weeks I’ll be posting pics of my studio. It’s on the third floor of the  house we’ve lived in for just over a year. I have most of the floor but share it with a combo bathroom/laundry. (The photo above was taken by my wife at the request of John Read for an upcoming interview for his Stay Tooned magazine. I cropped it so you can’t see my broken toe.) My drawing table is an old wooden one I found at the side of a road and wrestled into my station wagon. The chair was mine at a job I had – I bought it at auction when my employer went out of business. Under the top of the drawing table you can see the back of the futon that faces the TV. (It’s good for “thinking.”)


This is from the other direction (and before I put art up on the walls). It shows off a wee bit more of the mess. That’s an old door across the filing cabinets with an even older library card catalog below it, and an even older paper cutter on top of that.

Shelf porn

September 9, 2009

Yep, you read that right – shelf porn. And Chris Mautner was nice enough to include mine in the Wednesday “Send Us Your Shelf Porn !” feature over at Comic Books Resources’ Robot 6. This also acts as a preview of sorts for the “Tour Of My Studio” I’m going to start posting next week.

Can’t you just taste the excitement?

Birthday presents

August 12, 2009


My birthday was a few weeks ago. My wife asked me what I wanted and I really couldn’t think of anything…except a chair. I’ve always wanted a thinking/reading/napping chair for my studio. But my last two studios were, respectively, a part of a bedroom and a small bedroom, each without any extra space. The house we bought last year has a great third floor space that makes a terrific studio (it even has enough room for a thinking/reading/napping futon with a thinking/reading/napping TV). And, being on the third floor, it has a dormer window – perfect for a chair. So we off we went to visit some local stores with no luck, and then took an hour trip to Ikea. And there it was, just waiting for us as we walked in the door. And it was on sale – which is why it was by the door in the first place. (I’m pretty sure it was a discontinued style since I couldn’t find a photo on the Ikea site. Mine has blue stripes.) It’s their “Karlstad” style. I just call it Karl the Chair. We’re very happy together.

In out travels that day we also stopped at Barnes and Noble and found this two-volume Willie and Joe collection that came out last year for just $20. (I think it was originally $85.) Now I can read one present while sitting in another present.