Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Local Cartoon # 2

Here's this week's second local cartoon (only 2 more to go!). I like this one, even though some beaches residents will not. But, hey, they choose to build there, and now choose to live there.
Mother nature stops for no one.

Here's the rough. I really enjoy it when the roughs are REALLY rough, as this one was. Nothing better than a 20 second scribble, just to get the idea down fast!

I nailed the perspective I wanted in this rough, so not much changed in the final drawing. Here it is.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First local cartoon of the week

Well, my beloved Gators are struggling. Meanwhile, the Baker County Wildcats are 8-1 and headed to the playoffs.

Here's the rough.

Originally I had the first guy grumbling over a Jaguars jersey, but they won on Sunday, so I made it an all Gator affair.

Here's the finished cartoon.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Latest on my Terrapin T-shirt design

I've refined this guy a little more, and next I'll finish out his left wing and start adding color. I'm posting these so my brother-in-law can see them and comment. Hint. Hint.

Friday, October 26, 2007 updated - All new stuff!

Just in case you're interested, there are 24 spanking new cartoons posted over at !

Most of them have probably shown up on this blog over the last month, but there may be a few that fell through the cracks.

Enjoy, and Happy Weekend!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rooody, Roooody, Rooody...!

I started to do a cartoon featuring Giuliani this week, and quickly realized that I hadn't drawn him before. I decided to do a quick caricature to bone up on his features.

Here's my first attempt.
A lot of the shading was done in Photoshop on a separate layer (but not all). There's still a significant amount of original sketch showing through here.
I'm getting ready to update - I may use this as my new header.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Character Design Project

Here's a new character I'm working on for a T-shirt design competition. It's for a marine construction company.

This is the initial info I had to go on:

"First, I'll have to give you a little history of this dredge. It was formerly named the Eagle 1 when it was owned by Bean. We took over the dredge this year (buyout) and renamed it the Terrapin Island. I was thinking of a Terrapin with eagle wings or something to please both sides. Also, we want to put Columbia River Channel Deepening and Improvements on the shirt."

Here's the first two sketches. This first one is a little more "cartoony" which I like. The second one is more straight forward, but incorporates the island, and shows the turtle in flight. I think on the third version I'll try to keep the animal in flight, but make the character, more of a "character" - more cartoony.

I've got to think about the positioning of the figurative elements, and whether or not it's going on the back of the t-shirt or on the pocket. I know I want to make this a very proud figure with big, powerful, hulking elements (like a dredge).

Another local cartoon

Sometimes, when I'm really pushed for time, and I have no choice, I'll just ink my cartoon directly to paper. No rough, no pencil drawing, just straight onto white. Now for a cartoonist, this is the visual equivalent of jumping off a high dive into a pool in the middle of the night. That's what i did for this one - GERONIMO! It can be scary. Anyway, there's been a rash of car burglaries at our area beaches lately, and come to find out the majority were into unlocked cars. This was the last cartoon for yesterday's batch and it was done at 4:30 - thirty minutes before deadline. I think it worked out OK, but my editor did give me some grief about dating myself with that style of door lock! LOL

All politics is local

I like it when a local idea morphs into something that can be read nationally (or vice versa). Such was the case with this cartoon, which started life as a local cartoon, and then changed (geographically) into a topic more national in scope. The first use of this image had the kid labeled "sprawl," and this worked for one area of NE Florida where growth seems to be proceeding unabated into the future (Baker County is growing like crazy, and some are against too much growth, too soon). Somewhere along the line, I began to think about the current "adjustments" in rates on adjustable rate mortgages, so you get the image posted here. And that's great, because I can also use it for my syndicated cartoon.

Here's the rough. This will show it as originally drawn. I added the background and night sky on a separate layer, from a separate drawing. I kept it kinda loose and sketchy which I like, and allowed me to work back into it on the Wacom tablet.

Here's the final cartoon as it went to the syndicate. I made the kids eyes a little more sinister to reflect that "bill collector" attitude. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Editorial Cartoons - - - oh yeah, those...

Here's one for my syndicate this week. I like the way this came out. I actually laid one of my suits out on the floor to sketch this one. Hey, those suits have to get used "some" way other than funerals and weddings!

Here's the rough. Didn't change much.

