Today’s View From the Bull Pen
We have them all wrong. From constant news coverage of Jodi Arias and OJ Simpson to athletes getting mega bucks for playing a game, our sense of what is important is completely and totally screwed up. You'd think that we might have learned something from the recent events in Boston. That heroes emerge from even the most difficult of circumstances, but, no, we return to the inane and inconsequential. Amanda Knox. Film at 11.
I drew this cartoon after reading the recent story about Andrew Wiggins, supposedly the "next" LeBron James, signing a letter of intent with Kansas. While Wiggins did his best to keep his signing from becoming too much of a circus, it still carried huge weight in the 24/7 news cycle. It made me think of the number of brilliant kids who will walk across graduation stages all over our country in the next few weeks, whose names are only heard as they stride forward to get their diplomas. No newspaper columns are written or press conferences held for valedictorians or honor students, but, hey, dribble a basketball and we hear all about it. Priorities. Yeah. I'd say we have them pretty screwed up.
As always, your readership and your comments help to make the world go round, so please continue to add them. I will try to do a better job of responding.
There isn't a way to leave comments in the Bull Pen so please feel free to leave your comments under the latest cartoon that I post.
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Quotes & Quips“My marriage works because I married my best friend. (Which ticked off my fiance’.)”- Brad Montgomery, Keynote Speaker
Contrary to popular belief, the life of a cartoonist is not as cushy as one might think. It entails long hours drawing multiple concepts called roughs which then go through editors who sometimes make suggested changes before the cartoon is drawn or more roughs are requested. The process can be long and grueling especially as the clock is ticking away towards deadline . Wednesday evening, June 9, as the final minutes of the Stanley Cup Final wound down I prepared for a long night of work. I would be drawing multiple cartoons for two separate clients, ESPN.com and the Chicago Tribune, both wanting the same content: A Stanley Cup Champion cartoon. So I settled in to watch the game, which went into overtime before ending about 10 p.m Denver time
I started first drawing multiple roughs for the Tribune because they needed to see some concepts and their deadline for the Commemorative edition I was drawing for was a bit earlier than the ESPN one. A news room in the midst of a big story like the Blackhawks winning their first Cup in 49 years can best be described as controlled chaos, often times without the control part. Mike Kellams, my editor at the Trib, does an incredible job of directing traffic during times like these. After I submit 6 different roughs, we agree on a drawing to ink and paint . I finished the last detail of color about 1:15 a.m. Denver time and e-mail it. Here’s the cartoon I sent.
Next it’s onto the ESPN cartoon. I can’t use any of the roughs that I sent to the Tribune. I can’t cross-pollinate my two biggest clients and I remain aware of that fact when doing my roughs for the Tribune. I can’t use all my ideas in the first batch, which in this case isn’t a problem. The Trib is specific about what angle they want me approach the cartoon from. The process for ESPN is a little more streamlined because by this time it’s 3:30 a.m. EST which is what the clock says in the newsrooms at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. My editor at ESPN, Michael Knisley, is fast asleep by now preparing for another 12 or 14 hour day ahead of him. Michael gives me free reign to create the cartoon I think is best on late breaking stories, but always reserves the right to call me at 7 a.m to have me make a change or completely redraw if need be. So I draw a few thumbnail roughs for myself before I settle on an image I like. The image is inked and sent by e-mail to ESPN by 5:30 EST. Here’s the ESPN Result:
I’m done. But not quite. I’m bugged by the first cartoon I sent to the Trib. My experience at the Rocky tells me that people love straight forward iconic images the day after a Championship. You want Rocky Balboa stuff that can resonate, literally for decades. I want to take one more stab at an image for the Trib. I know it’s a risk. On busy nights like this one, covering a big story the work is dictated by page flow. Copy editors and page designers must keep an even amount of pages being sent to the pressroom so as not to overload the delicate process and miracle that goes into creating a daily newspaper . There’s a chance that even if I draw a new cartoon the Trib may not be able to go back into a page to sub out a new image that has already been sent to the pressroom to prepare it for print. But the deadline they gave me was 9 a.m Chicago time, so I think it’s worth rolling the dice. After more coffee and some pondering and sketching, I draw and ink this cartoon at 5:45 a.m.Denver time.
