Wow, I have been neglecting the blog lately, eh? I need to change that.
This was done while sitting around at the mall sketching shoppers. Add a Comment
"To Be a Cat," a middle grade novel I illustrated, was released today.
I dedicated the cat book to my dogs, Derby and Inky. :-)
You should buy this book.
Please visit our Dueling Banjo Pigs blog. We'd love to have you contribute a banjo pig!Add a Comment
In an effort to blog more, I'm going to attempt a monthly list of 9 THINGS I discovered over the past month.
A tip of the ol' top hat goes to my pal, Matthew Cordell, for allowing me to borrow his monthly list idea. I promise to feed it monthly and clean up after it.
So here it goes, in no particular order ...
1. MODERN FAMILY, SEASON ONE.I've been a fan of MODERN FAMILY since I found it while channel surfing. I never saw the first season and got it on DVD for Christmas. We dove into it and didn't stop until we finished Disc #4. Good stuff. Highly recommended!
Funny quote: "Phil: Ordinarily I'm a rule follower, but when someone tells me I can't bring my own snacks into their stadium? That's when I get a little... nuts. It's a free country right? Let's just say it Ruffles me when some Goobers tell me I have to spend my half my PayDay on their hot dogs."
3. BIG EASY EXPRESS (Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros). It's a 1 hour and 7 minute movie about 3 fantastic bands, 6 cities, 1 train and thousands of miles of track. The music is great and the behind-the-scenes footage is terrific. We saw the film at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, but you can now buy it online at Amazon.com among other places. Enjoy the trailer below.
4. HELLO! HELLO! by Matthew Cordell. One of my pet peeves is going to a restaurant and seeing members of a family sitting at the table looking at their phones, tablets and other electronic devices. When we were kids, we were not allowed to bring anything to the dinner table. That's where we all sat and talked about our day. This book has an important message. Now get off my lawn and go buy this book!
5. HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY. Do you know who Ray Johnson is? I didn't either. He's been described as "New York's most famous unknown artist." I found this documentary living in my Netflix queue and watched it on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I loved it! There are interviews with Christo, Chuck Close, Roy and Dorothy Lichtenstein among others about the life of Ray Johnson. Do yourself a favor and check it out. I am now a Ray Johnson fan.
6. CREEPY CARROTS Written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown. My pal, Peter Brown, recently won a Caldecott Honor for this book. I bought this book on its release date because I love the illustrations. Now I own a copy without the Caldecott Honor sticker on it. Woot! It is a great read and I recently found out Aaron lives in Chicago!
7. BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING. Another documentary about another artist. This time it's Wayne White. All I'm going to say is it's damn good. My favorite quote: "Just leave the awards on the kitchen table, I'm back here painting a fucking masterpiece."
8. THE BOOK OF MORMON. We saw this musical recently in Chicago. It's extremely vulgar. It's satire. And it has won 9 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, because it's good. And there is a reason you don't see Mormons protesting the musical. You'll have to see why for yourself.
At the risk of posting ANOTHER video ....
And last, but not least....
9. TOM LICHTENHELD'S BLOG. My pal Tom is an awesome author and illustrator! He illustrated Sherri Duskey Rinker's GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE book and it's been on the New York Times Best Sellers List for over a year! If you're on Facebook, you should head over to TOM'S FACEBOOK PAGE and click LIKE.
This concludes my very first 9 THINGS list. Put your shoes back on and get out now while traffic is light.
If you enjoyed it and you think it's a feature worth repeating every month, please let me know.
Cheers!Add a Comment
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My friend, Mark Kiesling, who I met while working for The Times of NW Indiana had a seizure and died yesterday.
Mark was a straight-shooter. He told it like it is. He told great stories. And he was the funniest person I've ever known. Mark told stories that caused me to laugh so hard I had trouble breathing. And when I got calmed down, I would look at Mark and the laughter would start all over again. He was that damn funny.
I want to share one of my favorite Mark stories with you.
One day while I was at my desk inking an editorial cartoon at the newspaper, Mark told me a story that made me laugh so hard, I knocked over my bottle of ink. My first instinct was to quickly move under the bottle to keep the ink from hitting the carpet in our office. The result was my shirt and pants covered in ink.
It made Mark laugh.
Mostly because I was confined to my office chair until I started and finished a new cartoon.
I wasn't about to go anywhere. It looked like, as one of our co-workers put it, "A squid exploded in your pocket." When it came time later that day for me to show my cartoon to my editor for approval, I asked Mark if he would do it since I was embarrassingly covered in ink.
He simply said, "No."
And then erupted in crazy laughter.
Those shirt and pants hang in my closet because I will never forget that day.
And I will never forget Mark Kiesling.
The print for sale during October (the post below) is officially sold out.
Thanks to everyone who bought one. Enjoy!
I made this screen print to sell during the month of October 2012..
"Light the Way" by Stacy Curtis.
Signed and numbered by the artist.
An edition of 31.
12.5" x 12.5" (fits in a standard record frame)
Four colors: gray, white, silver and glow-in-the-dark inks.
The lightest color glows in the dark.
Cost: $25, with free shipping.
If you want to purchase one, please click here.Add a Comment
Ink and Watercolor on 140 lb. Cold-Pressed Paper
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Every time I pass this manhole cover on my bike ride, I imagine Alice Otterloop doing a dance on it. So I made this little wooden heart, glued a magnet on it and stuck it to the manhole cover today as a tribute to Alice and her little dances in Richard Thompson's comic strip "Cul de Sac," which ends today.
Somewhere in the distance, I swear I can hear Timmy Fretwork playing his banjo as Alice dances on the manhole cover and Petey watches safely from his bedroom window.
