A collection of doodles with a bit of commentary by RICK GREEN - your cartooning friend

Monday, March 31, 2008

Shelly's Gift & Some Difficult Lessons Learned

There's a first time for everything. For the very first time I drew a caricature that someone did not like, and had to start it all over again. What's worst, it was all my fault.

Shelly wanted a birthday gift for her husband Ian, a drawing which featured him, and included the rest of the family. Ian is British and he has a love for sailing. So, I thought, clever man that I am, "I will illustrate Ian in a old British Naval uniform" - kind of "Captain Blye" like.

So, I drew him at the bow of a mighty vessel, with the family as the crew and sent it to Shelly.

My mistake was to take the illustration in such a dramatic direction without consulting Shelly. And I really do feel bad for her, having to contact some guy in Oregon she didn't know, and tell him that she didn't like the illustration. She just knew that her husband wouldn't like it, and that he would wonder why he's depicted as a Naval officer, having never been in the Navy.

There was nothing else I could do - I had to stand by my motto of aiming to please, and my reputation was on the line. So, with pencil in hand I start all over again, this time drawing Ian with a navigational chart in hand. I got lucky with that one. She said that was his job in his sailing crew.

After mailing her a sketch of an update of the illustration, and then, with a few more e-mails back and forth, Shelly was happy with the drawing and I was done - I thought.

The story doesn't end there... Last week I got an e-mail inquiring as to where the illustration was. Shelly politely pointed out that Ian's birthday was in just a few days and she had not seen the drawing in the mail yet, and that if she didn't see it by the next day she was going to begin panicking. When I saw the e-mail, I panicked right away. "The thing is lost in the mail,"?" I thought. "Now how will I ever get another one done for her on time?" To be sure, I check my stack of illustrations in my home office and THERE IT WAS! (I didn't cuss, but I wanted to.) I had not mailed the thing in the first place! I was really panicking then, and I knew that Shelly must be thinking "This guy is one big goof ball."

Boy, did I HATE replying to her e-mail and telling her that I hadn't ever sent the thing in the first place. Fortunately, Shelly is a very gracious soul. And more fortunately there was still time to express mail the illustration to her before the big day. I felt so bad about my mistake that I even sent her the rejected illustration too - a little bonus gift for all the worry that I had put her through.

I was NEVER so relieve as to when I learned that there was still time to get it to her, and just about as relieve to get the message that she had the illustration in hand and in plenty of time.

This morning I received this photo and this report from Shelly: "Thanks Rick! Your illustration was a hit! Ian was really surprised and pleased with the gift. And thanks for sending the “reject” as my son was happy he got to have his very own picture too (may have to have you do one for him one of these days! LOL). I’ve attached a photo of Ian’s response…had to get creative as my son’s shirtless body got in the photo too! LOL Thanks for helping to make Ian’s 40th a memorable one. BTW, had dinner that night with some of his sailing buddies and they loved the gift too – they all thought it was great and really got a kick out of the Can’t Can’t Un mockery. :o) Shelly"

Shelly, I can't tell you how happy I am that you got the drawing, that your husband liked it, along with his sailing buddies. I am more surprised to read that you would ever consider using my services again. I learned a lot from this particular project. Thank you for showing kindness to this aging artist.

In an additional note: I feel like I'm a little off my game lately. On all four of the most recent drawings I've done there has been something that the "customer" wasn't quite happy with. So, I had to go back to the drawing board with them. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. It sure has slowed me down, but I promise to carry on.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Want To Be A Rock Star!

Jennifer wrote me and asked about a caricature of her fiancé, Carlos. She said that he is big into caricatures and now he always gets one done when they go on vacation. She sent me this copy of his all time favorite caricature. So the challenge for me was on. I knew it would be tough. How was I going to compete with the mouse?

One of the photos she e-mailed was the above photo of Carlos. I asked if he was into the video game Guitar Hero. She told me that they had the game Rock Band which is made for PS3, and that he loves it. So, I went to the internet and found some of the art for Rock Band and put Carlos in the middle of it.

When I sent it to her she didn't seem quite sure as to whether he would like it or not, (The pressure was mounting) and so I asked if adding a goteé, which he had in some of the photos she sent, would help. She thought it might and so I added the facial hair.

