Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Caricature of My Present Self

Everyone has a dream job, right?

Years ago, mine was—and probably still is, to a degree—to be an editorial cartoonist. Or the CCP (chief creative pencil) of a wildly popular comic strip. (Calvin and Hobbes immediately springs to mind. I miss those guys.)

I've written about it before, and continue to be fascinated by those who can turn a blank page into a panel or strip that's smart, funny, and creatively drawn.

Problem is...I'm not always smart, only occasionally funny, and...creative with a pencil? Rarely, if ever.

Last year at the Manitowoc library, we saw Joe Heller, a cartoonist based at the Green Bay Press Gazette, and syndicated in more than 350 newspapers. He shared the story of how his career grew over 30-plus years, and his process for creating award-winning cartoons.

He has a great job: every day he absorbs as much news and gossip as he can, and then scribbles down a drawing four times a week...very often thought-provoking, and very often funny.

Every so often he'll post an update on Facebook that says, "My latest cartoon was just picked up by the New York Times!" And my reaction is always, "Way to go, Joe!" Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

As a young boy, I attempted to put pencil to paper, and I speak the truth when I say it's for the best that I'm sitting in front of this keyboard instead of an easel or drafting table.

What's your dream job?

"No one blames themselves if they don't understand a cartoon,
as they might with a painting or "real" art;
they simply think it's a bad cartoon."
—Chris Ware

— • — • —

The September theme for NaBloPoMo is "art."
I'm not promising or forecasting anything. I'm just sayin'.


  1. How is it possible that someone who was raised only two city blocks away from me on the northside of TR had the exact same life goal as I did?

    For me it was Doonesbury and Bloom County (and a little bit of Garfield... the early days, prior to Jim Davis running on half power).

    Like yourself, not too much skills handling a pencil. If I went reallllly slow, I could produce barely acceptable images but I had little patience for that.

    Running my own daily strip was (and perhaps still is???) a huge, all encompassing dream. The cinema, a much more destructive career/hobby, had me by the throat as well and took precedent in my life, which is unfortunate.


  2. Perhaps we can collaborate, Jeff, on a comic strip in our middle age. I'll draw the stick figures and write a skeletal storyline, and you can add the both the drawings and plot/moral/funny bits.

    Sounds like a perfectly equal 50-50 partnership to me! :)