And the finished cartoon. This idea came from reading an article on how the Pentagon is outsourcing intelligence gathering. Let me say that one more time...The Pentagon is outsourcing intelligence gathering.

Here's the finished drawing.

Crab Shell Helmet Head

Huh? It's just the start of another developing character. I wanted somehow incorporate that crab shell from brunch a couple of days ago (see below) into an illustration. Here's the first sketches in that direction. I also wanted to take a second to highlight my new Moleskine. What a GREAT sketchbook! I love it. I still haven't decided whether I want this helmet to sit atop his head or if he'll be looking through the original eye holes that the crab used. Either way, I'm kinda excited to see where this one goes.


One other thing that I've invested in lately is a new digital camera. These images were taken with that. A Canon PowerShot SD750. I've just started using it, but so far, what an awesome piece of equipment! It also shoots video, so that should improve as well.

The Moleskine sketchbook has a nifty little pocket built into the back to store loose sketches, etc. And the elastic band keeps junk from falling out. Really nice.

Well, that didn't work...

After a week of posting my new feature "Weekly Hot Topic," I got only (1) response (and it was mine), so I'm officially REMOVING it from this blog. That was totally weak! Not one vote! I'm not sure if people think that these poll results somehow go into some massive online data base to be mined at a later date or what, but not ONE response??? Come on people! I know you're coming here, so participate!

Anyway, more later.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Sketchin' at the Restaurant

Here's something that caught my eye over the weekend, and I think I might try to incorporate it into my next character design. This shell was pretty cool looking, and I thought it would make a really spiffy warrior's helmet with the spikes and all. We'll see. I took a few photos and then sketched it for 3-dimensionality.


Here's the sketches first. I find it interesting that whenever I see something I want to sketch, I never seem to have a sketchbook around. I borrowed some sheets from my friend's "Things to do" notebook and drew on the back. Then I immediately went out and bought a Moleskine sketchbook; the perfect size for making these little doodles. If you're an artist, and you don't know what a Moleskine is, you might want to try one out sometime. They are VERY well made to exacting specifications and come in all different sizes, styles and paper weights. Not only that, but they are available at Barnes & Noble. Now let's see if I remember to take it along with me next time!


Here's the photos. Mmmmm....Blue Crabs....tasty! I think what made me think of using this as a helmet was how the top looks like the top of a skull, with it's undulations and imperfections, cracks and lumps. Interesting.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Feature at the Halltoons Weblog!

In an attempt to judge the temperament of the country, I'll be posting a weekly list of topics at the top of this blog starting today. I'm going to use this as a simple barometer to get reader's sentiments. This poll will NOT be used to get "ideas" for cartoons per-se, but just to get some idea about what people are talking about around the water coolers of America (and beyond). It will give YOU a chance to tell me what YOU think is important and going on in the world right now, and it'll probably have an effect on the topics I pick to illustrate for the week. Let your voice be heard. VOTE!


Friday, October 19, 2007

The gloves are off...

Told you I saved the best for Fridays!


Here's the rough. The wording changed a bit, as did the scale of the subjects, but the message is still the same (tough, I hope).

And here's the finished cartoon. I REALLY enjoyed doing this one.

Happy weekend, and nevermind that "clicking" sound on your phones....

Bush Nicknames

While researching for an upcoming cartoon, I found this interesting list.
Some of these are very telling, and some are just plain stupid.