Mike Kellams, still awake as well at the Tribune, likes the image, but the page flow thing will make it tough to sub it for the previous cartoon. I’m cool with that. I gave it another shot which gives me the satisfaction that I’ve given it everything I’ve got. Time for a glass of milk, Poptarts and enjoying the seeing the sun come up before it’s off to bed at 7 a.m. Gotta be back at the drawing board by noon.
A day in the life. A brief over view of what it’s like in my world behind the drawing board.
Here’s another older one by special request. I had fun with this one. I’ve also got a new King James cartoon over on ESPN.com and be sure to check out the other oldies but goodies by scrolling down the page. I added one over the weekend.
I also made a change and added a donate to the Gulf Oil Spill relief fund, which will benefit those in the fishing industry directly affected by the horrific mess in the Gulf.
June 16, 1996
This is one of the few cartoons ever written long before I used it. It came out a conversation several of us were having in the Rocky newsroom during the Avs first run to the Stanley Cup. My good buddy, Steve Haigh, designer and copy editor extraordinaire, said the magic words “I wonder how Elway must feel about all of this?” Ding, ding, ding. The Lombardi trophy had thus far eluded Elway. This image popped in my mind almost immediately, pretty much as you see it. I was like a little kid going to the candy store, the only problem being we were about 10 days away from it opening. The Avs still needed a few more games to win it all. It was a long 10 days.
I didn’t draw it until the moment arrived doing everything I could to keep my hand steady and the image solid. The color was done in watercolor and Dr. Martins dyes because I hadn’t made the leap to Adobe’s Photoshop yet. It was one of those cartoons that struck a chord with the community, for which I’m very thankful. I love cartoons that resonate like this with people, even 14 years after the fact. Hope ya like it. I’m crossing my fingers that I will be back on a normal schedule come Monday, but if not please keep those cartoon requests coming. It’s fun to hear which ones you remember, which I’m always amazed at. I can’t recall what I drew yesterday.
Those were the days…
Count me among one of those fans who gets nostalgic for days gone by. I miss Patrick Roy. His tenacity and competitive spirit were inspiring. The Butler Bulldogs effort during the NCAA tournament reminded me why I love sports so much. I easily get caught up in the day-to-day junk mail of sports: stuff like the Tiger Woods mess, Steroids in Baseball, and dealing with the Brandon Marshall’s of the world, that I can find myself becoming jaded and cynical. So I thought this was a good cartoon to post for today. Since I have a huge backlog of material, I’ll use pieces like this from time to time, to remind us where we’ve been and why the world of sports speaks so much to the competitive hearts in us all.
Odds and Ends
I love coming here in the morning to read the comments from Gene, Sherrie, Connie Sue, Matty, Mike, Sean and all of the Drew Crewer’s who stop by daily and say Hi. It’s a great way to start my day. My schedule lately has been a blur of deadlines and postings for here, ESPN.com, Chicago Tribune, Guadalupe County Communicator and a myriad of others. I’m always trying to keep up the quality of content here and remain true to my vision as an artist and cartoonist, yet still find the balance in my own personal life. Some days are easier to achieve that than others. Yet I remain dedicated to the loyal friends I have here on the site. That said, there may be days when I need a breather day or two. I hope you’ll understand if occasionally I do that.
The NHL does it again. It takes the momentum the game achieves during the olympics turns it into something resembling the WWF. The vicious and premeditated hit on Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks by James Wisniewski of the Anaheim Ducks was beyond sickening. Just once I’d love to see a team actually file attempted murder charges against one of these goons. Or put the culprit in a game like this and sell tickets to fans for a swing. Now that’s an idea to bring down Americas Trillion dollar debt.
And on to nAvember... There's nothing more that can be said about the start the Avalanche have had so far this season. They set a franchise record last night for the number of wins in October. So this cartoon was a natural. I'm hoping the Avs can keep it up. I love drawing hockey. Stay safe out there. The snow that Colorado is enjoying is a bit slippery you know." title="Happy Hockeytober" />
And on to nAvember…
There’s nothing more that can be said about the start the Avalanche have had so far this season. They set a franchise record last night for the number of wins in October. So this cartoon was a natural. I’m hoping the Avs can keep it up. I love drawing hockey.
Stay safe out there. The snow that Colorado is enjoying is a bit slippery you know.