Father’s Day 2018

One of my Dad’s favorite pastimes was fishing,
so here’s a drawing I did of him for Father’s Day 1992.

Richard Keefe (1925-1992).
He lead by example and taught all his kids the the meaning of family.
Love you for that, Dad!

-Jim Keefe

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IRS Scams

Francesco Marciuliano and I recently did a week of Sally Forth warning about IRS phone scams. We got lots of responses from readers who appreciated the call out. So as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus would say (over 40 reference), “Let’s be careful out there.”

-Jim Keefe

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Laid Off from King Features

Fun fact: The Flash Gordon comic strip for June 3, 2018 was originally released December 20, 1998 when the entire Comic Art Department of King Features in New York (myself included) was being laid off.

The “ancient dialect” I had the evil sorcerer Choong-li speaking is English backwards. Notice the difference between the text in the 2018 strip compared to the one from 1998?

And for those interested, here’s the full strip.

And that’s…

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Getting a Portfolio Review

I was recently asked the following question through Facebook Messenger:

“I want someone to review my work so I can get feedback on what I’m doing right or wrong. I have no idea how to initiate that kind of conversation or who to turn to. What do you recommend I do?”

Quick thoughts:
Sending your art unsolicited to a professional cartoonist for a critique is usually a bad idea. It’s like wanting your car fixed, and instead of making an appointment at a repair shop and getting an estimate, just driving it into an auto repair shop (sans appointment) – parking your car on a mechanic’s lift – then expecting them to get to work.

Not good.

Posting it online on social media can be hit or miss depending on the experience and professionalism of those giving the critiques.

From personal experience I find Artists Alleys at comic cons to be a good bet. The reason being that you are not infringing on the artist’s work schedule – they are specifically there taking the time to touch base with readers and fans. This one-on-one from an artist you respect can be invaluable.

Research who’s on site before the con. Then when approaching an artist be sure to ask if they’re open to, or have time for, doing a portfolio review (they may not depending on time constraints). Also a heads up that the critique you get can be instructive and/or eviscerating depending on the artist’s demeanor. Be prepared for either.

A surefire way to get a critique is to take a class or correspondence course in cartooning. Heads up that the Minneapolis College of Art and Design has an online portfolio review for potential students.

I would also recommend the Joe Kubert School Correspondence Course (and no, I don’t get paid for this endorsement). In this case it’s a matter of getting what you pay for.

You can check out the Kubert School at Comic Cons they’re scheduled to appear at as well.
Here’s Kubert School Alum Brigid Allanson and Angie Fernot at C2E2.


Any other suggestions? Write them in the comments section as I’d love to hear them!
And wishing you all the best in your artistic ventures!

-Jim Keefe

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Scouting Locations – Minneapolis

It’s the small details that makes or breaks a good illustration, and that’s why it’s so important for me to get the best reference I can. If something in the Sally Forth comic strip looks off it breaks the reader’s suspension of belief – and then they’re focused on the bad drawing instead of the joke or story we’re trying to tell.

So when Francesco Marciuliano writes a scene in Sally Forth that calls for a specific locale (grocery store, movie theater, etcetera) I’ll often use spots around my hometown of Minneapolis for reference. Being that Sally Forth is a homegrown original (created by Minnesotan Greg Howard in 1992) it only seems natural.

This blog post will be the catch basin for those strips (which means I’ll be updating this post from time to time). So for those interested, I hope you enjoy this little behind the scenes look at the making of the Sally Forth comic strip.

For the 9/19/2017 Sally Forth strip  Francesco called for me to create an arts & craft/greeting card store called Small Wonders.

I always prefer taking my own reference pics over google images in cases like this so I can get a real feel for the set I want to use. Scouting out locations I chose one in biking distance of me called Digs Studio.

Digs – 3800 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN

Using the reference pic above, here is how Small Wonders ended up looking.

Sally Forth 9/19/2017

Digs’ owner, Katie Koster, was very generous in letting me take lots of reference pics. Invaluable for getting a good bead on the particulars of a gift shop like hers.

Front register at Digs.

And here’s Jackie’s new boss, Tashsa, with Jackie behind the counter.

Sally Forth 9/20/2017


Excerpt from Francesco Marciuliano’s script for 9/22/2016.

Scene: Exterior. Sidewalk. Right Outside Comic Book Store. Hilary and Faye exit the comic book store. Each has a bag showing a comic book purchase.


For Hil and Faye’s local comic book shop I picked Comic Book College (this was back when it was on Hennepin Ave near 32nd Street).


And here’s another strip featuring Comic Book College.

Sally Forth for December 4, 2016

Comic Book College owner Tim Lohn with original Sally Forth page featuring Hil and Faye going to Comic Book College.

I used this comic book shop as it holds a lot of nostalgia for me. When I was growing up in Minneapolis in the 1970s the collector’s market for comics was just getting underway. The two places to get back issues were Shinders on 7th and Comic City. Shinders on 7th was torn down decades ago but Comic City survived, morphing over the years into Comic Book College.

Since drawing these strips Comic Book College moved to it’s new location at 4632 Nicollet Avenue. Still one of the best comic book shops around!

Comic Book College’s new location at 4632 Nicollet Avenue.


Other locations around Minneapolis I’ve used include…

Hillary’s school – based on Washburn High School

The Augsburg College campus

The Riverview Theater

12/4/2016 drop title panel:  Uptown – right around where Magers and Quinn Booksellers is located.


Last but not least…

This isn’t a location I used as reference per se, but when I first took over the reigns of drawing Sally Forth I had just wrapped up my tenure as Visiting Artist at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. So it only seemed natural to throw some MCAD students into the strip.



1st Row (Foreground):
Caitlin Skaalrud and Amaya Goldsmith.

2nd Row:
Mandie Brasington, Jack Kotz and Jay Rasgorshek.

3rd Row:
Jaime Willems and actual character from the strip.

4th Row:
April Kasulis, Ben Tye, Lindsey Hall and Mr. Croptoff.

As I mostly taught Comic Art at MCAD (what other kind of art is there?) I’m including a link to the MCAD Comic Art Tumblr so you can see some of the incredible work they’ve been up to.

On a side note, all the students pictured are now copyrighted by King Features Syndicate, Inc. World rights reserved. Just saying…


Unabashed plug time!

If Sally Forth isn’t in your local paper you can check it out online at…


A yearlong subscription to all of King Features’ comics (new and vintage) plus ten years worth of archives for every single strip is a pittance at $19.99 a year. Unsure? Try a 7 day trial subscription for free.

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