Categories
King Features New York Ramblings & Reviews

The Palm Restaurant’s Wall of Cartoons – Gone.

The Palm Restaurant’s famous walls, drawn on by cartoonists since the early days of the comic strip, are no more.

The Palm with it's legendary wall of cartoons.
The Palm with its legendary wall of cartoons.
White walls where the drawings once were.
White walls where the drawings once were.

From New York’s Pix 11 on the closing of this historical steak house….

“The owners of the original Palm restaurant decided to permanently close the space after renovating it proved to be too costly. The Palm had been a fixture at 837 2nd Avenue in Manhattan since 1926. The restaurant is known for it’s caricature-covered walls.

Artists hand-sketched the cartoons in exchange for meals throughout the years. Many worked at nearby King Features Syndicate, a comic company. The famed walls were restored in 1995.

Today, Palm restaurants worldwide are run by direct descendants of the founding owners. It was impossible, they said in a statement, to take the original artwork with them.”


When I worked at King Features back in the late 80s, King Features was at 216 East 45th Street. At the end of the block where 45th met 2nd Avenue was the Palm.

Exterior_2

Along with restaurants like the now defunct Pen and Pencil (another steakhouse where cartoonists hung out), The Palm was part of New York’s legendary Steak Row.

Here’s a little fun fact, steakhouses were in abundance in the area because in the early part of the 20th century the slaughterhouses were located just down the street along the East River where the UN now stands. But I digress…

The first time I ever went to the Palm was when I was working on staff up at King Features as their colorist. My boss at the time, Frank Chillino, told me that Joe D’Angelo (King Feature’s president at the time) just had lunch recently with some cartoonists at the Palm and they had added some new cartoons to the walls. My job was to go over there, bring some paint, and add some color to them. I got there before the restaurant was open for business and carefully added color between the lines of permanent marker the cartoonist had drawn – and for the life of me I can’t remember which characters they were.

What I do remember was looking at those beautiful walls filled with cartoons…


The following are pics from an old New York Magazine spread.

05

04

03

02

01


Some vintage shots.

Exterior_01

Unknown-1

8290.4L

Unknown-2

Unknown-3


A few more from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.

DSCN3421

DSCN3422

DSCN3425

DSCN3427

DSCN3428

DSCN3429


I got to have lunch there once, and on King Features’ dime, with fellow Comic Art Department staff member Jerry Craft. Not being a steak connoisseur (hotdog anyone?) I was completely out of my league in the restaurant but soaked up the atmosphere as it was one of those New York and cartooning institutions.

That little piece of comic history is gone now. Glad I was at least a part of it in some small way.

Categories
King Features

Coloring the Sunday Comics

Post Updated May 27, 2019.

As some of you are well aware, I’ve been a colorist for King Features since the late eighties. When I first started out I was on staff at King as the head (and only) colorist for the King Features Comic Art Department.

Jim Keefe - Portrait of a young colorist.
Jim Keefe – Portrait of a young colorist.

Pic from Funny Papers – Behind the Scenes of the Comics.


For those interested I still work “old school.” Here’s the process…

King Features down in Florida does the color separations, so my job is to provide them with a color guide.

Here’s the color palette I use.

Using watercolor, I color the black and white art and then put in the color indications using the numbers from the color palette. The actual watercolors don’t have to be exact. That’s what the numbering is for, so that there’s no mistake regarding what the exact color I intended should be.

Color guide for Blondie 7/1/2012.

And here’s what the finished version looks like.

Blondie 7/1/2012

It’s a very conscious decision to keep the coloring simple and not over render so the color is not competing with the clean line of the artwork. Here’s some more examples of my work…

Beetle 6/10/2012
Popeye 7/22/2012
Hagar 7/1/2012

line

And for those interested, King Features’ comics are available through subscription at

ComicsKingdomLogo

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.

All for now – see you in the funny papers…

Categories
Craig MacIntosh Francesco Marciuliano King Features Sally Forth

Sally Forth – Passing the Torch

As many of you have already heard, I’m the new artist of the Sally Forth comic strip. My name has been on the dailies since March 11th, and even though I drew the strip for this past Sunday (3/31/2013), that was the last one overseen by cartoonist Craig MacIntosh and bears his name.

03.31

Back story: A few years ago I connected with Craig and began working as his assistant inking and coloring the Sally Forth Sunday pages. When Craig decided to retire last year I worked up some samples (under Craig’s watchful eye) which were then submitted to King Features Syndicate. After navigating the proper channels the word was given from on high – editorial approval – and I was given the green light

I can’t say enough about how great it was working with Craig. He’s the consummate professional who makes the incredibly stellar work he does look easy – a great friend and mentor.

Craig Macintosh
Craig Macintosh

He’s currently turned to writing. His two most recent books are The Fortunate Orphans and The Last Lightning. I was able to make it out for the launch party for The Last Lightning and posted about it last fall.


Francesco Marciuliano
Francesco Marciuliano

Sally Forth is currently written by bestselling author, cartoonist and writer, Francesco Marciuliano. He was handed the baton by Sally Forth’s creator, Greg Howard, when Greg decided to retire from the strip back in 1999.

I found a great interview with him on the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show where he talks about his work on Sally Forth (below).


I was a fan of the Sally Forth comic strip long before coming on board, so I truly lucked out as far as being able to collaborate with Francesco. In addition to being a 15-year veteran on the strip, he knows the characters inside and out – which as far as I’m concerned makes the humor strike closer to home.


Warning: Unabahed 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 a year’s archive for every single strip is a pittance at $19.99 a year. Unsure? Try a 7 day trial subscription for free.

Unabashed plug officially over.


Going to wrap this up now as deadlines are looming.

see you in the funny papers…

Categories
King Features

Sew Simple

For the past fifteen years or so I’ve been providing illustrations for a syndicated column called Sew Simple. When I started the feature it was written by Eunice Farmer, now it’s done by her daughter, Vicki Farmer Ellis.

Basically what’s needed is a black and white drawing created from a color illustration or photo. Over the years I combined the traditional pen and ink with digital to produce the work.

Image.1

Close-up of artwork to show detail.
Close-up of artwork to show detail.

The general steps involved in creating the artwork starts with making a non-repro blue copy of the reference to ink over, thus creating the line art. I could have done it all digitally by creating the line art using a Wacom tablet, but I still prefer the line I get with a traditional dip pen.

After the line art is done, I’d then manipulate the reference to create certain tones in Photoshop, or just lay in a tone in grayscale. The last step would be to bitmap the image.

Creating a non-repro blue image.
Creating a non-repro blue image.
Line art followed by tone.
Line art followed by tone.

The mixing of pen and ink and digital can be tricky as you don’t want the combination to be jarring to the eye. The pen and ink has to be up to a photo realistic level and the digital adjusted so it is in harmony with the pen and ink. Here’s some examples.

Examples


I’m posting these as the print date of February 3, 2013 wraps up my tenure on the feature (had to pass on renewing my contract due to time constraints I had involving other work). A lot of work freelancers do is uncredited, so I hope you enjoyed the little peak inside the process of a syndicated feature.

All for now – back to the drawing table…