Here is the final product. To tell you the truth, I haven't heard what the response was. I think it's a gift yet to be opened. So you tell me. Does the mouse win?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Some Sheep Bite

I should post a drawing of a deranged Easter bunny or some- thing, but again, very busy this time of year.

Instead, I offer this illustration which I drew sometime ago. I've been reluctant to post it because this is merely a photograph of the drawing and not a good one at that. Also, once again, I've managed to edit the living daylights out of it, but you get the concept.

If you've ever been in a position of leadership you can appreciate the sentiment behind this drawing. There are always a few in the flock that won't appreciate your "directive care."

You may have a friend that would appreciate this illustration - feel free to share.

Happy Easter. Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Family Practice - Neutral Party

Here's are two more installments of my Family Practice cartoon strip. My idea for the strip was to give Roy, the husband/father, of the strip a career as a family counselor. I thought that this would provide many opportunities to explore humor outside of the main character's family. These two are some of the very few that I drew for submission to the various cartoon gods syndicates for publication.

In honor of "March Madness" I present these two for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Amber's Vision

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I had wanted to drawing something appropriate to commemorate the day, but I just couldn't find the time. Weekends are generally busy times for me.

Instead, I'll show you the interesting challenge that Amber presented me. She wrote, "I have been visiting your blog, and I love your work."

(Nice of you to say Amber - thank you very much.)

"I have a Charles Bukowski quote that I would love to create into a drawing. Here it is:'But as God said, crossing his legs. I see where I have made plenty of poets but not so very much poetry.'"

Amber had a definite idea in mind for what she wanted in the illustration. She said, "I kind of envisioned for God; long flowing hair, robe, beard, etc. I was thinking of Him in a rocking chair in some clouds and then some breaking clouds where He can look down. Then maybe the lower half could be a city scape with people walking and a couple benches with people sitting down and writing."

So, Amber had the concept. All I had to do was put it on paper. I went to the web for some ideas for drawing a city scape, and I drew some inspiration from the works of Robert Crumb.

I spent a great deal of time on this drawing. I wanted to get it just right. I feel very good about how the drawing turned out - quite proud as a matter of fact. Amber said it"looks awesome!" I guess that's what really matters.

Thanks Amber for trusting me with your vision. I really enjoyed creating it for you.

P.S. Green is my favorite color too.

Friday, March 14, 2008

When You Gotta' Go...

I get a lot of different kinds of request from the various readers of this blog, but none has been more "different" than the one I received from Carolyn not long ago.

She wrote, "I am interested in a picture of a cartoon elk dressed in camouflage, squatting down with his pants pulled down, getting ready to take a dump."

Yes, that's right boys and girls. You saw it here first. Carolyn wanted an illustration of... "nature answering nature's call."

Now, while it's not the kind of cartoon that I'm forwarding to my Mom for her viewing pleasure, I am happy with the way the illustration turned out. Thank goodness Carolyn said that I didn't actually have to draw in the... well... umm..., let's just call it... "the dirty deed." I guess the position of the elk's repose speaks volumes enough.

Now you're asking, "Why would Carolyn want such a drawing." I was curios about that myself, but unfortunately I am sworn to secrecy. Maybe she will feel free to give explanation herself here, but, as for me, I will have to leave it to your dirty creative minds to guess as to why a woman, who describes herself as the grandmotherly type, would want me to draw a dignified animal caught in a less than dignified situation.

Any guesses?

P.S. This is not the first time that I've drawn an elk. Go here, and here, to make an informed comparison of my work with the creature.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pop Pop's Posse

Steph contacted me about doing an illustration for her Father-In-Law's birthday. She said that he is a retired New York State trooper, and that she wanted an illustration which included all of his grandchildren. Since a law enforcement theme was in order I first thought of putting the kids on a chain gang with grandpa holding a shot gun or something. But we thought better of turning the kids into criminals. (Though they might be the type - I don't know them.)

So! I came up with the idea of turning the whole chain gang lot of them into Keystone Cops.

Pop Pop turns 70 today, March 11th. Assuming you're not one of those he's pulled over, why don't you wish him a happy birthday and many happy years with his posse.

I really like how this illustration turned out - a fun and happy drawing. What do you think?

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Photos From the Pacific Coast

Thanks to everyone that left a comment for my sister on the previous post. She told me that she cried while reading the post - probably at the point where she saw the photo of her husband and me.