So long, dwellers of "Cul de Sac." You will be missed.
And well wishes to Richard as he continues his fight against Parkinson's disease.
And please consider making a donation for Parkinson's research.Add a Comment
A boy. Named Stacy. Who is an illustrator. With about a thousand markers. Hey, that's ME!
Frazz, the main character in the strip, is also wearing a Mile 44 t-shirt. Mile 44 is the name of the screenprinting company I co-own with my buddy, Dave.
Thanks, Jef and Patty Mallett! Hugs to you both.
Links: The comic strip Frazz.Display Comments Add a Comment
Are you aware of the auction going on for Team Cul de Sac?
Team Cul de Sac is the brainchild of Chris Sparks, who has worked tirelessly to organize this fundraising program for Parkinson's research.
The Team Cul de Sac book is a collection of art from cartoonists and illustrators honoring the comic strip, Cul de Sac, and its creator, Richard Thompson, who has Parkinson's disease. The purpose of the book is to raise money for Parkinson's disease research.
The Cul de Sac Auction:
The auction ends in only 5 days and the prices on the artwork from the Team Cul de Sac book are incredibly reasonable.
This is a rare chance to own artwork from some of the best cartoonists and illustrators in the business.
Artists such as Bill Watterson, Sergio Aragones, Bill Amend, Cathy Guisewite, Lynn Johnston, Rick Kirkman, Tom Richmond, Jan Elliot, Mort Walker, Mo Willems .... and the list goes on.
I have a new assistant helping out in my studio.
Her resume says:
Age: 1 year old
Previous Experience: Two months at an animal shelter in Chicago.
Pros: A great kisser.
Cons: Poops in the yard and hopefully never in the studio.
Goals: Hopes to be adopted by a cartoonist/children's book illustrator, his lovely wife and their other dog, Derby. DONE!
Shiny, bright candle leading the way through the darkness.Display Comments Add a Comment
This was the first Sunday "Cul de Sac" comic I inked.
Chocolatey cereal with marshmallows sounds good right now!
My stack of books to get through before the end of Summer, in no particular order.
I predict this stack will become my reading list for Summer and Fall.
My book list (from top to bottom):
"Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon
"Far Arden" by Kevin Cannon
"Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms" by Lissa Evans
"Merits of Mischief" by T. R. Burns
"Zita the Spacegirl" by Ben Hatke
"Wonderstruck" by Brian Selznick
"Amulet: The Cloud Searchers, Book 3" by Kazu Kibuishi
"Poorcraft" by C. Spike Trotman and Diana Nock
"Habibi" by Craig Thompson
"The Story of Charlotte's Web" by Michael Sims
"Baby's in Black" by Arne Bellstorf
"Friends with Boys" by Faith Erin Hicks
"Beaucoup Arlo & Janis" by Jimmy Johnson
So what are YOU reading?
P.S. Support your local bookstores and comic book shops when you can. They need your help.Display Comments Add a Comment
My cartoonist pal Richard Thompson is a lucky man.
On Friday, it was announced he is ending his comic strip, Cul de Sac, because as he put it "Parkinson's disease is horribly selfish and demanding. A daily comic strip is too and I can only deal with one at a time."
Since then, on Facebook, Twitter, every cartooning site and blog, praise has been heaped upon him as if his eulogy is being delivered by one fan and fellow cartoonist at a time.
And I say he is a lucky man because he gets to sit quietly in the back row (alive and not dead) and feel the admiration, the love and respect we all have for him.
As you may know, earlier this year, Richard asked me to help him with the inking of Cul de Sac.
I never felt inking Cul de Sac for Richard worked. It was like going into a theater to see Jerry Seinfeld do stand-up and watching Steve Martin deliver his lines.
And that's what it felt like. Every time I sat down at my drawing table to ink Cul de Sac, I could hear a narrator's voice say, "For tonight's performance, the part of Richard Thompson will be played by his understudy, Stacy Curtis."
It was tricky to ink Cul de Sac without imitating Richard's drawing style. Make it look like Cul de Sac without trying to draw like Richard Thompson. (Yeah, my brain still hurts from trying to figure that out.)
I felt the inking I did was adequate. There were no huge missteps, but at the same time, the strip which beautifully radiated from one source had been compromised by having someone else's hand in it.
For Richard, the writing, drawing and inking of the strip was all one process for him and once it wasn't, there was a disturbance in The Force.
It became apparent hiring an inker doesn't cure Parkinson's disease.
The strip went into reruns more often than not and the time came for difficult decisions to be made.
So, for my turn to stand at the podium and deliver my segment of Richard Thompson's eulogy, which really isn't a eulogy at all because Richard Thompson is still alive and far from dead, this is what I would like to say:
"Like many fans and fellow cartoonists, I will miss Cul de Sac. But Richard made the right decision. Focusing on his health now, means we will have many more years of his beautiful lines to drool over later.
I hate Parkinson's disease. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. And as often as I can find spare money in my pocket, I will continue to show my hatred of it by donating to fund research to find an end to Parkinson's disease.
Richard is amazing. As an cartoonist, he makes us want to be better cartoonists. As a writer, he leaves us in his dust and as a friend, he has brought us all together to help him fight the disease that has taken Cul de Sac away from us.
During my visit to Richard's home earlier this year, I noticed a banjo sat in the corner of his studio. As Timmy Fretwork has shown us, You can't tie down a Banjo Man.
Richard, I hope you are feeling all the admiration, love and respect we're all piling on you. Good luck with your treatments and we're rooting for you all the way."Display Comments Add a Comment