October 2016 CNW Meeting Review – Dan McConnell
by Dan McConnell, edited by Charlotte Silva
Cartoonists Northwest invited me to present a program on what I do in the world of cartooning and graphic arts. Here’s a synopsis of what you missed without the waiting between fleeting three second images from a thumb drive to a projector supplied by CNW Founding Mother, Maureen VanderPas:
I was an evening baby, born in Chelan, WA at 8:23pm in the local hospital. At about 4 years of age, I started drawing on big sheets of butcher paper, the same kind that the Artist & Craftsman Supply put on our tables, thanks ACS manager Chris. I consider those early drawings cartoons. I think that before we become artists, we are natural born cartoonists… not to say that cartoons aren’t in the same class as “Fine Art”. Let’s just say you can become more accomplished in your drawn depictions if you pursue the disciplines and techniques in “Fine Art”. The subject matter of my cartoons was Cowboys and Indians…I think the Indians, Native Americans, America’s indigenous people, usually won. I was partial to tomahawks, bows, arrows and knifes; much more so than rifles and hand guns. I would draw battles between the two clans with gunshots zipping across a valley and arrows and tomahawks zipping back. We didn’t have TV in our house at the time, but I would run down to my neighbor’s house on Saturdays (his dad ran the Safeway, so they had more money than us) and watch their TV; Hopalong Cassidy, Cisco Kid, Wild Bill Hickok and more. So my cartoons depicted certain aspects of those TV shows even though we didn’t have a TV set in our house.
The files on my thumb drive presentation consisted of:
- Advertising jobs, local Wenatchee advertisers and magazines, caricatures for Artizans, an online caricature and cartoon seller from Canada plus cartoons I’ve done for local papers,
- Cartoons, starting with Apple Andy, who came to life in 1980 and had a 20 year weekly run in the Cashmere Valley Record and the Leavenworth Echo and sometimes in the Chelan Mirror and the Quincy Valley Post Register,
- Online cartoons for MoreOnTV.com and for Richard Champion, Comic Books including Zombies of Liberty, Terminator Granny, Jackrabbit Hunt, Probe 7, a 24 hour comic book and a brief glimpse of one of my inking jobs for Marvel Comics. I worked out of my house, via Fed Ex, as an inker for their Custom Comics division from 1990 and 1994.
- There was some “Fine Art”. I’ve painted watercolors, oils, acrylics, woodblock prints and monotype prints for years. I started doing watercolors right out of college in 1972. I graduated from Central Washington University, when it was still a state college, with a Broad Area Art Major.
I’ve submitted several comic strips to the syndicates through the years starting with Apple Andy (too regional and specific) Wralph the Werewolf, Alien Bob and Shrub, another Alien that got notice from the syndicate I sent it to… they said, “We now have you on our radar.” Hmmm.
My latest submission is Off-Kilter, which is a re-working of my ten-a-week submissions to the New Yorker, which I’ve been doing for almost six years now, with more than 1500 cartoons sent first to the New Yorker and then when not bought there, sent to Prospect magazine, London and the Reader’s Digest, America. Prospect has bought 7 cartoons and Reader’s Digest, starting last summer, bought two cartoons for their Humor in Uniform section.
I’ve done Scientific Illustrations since I finished a continuing education class at UW, two times a week for the 2004 school year. One book, River of Memories, was about the species of fishes in the Columbia River. Joseph Tomelleri, America’s most famous fish painter did most of the fish drawings and I was asked to supply the final five fishes for the book. (Fish, plural if there are many fish in one variety and fishes if the group has multiple varieties or species.)
Sculpeys, I started doing some of my political cartoons in Sculpey clay and had a run in that medium for about 10 or 12 cartoons. It was bas relief on paper but was so time consuming that I quit that process and went back to analog pencils and inks which are scanned into a printer and colored in Adobe Photoshop, which is how almost everything I do in cartooning and graphic arts is finished. I’ve been asked to do some Wacom tablet drawing for an animation project and although I would rather do the art in the traditional manner, since it’s for animation, I’ll give it a try.
The final part of my presentation was the announcement that the Reuben Award Weekend, always on Memorial Day weekend, will be held in Portland this year. And you’re invited! The powers-that-be have decided that if you’re actively involved in cartooning, whether an online strip or advertising graphics or basically any kind of regular cartooning activity, you can become an Associate Member. It used to be a yearly fee of $350 but they have now reduced that price to $260. If you want to be a Regular Member, you need two pro sponsors to write you a letter and you need to earn most of your living from cartooning. The cost of a Regular Member, membership is $150. If you want to attend the Reuben Awards dinner, it’s $350 and it usually includes a long flight and can quickly add up to $1000, but since it’s so close, it’s just a 2 and a half hour drive for most of us. Over the years, I’ve attended several Reuben weekends and have met and shook hands with Mel Lazarus, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Nick Meglin, Al Jaffee, Segio Aragones, Mike Peters, Jim Davis, Cathy Guiswhite, Tom Richmond and my partner in twisted cartooning crime, Dan Piraro. I supplied him with several gags between 2012 and 2015 and we became friends at the Reuben weekends through the years. So, if you want to rub shoulders with the Greats, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance and it’s here and NOW! (or at least, almost here and SOON!)
Dan McConnell, NCS NW Chapter Chair