I'm beginning to feel sick today. I got it from my wife, and knowing what she's gone through to fight this bug I'm not looking forward to it.

Anyway, instead of a doodle, just a simple entry of some more of my photos today - all from places close to where I live. Feel free to download and enjoy. I would just love a comment if you do.(It might make me feel better.)

In the order of their appearance: 1. Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, CA. 2. My youngest at Harris Beach, OR 3. "Seastacks" near Pistol River, OR 4. By the mouth of the Chetco River in Brookings, OR 5. The (late) Mary D. Hume, Gold Beach, OR

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How High Will Gas Prices Go?

I drew this little doodle not long ago for the
local paper. It seems appropriate to publish it again now.

How high do YOU think that gas prices will go?

P.S. Feel free to share this one with friends and family. Yes, I admit that this is a ploy to get other people to visit my blog. But what could it hurt?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Preschooler's Idol

Stacey, Stacey, Stacey, you done got yourself all growed up!

This, as you might guess, is Stacey. We've know her for a long time -- from our Southern California days. We use to live in the same neighborhood. She hung out with our daughters, and even went to our church. Now Stacey is all married and has become a preschool teacher. Ain't she cute?

Stacey said that she wanted an illustration of herself singing, like in American Idol. Only she said that she's only brave enough to sing to her preschoolers. It was her suggestion that I add the Simon Cowell child. The dialogue was all mine. I think that I'm most proud of the "American Preschool" lettering. I did it free hand.

Also, this illustration has a lot of little things that are added, including you know who. See what you can find.

I had a lot of funny drawing this for you Stacey. Stay in touch and tell your hubby to take good care of you. You're practically family.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gail's FIL - Three Times No Less!!

This is a long tale to tell, but it must be told to fully appreciate the effort it took to get this next illustration done. If you're the kind that likes to just look at pictures then go ahead, but I warn you, there could be a test on this material later.

I've been doing a few RE-request from people that have already received an illustration from me. Gail, my English friend - the Proper Writer , is one of those. Not long ago she requested an illustration of her Father-In-Law (FIL) to give to him as a birthday present. She wrote that he is a retired dentist and she added that, "He didn't have a lot of sympathy for those in pain, but was very well thought of by his patients, and the children loved him!"

Now I don't know about you, but the LAST thing I want from MY dentist is a lack of sympathy. Apparently, though, he was able to"pull it off" (pun intended), because there are still enough people around liking him well enough to continue celebrating his birthday.

Gail also said that he use to sing hymns to his patients while working on them. She wanted me to illustrate him singing a verse from "Love Divine All Loves Excelling."

I really wanted to get this illustration done right, because as you know if you've spent sometime on my blog, I am a man of faith, and so I have great respect for a guy like Gail's FIL.

So on my FIRST attempt at drawing Gail's FIL I took great care in making the words of the hymn an interesting part of the illustration -- not just a few words in a bubble. I decided to vary the font style in the song so that I could give special emphasis to some of the words. But, alas, as I have been know to do in the past, I focused so much on the art, that I ended dropping a word out of the hymn; leaving myself no room to squeeze it into the drawing. And I nearly had the whole thing inked in too.

So, I just flipped the paper over and started all over again. This time I got my wife to help me make sure it was all correct before I started to ink it in. Here is my second attempt, and the FIRST piece that I sent to Gail... all the waaaay over in Jolly O' England. Yes, I said "first." Because the story does not end there.

Each time I mail one of my drawings I try to take great care to package it right. I put them in a plastic sleeve, with some kind of stiff backing to give it some rigidity. This time I use a piece of foam-board, which I thought would give it the durability it needed to make the trip. Plus! I always make sure that the Post Office stamps "DO NOT BEND" right on the front.

Well, you know where this story is headed. The illustration made it all the way to Gail's door, but not without some damage. Gail, (reluctantly I might add), wrote me and said that the drawing had arrived, only it had gotten folded. In fact, it was folded right over where it was stamped, "DO NOT BEND." Interesting. One wonders if some postal worker was having a bad day and decided to take it out on my envelope. In other words, somebody went postal on my postage.

Gail sent me these photos of the damage. The drawing was folded so badly that she was unable to get the crease out.

