Artists - Cartoonists Business of Cartooning Ramblings & Reviews

When you wish upon a star…

Just got this notification via Linkedin.


My response to this piece of motivational simplicity…


Just to be clear – if you dream it you can then hopefully motivate yourself to work hard and pursue it. Ideas and dreams are nothing without the painstaking exertion of effort – and even that doesn’t guarantee success.

A view most clearly expressed in the first Rocky film - not so much in the endless sequels and remakes that followed...
A view most clearly expressed in the first Rocky film – not so much in the endless sequels and remakes that followed…

And drawing doesn’t come “naturally” for me, hard work actually plays a role.
That’s why I always wince inwardly when people tell me “to have fun with it” when asking for a commission.


The family knows I’m having “fun” when they can hear me from my studio
swearing like a crazed lunatic.


It goes along the same lines as “Do what you love” or “follow your bliss”. How Joseph Campbell explains it it’s a way to find meaning in life – on the flip side it can be narcissistic and devalues hard labor. I hear people coming out of art school saying how they never want their art to be “a job” – that they want it to stay their passion. In the real world the old adage 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration applies. I think of my drawing ability as a skill set, not an art. Not that I can’t pursue art, but it’s important to recognize the trade value and business side if want to continue to make a living doing it.

So just remember it’s not all about achieving your dreams…


Unless of course your destination is Mars,
then it’s all about getting back to Dejah Thoris…

John Carter by Frank Frazetta
John Carter by Frank Frazetta

But I digress…

Just remember it’s all about the journey.
So to end, here’s Journey with Don’t Stop Believin’…

Al Williamson Artists - Cartoonists Flash Gordon Sally Forth

Sally Forth – Photo Reference

Sometimes to get the right pose for a character you’re drawing you need to take some photo reference – and 10 times out of 10 the model who’s usually available and works the cheapest is yourself.

Along these lines, one of the artists I’ve always looked up to is Al Williamson.

Williamson took reference shots of himself constantly to nail down a drawing. The following pic is from the book The Art of Al Williamson with the corresponding drawing from his adaption of the 1980 Flash Gordon Movie.


For the EC comic books from the 1950s,
Al’s friends would lend a hand as well…



Suffice it to say, Williamson had the build to pull off
the heroic shots he wanted to capture.


And following in this grand tradition, the following is the photo reference I used to capture the shot I needed for Ted for the January 24th Sally Forth strip.


And the finished strip…


Maybe someday I’ll post the photo reference I took when I was doing Flash Gordon – suffice it to say I wore pants on my head a lot less…