Cartooning Advise from Jose Delbo

The following is a quick memory of a cartooning class taught by Jose Delbo from when I was a student at the Joe Kubert School.

A student was getting critiqued – during the critique Jose stated that the student needed to spend more time on his work. The student responded that he had already worked on the page for two weeks. Jose replied, “How much of that time was actually pen to paper.”

Never forgot that insight. Doesn’t matter how much time you have to work on something if you’re not putting pen to paper.

Jose Delbo - 2011 Pic by Andrew Satterfield - Cincinnati Comic Expo

Jose Delbo – 2011
Pic by Andrew Satterfield – Cincinnati Comic Expo

More on Jose here – Jose Delbo at SpringCon 2012

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Keefe Studios – 20 Years and Counting

I’ve been doing freelance since I attended the Kubert School back in the late 1980’s. I started working at King Features Syndicate on staff after graduating the Kubert School in ’89 – so as far as job sites and resumes, I always listed my freelance as officially starting in 1996 with my first big gig, Flash Gordon.

So when I recently started getting congrats on 20 years at Keefe Studios from LinkedIn, two things sprung to mind.

1. Wow, it’s been twenty years already.
2. How do I turn that feature on LinkedIn off?

As a special treat I thought I’d post some of the pics of the office party here at Keefe Studios in celebration of 20 years. Enjoy!




So here’s to 20 years at Keefe Studios! GO TEAM KEEFE-WOOOHOOOOO!

Due to popular demand
– One person (Terry Beatty) suggested it – 
Here’s an action packed animated gif
that captures the office party in all it’s glory!



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The Business of Cartooning

Original posted on 11/28/2012 – updated on 1/21/2016

The following is a resource page for Cartoonists/Comic Artists I’ve put together in regards to the business side of the profession. It’s culled from various sources that I’ve found helpful or informative over the years. It doesn’t cover everything, but it can be used as a starting point.

Originally I had a whole section on “Work for Hire” but that ended up needing a whole post of its own: Work for Hire – The Fallout

If there’s any links you’d like to suggest I add, just email me at
I’m always on the lookout for items that are off my radar.

Breakdown of categories that follow:

1. Comic News Blogs
2. Contracts
3. Resources/Articles
4. Print On Demand Publishers
5. Self-Publishing Resource Articles
6. Convention Resources
7. Cartooning Schools and Organizations
8. Financial Aid

1. Comic News Blogs:

2. Contracts:

3. Resources/Articles:

4. Print On Demand Publishers:

5. Self-Publishing Resource Articles:

    The Definitive List of Comic Publisher Submission Guidelines
    Jason Thibault – Circa 2015
  • The Master List
    Comic Book and Trading Club stores.

6. Convention Resources:

7. Cartooning Schools and Organizations:

8. Financial Aid:


For more info, check out Working Professionally as a Cartoonist.
It’s a resource page that includes all my work related posts on cartooning.

It includes, Pricing your Work, Tools of the Trade, Recommended Books on Drawing & Cartooning, and much, much more…

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Motivational Misinformation

Just saw this recently on Facebook…


I HATE memes like this.
Like Rickman woke up on his 46th birthday after being a plumber all his life and decided to become an actor.



Here’s the real scoop…

As a teenager Rickman won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School in London, where he appeared in several school plays. He then studied graphic design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. After graduating, he started a graphic design company, Graphiti, with some friends. He met his lifetime partner Rima Horton at age 19 while in the amateur Group Court Drama Club.

At age 26, Rickman decided to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Rickman supported himself through his two years at the RADA by taking freelance design jobs and by working as a set dresser.

At age 32, Rickman joined the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in The Tempest and Love’s Labour’s Lost, among others. Moving on from the RSC, Rickman spent much of the rest of the 1980s acting in BBC serials, radio dramas and repertory theater.

At 39 Rickman had the starring role of Le Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a part that playwright Christopher Hampton (who adapted the script from an 18th century French novel) developed with the actor specifically in mind – Rickman then performed the unforgettably villainous role first in London and then on Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination.

At age 46, Rickman was tapped for his first Hollywood film role as the evil terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988). “I got Die Hard,” Rickman later recalled, “because I came cheap. They were paying Willis $7 million so they had to find people they could pay nothing.”

All info from – Alan Rickman

Then, if you are aware of Rickman’s prior work there’s the added insult that none of that mattered until he “made it” on the big screen – Tinseltown – HOLLYWOOD!


They do the same meme about Jack Kirby…


Skipping over co-creating Captain America at the age of 23, and his wealth of work and artistic innovations in the 1940s and 50s.