Nicknames Given By President Bush to Friends and Foes

Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff: "Boy Genius" and "Turd Blossom"
Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state: "Guru"
Karen Hughes, adviser: "Lima Green Bean" and "High Prophet"
Dick Cheney, vice president: "Big Time"
Andrew Card, chief of staff: "Tangent Man"
Vladimir Putin: "Pootie-Poot" and "Ostrich Legs"
Tony Blair, British prime minister: "Landslide"
Jean Chr├ętien, ex-Canadian prime minister: "Dino" (short for “Dinosaur”)
Former President Bush: "41"
Barbara Bush: "No. 1"
First Lady Laura Bush: "Bushie" and "First"
Donald Rumsfeld, defense secretary: "Rummy"
Colin Powell, ex-secretary of state: "Baloonfoot"
Michael Brown, ex-FEMA director: "Brownie"
Paul O’Neill, ex-Treasury secretary: "Big O"
George Tenet, ex-CIA director: "Brother George"
Mitch Daniels, ex-budget director: "The Blade"
Lawrence Lindsey, ex-economic adviser: "Thunderbolt"
Michael Gerson, ex-speechwriter: "The Scribe"
Rob Portman, budget director: "Robby Bobby"
Rep. Dennis Hastert, speaker of the House (R-IL): "Speak"
Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN): "Fristy" Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): "Hogan"
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): "Ali"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): "Frazier"
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): "Corndog"
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME): "The Big O"
Rep. Peter King (R-NY): "Pedro"Rep.
Barney Frank (D-MA): "Saber Tooth"
Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist: "The Cobra"
George Will, Newsweek columnist: "The Commissioner"
Candy Crowley, CNN correspondent: "Dolce" (Spanish for Candy)
Dick Keil, Bloomberg News reporter: "Stretch"
Bill Sammon, Washington Times reporter: "Superstretch"

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore

It's happening all over the country. Those adjustable rate mortgages are, well... adjusting. I seem to be getting more and more of my news from the financial sections these days. I'm not sure if that's a bad omen or not, but things do seem a little tenuous lately.

Here's the rough:

And here's the finished cartoon. The rough was pretty rough, but the idea was so strong in my mind that I didn't need much to go on. The shadow on the ground really helped to add to the sense of impending doom in the cartoon; linking the (2) main players. But this is more of a compositional enhancement than anything else.
I have one more national cartoon to do for the week, so stay tooned!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Local, local, local

A whole lotta regional stuff this week. Here's my fourth local cartoon in the last three days. Actually it's my fifth, but since one was a recycle, technically it's my fourth. Anyhoo, I wanted to do a Halloween themed "local" cartoon, and this one focuses on all of the phobias floating around St. Johns County right now. My good buddy Clay Jones is creating a list of Halloween themed cartoons over on his blog, but because this one is local, and he never reads any of this, he'll miss it.
Here's the background stories:

1). A Red Tide (Algae Bloom) has swept onto our area beaches. You can't even get close to the ocean without sneezing & hacking. It's killing fish and making people very ill.

2). The City Commission is now on it's 4th attempt to create Adult Entertainment Zones within the city limits. Needless to say, it's having trouble making everyone happy with the locations.

3). And, the homeless problem continues to plague city officials, merchants and residents.

Here's the rough. I added some dead fish in the bucket on his head, and a neon XXX sign hanging from the lamp post. Other than that it stayed pretty much the same. I also like the fact that he's wearing fishnets and heels...snuck that one in there...tee hee...

Oh, I also eliminated the sign hanging around his neck. I find when you have too much writing in a cartoon, it forces the viewer's eye to have to jump around too much. It can get distracting, so I always try to take out as much superfluous stuff as possible.

Here's the finished cartoon. I kinda like it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another local toon

Here's one I enjoyed doing because I was able to incorporate some straight human anatomy into the cartoon. I also liked the falling action of the figure, which I acheived by separating the board form the body a bit and adding some action lines. The other little guy pointing up at him also gives some scale to the environment, making him seem like he's up really high.

Here's the rough:

As for the story behind this cartoon - it seems that there is a ratio of about 1:20 skaters wearing helmets at this local skate park. Seems to me that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. The county better wise up quick and do more than just post some outdated signs.

Here's the finished cartoon:

Monday, October 15, 2007

First local cartoon of the week

Here's my first local cartoon of the week. Seems a rumor was being spread around the county last week, that (thankfully) turned out to be totally false. It was one of those deals where you tell one person at the end of the line something and by the time it reaches the other end of the line it's totally different. I thought about using a "Misread Smoke Signal" theme at first, but decided that the "Lassie says Timmy Fell Down A Well" theme was funnier.

Here's the background story:

Here's the rough:

I really struggled with the wording of this one. I wanted to make sure that the emphasis was on the erroneous quality of gossip. In the end I decided to just let the guy figure out what the dog was saying on his own; with no final word from the dog.