Now, I know what you're wanting to ask me right at this moment. "Did you insure it?" The answer is, of course, no. Rather than spend the extra money I always think, "Hey, I can always draw another one." I think also the concept of, "It will never happen to me" plays in here. Besides, even if I had insured it, that still would mean that all Gail had in hand was a damaged illustration, leaving her without a proper (there's that word again Gail) gift for her FIL. AND the clock was ticking! This was already a rush job, and I wanted to have the gift there in time for his special day.

As I've said before, I aim to please. So for the THIRD TIME! I sat down to draw Gail's FIL -- again. By this time I am getting very familiar with his face. (Not that it was painful to do so, or anything.)

Part of the joy I have in creating all these caricatures is the challenge that each one presents to me -- trying to illustrate all the varied scenarios that people request. So it's not as much fun to draw the same thing THREE TIMES! Therefore I had to try and make this one better, if not just a little bit better.

Here then is the THIRD drawing of Mr. Dentist FIL. What do you think? Which one do you like the best? (Maybe you shouldn't answer that after I just wrote that I tried to do a better job on the second one. Oh, go ahead. I can take it - I think.)

This time I purchased a tube to send the caricature in. Apparently it worked. Although Gail said she had to give the tube a "Jedi-light-saber twist of the wrist" to get the drawing to come out of the thing.

But! the story does not end there. While the final version made it the English Gail's door before FIL's birthday, she decided to go ahead and give him the other one early. Apparently no one else was bringing a gift to the main party and they thought it more proper to present their gift at a private family dinner ahead of time.

All that effort to get the thing there on time and she sitll gives him the damaged one! Oh well, I forgive you Gail. But it's a good thing that your Jedi trick didn't wreck the third one, or you would have been on you own there kid-o! (But then you probably wouldn't think that I'm so "FAB: after all - would you?)

This is why you see here a photo of FIL holding the damaged piece in a frame. She said that she was going to sneak in the newest version into the frame when he wasn't looking. (I'll be insulted if he doesn't notice.)

When he saw it Gail wrote, "After a few moments of silence he and MIL burst out laughing. They both thought it was excellent. Pity that now after almost 60 years of being a slave to his razor, FIL has rebelled and is growing a beard. Well they do say you start going back to your childhood, I think he's now at the teenager stage!”

(Now go back and read that last paragraph with your best British accent in mind. It's a lot more fun to read.)

So that's my sad tale. Thanks for sticking around long enough to read it all the way through. And thank you AGAIN Gail (I think you're FAB) for trusting me to create a special expression of your love for this man. Give him my birthday greetings, and tell him... tell him... umm... Tell him that I'll NEVER sit in his dentist chair. No "unsympathetic" tooth driller is going to touch these pearly whites (OK, off-whites) of mine! Even if he's singing a hymn to me while he's doing his work.

That's it!

The End

No test

Good bye for now.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Two Countries, Two Hearts = One Family

Whenever I open my e-mail I never know what kind of request I may be getting. I've had a couple of different ones of late. This is one of them.

Chana wrote me and said, "I am adopting from Vietnam and am wanting my blog design to reflect this. This is what image I am wanting: 2 heart shaped flags - one of the USA, one of Vietnam. I'd like the flags to sort of overlap, with the Vietnam flag in the front. I'd then like twine (string, thread, whatever) to 'wrap' them together. From the twine I'd like 4 tags hanging from them. On each tag I'd like a different name ... Jordan, Mama, Emercyn, Arityn."

This was certainly different from the usual caricature request that I normally get, but it seemed simple enough.

I first sketched it out this drawing (during a meeting) and sent it to her.

Then, with her approval, I put together this illustrat- ion.

Now you know that I'm bragging when I share with what Chana wrote after seeing this drawing. She said, "I cannot even begin to tell you how impressed I am. I am in tears. This means so much to me." Did you read that? Tears! She said that she was "in tears!!" Now, mind you, this is not the first time that my work has made someone cry, but it wasn't because they were happy with what they saw it.

Thank you Chana for your kind words, and for trusting me with creating something that is obviously very important to you.

I haven't got a blog address for Chana's site yet. I think that it is still in the developmental stage. When I get an address I will be sure to put a link on my list of sites using my work so that you can see how she put the drawing to work.