Drives me CRAZY! – makes me want to find whoever wrote such simplistic drivel and knock some sense into them…

hulksmash has posted a sequential timeline of Jack Kirby’s comic book work. It’s too long to post here, but just for fun check out Kirby’s published work prior to the 1960s and the Marvel Age of comics (the images don’t seem to load, but the list is all there).

JACK KIRBY: A By-the-month Chronology 1938-1949
JACK KIRBY: A By-the-month Chronology 1950-1959

The lesson to be learned?


No, that’s not it either…

Just try to remember that it’s a lifetime of work that goes into a career, not necessarily the fleeting moments the public remembers.

Also there’s the old “one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration” saying of Thomas Edison’s. (Just try not to think about that whole Edison/Tesla debate too much regarding that.)

That’s all for now as deadlines are looming. But before I go I want to leave you with these words of wisdom from LinkedIn…


My link to what I think of that line of gibberish can be found here.

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Sally Forth Drop Panels – October to December 2015

Comic Strips are formatted different ways for different size requirements. The “drop panel” is a panel or tier of the strip that can be omitted because of size restrictions without affecting the gag or storyline.

For example, Here’s the Sunday strip for October 4, 2015 with the drop panel…


Then without…


And now without further ado, here’s the drop panels for
October 4, 2015 through December 27, 2015.

October 4, 2015

October 4, 2015

October 11, 2015

October 11, 2015

October 18, 2015

October 18, 2015

October 25, 2015

October 25, 2015

November 1, 2015

November 1, 2015

November 8, 2015

November 8, 2015

November 15, 2015

November 15, 2015

November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015

November 29, 2015

November 29, 2015

December 6, 2015

December 6, 2015

December 17, 2015

December 17, 2015

December 20, 2015

December 20, 2015

December 27, 2015

December 27, 2015

For more from previous posts, go to Sally Forth drop panels.


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 two 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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Recommended Books on Drawing & Cartooning

Addendum to Jim Keefe’s drawing class for the Star Wars Extravaganza.
Dakota County Library – 1/13/2016.

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way
By John Buscema and Stan Lee

Based on the comic art classes Buscema gave in the 1970s, and with text provided by none other than Stan Lee, it’s a great primer on comic book art and storytelling.


Drawing Words and Writing Pictures
by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden

Provides solid instruction for people interested in making their own comics. The page which lists the different kinds of pen nibs for inking is worth the price of admission alone.


Check out the companion book as well – Mastering Comics.

DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics
By Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein

This book will bring you up to speed on color theory and the art of lettering – with tons of info for working digitally.


How To Draw: Comics
By Terry Moore

This book is one of a series and focuses on the tools of the trade.
From Comixology, “Everything from paper to Photoshop is discussed in detail, with Moore’s own tips and templates revealed. For beginners and pros alike, this is a book every comic artist will find useful.”


The Mad Art of Caricature
by Tom Richmond

Recipient of a Reuben Award for “Cartoonist of the Year” from the National Cartoonist Society, Tom Richmond is probably best know for his work for Mad magazine. Here he lays out what goes into drawing a great caricature.


Here’s a preview…

Last but not least…
First published in the 1960s, the following Jack Hamm books are a mainstay on my bookshelf – Highly recommended!



There’s many more art books I could list (Rendering in Pen and Ink by Guptill and any of the Andrew Loomis books come to mind) – but I think the preceding is at least a start. As mentioned with the Jack Hamm books, they are all on my bookshelf and are all well worn from years of use.

If money is tight, some of these books can be checked out from the library – that way you can give them a test run before investing in them. And if you’re serious about drawing, you’ll definitely want to pick up the ones you like so you can have them for handy reference and further study.

If interested in more info about cartooning, check out my previous post
Working Professionally as a Cartoonist.
All my work related links are posted there for easy browsing and access.

Update: After the drawing class at the Dakota County Library I gave out a lot of instructional material on how to break down different characters you want to draw into simple shapes, but didn’t have enough of Sonic the Hedgehog to go around. Here’s the page for those interested.

Click on image to see larger.

Click on image to see larger.

All for now and all the best!

-Jim Keefe

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Star Wars Extravaganza

Doing some prep work for an upcoming gig
at the Robert Trail Library for their Star Wars Extravaganza.


From the Dakota County Library program page.

Drawing Star Wars Characters
Learn the steps to draw your favorite Star Wars character
from professional cartoon artist and writer Jim Keefe
on Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Robert Trail Library.
Registration is required. For ages 10-16.

Hope to see you there!

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