Q: Without totally boring us all, could you include a brief bio?
A: I grew up for the most part in Stamford, Connecticut, and got as much as one semester of college completed before going into the Air Force's Aviation Cadet program. Following my USAF stint, mostly skiing at Sun Valley (I was based at Mountain Home AFB, in Idaho) in the mid-fifties, I returned to school, graduating from the University of Colorado. Parlaying my pilot training in the USAF, I spent an eternity or so flying as an airline pilot for several small airlines and finally getting into the bigs flying both for Pan American World Airways, and, due to a fluke, transferring to United Airlines, where I ended up.
During my flying years I took painting, drawing and cartooning lessons here and there, freelancing - when time permitted - as a cartoonist, illustrator, or political cartoonist, mostly acquiring heaps of rejections slips. My first more or less permanent gig as a political cartoonist was for the weekly Lakeville (CT) Journal in the late eighties and early nineties, and then after moving to the seacoast area of New Hampshire drawing for the fortnightly New Hampshire Gazette, from 1999 until the present, where I still, in pen-and-ink, vent my ire at the nutty world we live in.
Two mentors to whom I owe much for my alleged cartooning and painting skills (such as they are) are two New Yorker stalwarts, Mort Gerberg (cartooning), and the late Arthur Getz (painting and drawing). Both fine talents and wonderful teachers.
Q: Why would I want an original versus a good copy?
A: In art galleryspeak, the original is unique, meaning it’s the genuine article, a one-of-a-kind, the ur-drawing. The original also shows any and all warts -- the pencil under-drawing lines not completely erased, the Wite-Out™ areas to correct inking mistakes, erasures, notes, dates, etc., that might be on the perimeters of the draw or on the back. Some folks like seeing the “work” that went into the the draw, and holding the real McCoy in their hands.
Q: What are the dimensions of the actual cartoons?
A: 8.5” x 11” -- practically always. That’s the standard size of computer printer paper, and that’s the paper I prefer. At two pennies per sheet, computer paper is a fabulous bargain, one of the few bargains relating to computers and printers. Plus computer paper is exceptionally ink-friendly.
Q: Where do your ideas come from?
A: Mostly from the daily newspapers (if they ever go the way of the dodo bird I'm in deep doo-doo). I seldom watch the TV news for ideas because I hate TV news, and it usually isn’t news, anyway, it’s just mindless yawp ("happy talk"). Friends and colleagues spoon feed me ideas occasionally, too, which can range from wonderful to perfectly dreadful. (I do work very closely with the Gazette's editor in order to dovetail, or try to dovetail, the cartoon with his Fortnightly Rant™.)
At other times ideas evolve and revolve and devolve in my head usually from some issue that infuriates me. Needless to say, when Bush was at the helm the opportunities for anger, wrath, high dudgeon, have been endless. So at least Bush was good for something.
Sometimes ideas just fall out of the sky -- but not nearly often enough.
Q: Why are the watercolors more expensive?
A: (1) Because a hell of a lot more work goes into them, and (2) because there can't be any mistakes, or if there are any, you have to live with them. Or at least I do.
Q: Could you explain again briefly the difference between a watercolor and a watercolor drawing?
A: (1) A watercolor drawing is essentially a drawing in ink which is colored utilizing watercolor paint, often referred to in artspeak as "wash."
(2) A watercolor, per se, is more painting than drawing -- nothing but watercolor paint is used in its production. They are also much more difficult to pull off successfully.
Q: Since George W. (W) Bush seems to have got you pretty well cranked during those long eight years, if you could ask him one question, what would you ask him?
A: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Q: Why does an original drawing usually cost $80? Isn't that a bit pricey?
A: I'd like to charge less, but each drawing -- when one factors in "thinking-up" time as well as going through several rough drafts before arriving at a usable finish -- takes three to four hours. And I feel I am worth at least the same as house painter -- cheap at $25 per hour -- so I arrived at $80 per original as a fair price. (FYI, When James Whistler was asked in court how long it took him to paint a certain painting, he answered a "lifetime." Kinda know what he meant.)
Watercolors are more expensive as they take longer and are harder to do. Trying to conquer watercolor painting, in short, ain't beanbag.
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