And, here's the finished cartoon:

Roughing in the color

Day 2 of working on my latest character, and here's the first run at roughing in the color. It will be tightened up much more in the next stage, and more drawing refinements will be made. A few more decisions were also made in terms of what this character would look like. I positioned his body so that you could see more of his military field equipment (canteen, packs, etc.) and gave him human arms and hands. Looks like the only thing that's still "hog" is the head. I wanted to maintain a short stubby body style also. More to come.

*Note to self: White smoke from muzzle of gun - giving that "just fired" effect.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Character development process

A few people have mentioned that they might like to see the process that goes into developing a character, so here goes... I knew I wanted my next character to be a wart hog. I tend to pick the overlooked animals as favorites - the ones nobody likes, or that people see as "trash" animals. First the goat, now a wart hog. Anyway, I started like last time sketching some wart hogs from random photos; combining elements of some with others - poses, lighting, different horns, tusks, etc. Then I picked a couple to start developing a personality from.


My first attempts were kinda static and stoic, which I think worked for the goat because he was so regal and all. This guy was just kind of standing there, not doing anything of any real importance.

Wart hogs tend to move around a lot more; rooting in the mud, and running from predators (more on that later), so I knew that I wanted this illustration to be more dynamic and moving - some action throw in. I decided to do some thumbnails, which really help when trying to decide on things such as composition, movement, placement of figures, etc. Here's what I came up with.

I got a lot of ideas during the thumbnail stage. It affords great opportunities to make adjustments and to make discoveries about what you're really trying to say. I decided that what I really wanted to do with this hog was to make him a WWII infantry-type; being chased through the battle field by the enemy, or shot at while running through some heavy mud. Something like that. I also decided that he would be carrying a side arm (probably a pearl handled .45), and kind of rushing forward like maybe a forward charge. From these thumbnails, I picked one to develop, and started with that.

Here's the first one from that stage. I liked it, but the legs weren't just right, so I worked up a few more before I was satisfied with the anatomy, and the over-all form of the figure. Another interesting thing that developed with this drawing was the skull of one of his fallen comrades at his feet.


I did one more slightly larger sketch before I went to a more finished drawing. As I said, I probably had the most trouble getting the running legs correct, and the positioning of the .45 to look like he is holding that gun.

Here's the final one. I'll now scan this into Photoshop and combine it with some of the details of the earlier drawings, and start to work up the color on layers. More to come. Stay tooned.

(Notes to self: Give him some "Hog" tags, make fired shots more horizontal, copy fallen skull over to this image)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Goat Boy

I think this is finally finished. Enjoy, and stay tooned for my next character!

Happy weekend.


Last syndicate cartoon of the week

I wanted to find a new take on Bush's "We don't torture" statement from last week. It seems that this administration has taken stretching the truth to a whole new level with these latest statements, so this idea was obvious to me.


Here's the rough.

And here's the finished cartoon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All you Hillary fans, hide your eyes

First Syndicated cartoon of the week. I told you I save all my spit for Thursdays & Fridays!

Here's the rough. Originally I just had "Democracy" on one side and "Socialism" on the other. For history's sake I've included the important influences. Here's an MSNBC article that sparked this cartoon; although I've been considering doing something on this for quite some time:

Her graduate thesis, which was sealed during Bill's Presidency, is now available for all to read (FYI, Alinsky is mentioned on every single page).

Here's the finished cartoon. I used busts of Jefferson and Alinsky. More effective I think. I was also going to flip this image to make it appear she's leaning "left," then I realized that she IS leaning to HER left, so I left it alone. BTW, if you don't know who Saul Alinsky is, and you're planning on voting for Hillary, you might want to Google him. He's had a direct influence on both top Democratic candidates.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Goat Warrior III

Here's the latest stage (I think it's # 24). I've been saving as I go, so as not to lose anything I might want to go back to. I'm really happy with this rendering, and I intend to create even more of these "warrior-type" characters. I learned a bunch about Photoshop in doing this.

Still a few more tweeks to make - not real happy with his left hand yet. I'll probably adjust that, and then it'll be finished.
Wouldn't want to run into this guy down on the ol' farm!



