Greetings and welcome to another little glimpse into the life of a Professional Cartoonist! This past weekend I attended the North Central Chapter of the NCS’s Annual Fall Meeting, held at the Iowa Central Community College campus from Friday October 10th-Sunday October 12th. As always, it was a wonderful opportunity to get together with those other members of our far-flung chapter and talk business, promote our profession, encourage young artists and of course, drink beer.
Upon arrival on Friday all the attending members, Paul Fell, Mike Edholm, Jim Horwitz, John Hambrock, Dave Carpenter and Kenny Durkin along with our two presenters Jay Rath and Gordon Smuder got together for dinner at the Community Tap and Pizza in downtown Fort Dodge. It was a very rustic up-north type place, with pine paneling and a host of dead animals on the walls. Pizza was very good though as a spoiled beer snob from the Twin Cities, the beer selection was lacking. But that’s just me.
After dinner we retired to the hotel lounge, appropriately called ‘Planet 70′s Bar’, with vintage cartoon lunchboxes and 45 records on the walls, an Atari 64 game console, 8-track player and console t.v. Best of all, there was a large orange and quite comfortable couch and matching chair. Sexy, I tell ya!
While in the lounge our chapter president, Jim Horwitz produced three large foam core boards on which we all slung some ink…Each artist drew a cartoon on each board creating one helluva raffle item! More on that later…
The following morning, Saturday, we NCSers held our annual business meeting. Short, sweet and to the point it was announced that I would be the new Treasurer of the North Central Chapter. How about that for a surprise! I’m terribly excited to be in an executive position within this organization that I love!
After the excitement of the business meeting, the group had brunch at the Triton Cafe on the ICCC campus. There we shared a table with several students and talked to them ab0ut what we do, what they do and the afternoon ahead.
Which leads to the afternoon’s schedule. Speaking first was Jay Rath, a writer and Cartoonist that has done work with MAD Magazine and Astro Boy as well as voice work on the Nickelodeon cartoon ‘Doug’. His presentation included bits about his work and was wrapped in a fictional adventure called The Washburn Expedition. Very interesting stuff.
Following Jay was Gordon Smuder, a puppeteer and special effects professional from Minneapolis. He spoke about the parallels between 2D cartoons and 3D puppetry making for a very informational and entertaining presentation.
The final speaker was none other than the NCS’s own John Hambrock, creator of the internationally syndicated ‘Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee’. His presentation brought the audience through his creative process, his run-ins with his syndicate as well as some interesting fan mail. John is also on the Executive Board of the national NCS, holding the office of national Treasurer. I’ve never seen a member travel so much to every NCS event, no matter where it is being held. Thanks so much to the speakers as they offered a wonderful insight into other creative disciplines and kept the student attendees involved.
Next came the raffle. Included in the raffle was many pieces of original art, books, swag and the three doodle boards. All the NCSers donated stuff and all the proceeds go into our chapters fund. I’m happy to say we raised more than expected and everybody walked away with an item that they were very happy with.
As another way for the attendees to get to interact with the NCSers, tables were set up outside the auditorium where all the professionals sat and sketched for the kids and sold some of their work. Between the presentations I asked that all the students present (art students attending the college) to have their sketchbooks handy…Once the speakers were through I announced to them that I would like to do a sketch trade…they draw one for me, I draw one for them. They loved it though some were a little shy…Here are some of the sketches that I cashed in on:
After an afternoon of shaping young minds, the group met back at the Triton Cafe where the school chef had quite the Fall Feast laid out for us…Roast beef, chicken marinated in a red wine reduction, roasted veggies, salads, appetizers…it was a feast fit for a king! Or several hungry Cartoonists…needless to say, we all walked out with several takeaway boxes…
Once dinner was over and we crammed leftovers into a truckload of white takeaway boxes, the group again adjourned to the 70′s bar for night caps. Here I had the pleasure to chat with Joe Engesser, a member from Red Wing, MN and Gordon Smuder. We talked about old cartoons, theme parks, muppets, etc. It is a true joy to get to hang out with other professional artists and exchange knowledge and experience. I learn so much about these other creative types as well as a little bit more about myself. It makes me appreciate and love my job even more, if that’s possible.
Sunday pretty much had us passing each other in the breakfast area, all of us ready to make that trip back home. So long, fellas…I look forward to next year!
Hooray for FallCon! This has to be my favorite one-day wonder of all that I attend. I can’t say enough about how the promoters do such a great job keeping their guests happy.This year had me sitting next to my colleagues in TC3 Lucas Munson and Jeff Kulisek. Doug Kallberg, another of our TC3 colleagues, was supposed to sit with us but he and his wife up and had a baby that day…Congratulations Doug!
As far a FallCon goes, this had to be the best one for me yet. I am only a few issues away from being sold out of my “Still Standing” collection. I have to restock my sketch card binder because people were snatching them up. I sold a handful of greeting cards and thanks to a new fan from Des Moines, I moved several pieces of original comic strip art! Thanks Ryan! Other pleasant surprises included a visit from local illustration superstar Dave Witt (a.k.a. DWitt) and Jim Horwitz, Chairman of our regional North Central Chapter of the NCS. Yessir, it was a chatty kind of day!
The best thing about this show is that I feel like I nailed my sales pitch. I’ve incorporated new tools like ‘Welcome Back’ cards that I hand out to people that browse and then move on. One guy actually brought one that I gave him at the Eau Claire show! Since I’m a nice guy, I honored it…Another nice thing is that I got to promote my Patreon page, plushie Spencer toy and my upcoming 10th Anniversary collection, slated for spring 2015. And of course, meet new people and make new fans. It was a great time!
Yes, yes…there are pictures…
Thanks to everybody that stopped by my table, chatted and bought stuff. I look forward to I-Con coming up in Des Moines, IA on October 25th, 2014! Hope to see you there!
This video was done earlier in the year by my colleague in TC3, Cory Fox of Shadowfox Studios. He filmed each of the members of the Twin Cities Comic Collective and did a masterful job capturing our reasons for being a part of TC3.
He actually made me sound like I know what I’m talking about…
Every once and a while I like to share what I’m working on for my freelance clients. Happily, most of my freelance clients are becoming regular clients. Below are a few illustrations that I’ve been working on lately. Enjoy!
For being the first time guesting at the Eau Claire Comic Con I have to say that I fared pretty well. Original art was the order of the day…color sketches, sketch cards, original comic strip art…followed by a few book and greeting card sales. Throughout all, there was a lot of talking. I got to promote my new Spencer plush toy, upcoming 10th Anniversary Collection and Patreon page and got to meet a lot of new people.
The con itself was set up in a large activity room off the main arcade and go cart rink at Action City, which was pretty awesome. It was a pretty small show with more vendors than artists but hey…it was a lot of fun. I may even have gotten some leads up work and promo gigs. We’ll see.
The best part about the show was that I got so share a table with a fellow Cartoonist, Scott Gallatin, creator of MadScott Comics (http://www.madscottcomic.com/) We met at CONvergence this past summer and became friends. I also had the pleasure of meeting his son Andrew, who also likes to draw…a lot. Andrew drew up a bunch of sketches and Scott inked them and sold them for $1. I bought one!
Please enjoy the blurry and off center pics that I took during the show. Hopefully those that are featured in the pics aren’t too offended by the poor quality…
The host, Rachel Gierke, was a joy to work with. She answered questions and resolved any issues that I had before the day of the show. I look forward to being a guest again next year!
Thanks for reading,