Another local cartoon

Here's one where I really enjoyed skewering the local politicos. Seems that the St. Augustine City Commissioners are attempting to redefine what art is. No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were. There is a lady who wants to sell her beautiful art quilts in the Plaza in St. Augustine, but under the city guidelines her work doesn't qualify as "art." Last time I checked, woven tapestries from the Louvre to the Getty Museum were considered art. So now they're issuing fines (and arresting some people) if their work doesn't fall within these Nazi-esque guidelines. Here's the rough.

And here's the finished cartoon. Nothing much changed in the finished drawing. I felt so strongly about this subject, it was really immediate and concise. I hope this one gets letters. As I consider myself an artist, it's near and dear to my heart.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

He's one baaaaaad goat...

All hail the Goat Warrior! Here's stage 18 of this rendering. I've added some weaponry and I've tweeked the saturation of the color a bit. It's turning into more work than I had originally intended, but I am learning a lot. I'll keep posting as he progresses.

Character Development

Seeing as my Preston Blair Assignments have stalled a bit (more on that later), I've decided to work on some character development, and at the same time brush up on my Photoshop rendering skills. You saw the rat I did last week? Well, here's something a little more advanced - I call him "Goat Warrior." I found this really cool photo of a goat from the zoo, and I knew I wanted to do something with it. He just seemed so regal and proud (for a goat). Most of the color and texture is being built up with layers in Photoshop. I'm scanning leather objects for his uniform and building up custom layers. These can be saved for later use in my Photoshop gallery folders. I'm also scanning my own hair (yes, I'm putting my head in the scanner!) to get the "feel" of real goat hair. This is also placed in on a separate layer. I wanted to post my stages of development here, so I can keep an eye on how the image is progressing. I would say this is about 45% done. I'll post goat boy again as he gets a little further along.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Not in my backyard!

Here's my take on a recent dust-up over a proposed 500 bed jail to be built adjacent to (2) subdivisions and an elementary school in downtown Macclenny. Needless to say, the residents aren't too keen on this idea. It didn't help that during the last LPA (Land Planning Agency) meeting one of the Agency members told the residents they were being too "emotional" on this subject. Yeah, that's gonna go over REAL well...

Anyhoo, here's the rough:

And here's the finished drawing. I decided to change the lady's name to "Betty," a nice southern name (*Cartooning FYI: "Gladys" doesn't look like an immediately recognizable name in type). I also took out the thug's name all together. It was distracting, and too ethnic. I really wanted this guy to seem like he could be black or white. One other thing you might notice is my note to myself to make sure I remembered to make her wig fly off!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Photoshop 101

I had some extra time today, so I decided to practice my Photoshop skills a little. I really enjoyed rendering this. Nothing was scanned for this drawing. Everything you see was drawn directly on the computer. The trick is to try to make it look like it was done outside of the computer. I'm experimenting more with layers now. For his ears, I used a scan of the skin on my hand (and then turned it into a texture) to get the wrinkles and the fleshy color. For his fur I did the same thing using a scan of a furry duster we had laying around. I then tinted the fur to get the rat fur color correct.

Don't know why I drew a rat. I guess I was just in a "ratty" mood.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

One more local

We've had a lot of rain here in NE Florida over the last few days. We like to call these kind of showers "frog-stranglers," so of course I had to put a frog in the cartoon! Anyway, an area close to where I grew up (which I KNOW used to be a swamp because I hunted and played in it as a kid), flooded yesterday. Everyone was like "we don't understand," "How can this happen?" Well, I'll tell you how. When you build a massive subdivision in the middle of an old swamp, you're gonna get flooding. This one was so obvious, I didn't even do a rough for it - just went straight to ink on paper. Here it is.

Lotsa Local Stuff

Here's the first of a few local cartoons I'll be posting today. This one deals with the Port Authority decision to allow cruise ships to dock in the historic shrimping town of Mayport, Florida. For years, a little, quaint fishing town, with a 2-lane blacktop road. They seem to think that docking giant 4-story ships here will have little effect on the small town feel. Yeah right.

The rough:

As you can see, I originally just had a cruise ship bombing Mayport. Adding "Port Authority" to the side of the ship and adding a little dialogue beefed it up.

Here's the finished cartoon. My editor seems to think we'll get letters on this one, as everyone from the top down thinks this is just a great idea. I, for one, will miss the days of driving out to Mayport for that sea-town smell and the freshest seafood in NE Florida.