Archives For cartoonist

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Joe “Crazy 8’s” and I did these sketches during one of our meetings at a coffee shop! 

When I first started drawing I was by myself for the most part. I would post some of my work online and I would create with hopes that I would get some kind of input or advice or compliment.

Sure, at one point I was a member on DeviantArt and then later I connected with others on social media like Twitter and Facebook. It helped quite a bit.

But, I wanted even more!

Then, Instagram came in to the mix and I was fortunate to team up with other cartoonists…one in person and one from Canada.

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On Instagram, I often connect with Joe, the creator of “Crazy 8s” and Dave from Canada, the creator of the Instagram comic called “Kid and Mouse.” 

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Joe and I have constantly meet up to discuss our passion for comic strips, discussing and analyzing the works of people like Charles Schulz (Peanuts) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and names that some might not know and independent artists.

I’ve learned a LOT from both Joe and Dave. We’ve done crossovers and collaborations together and they have shared their own tricks of the trade in comic strip creation. But, this couldn’t be if it wasn’t for the idea of connecting, networking and building a community.

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Characters from my webcomic, “By and By,” Walter Ayo and Ace Fox meet Bill and Carl!

When times get rough and we get a little down, Joe, Dave and I often will connect via the web and chat and encourage one another! This is a HUGE investment!

Every bit of that moment and time matters!

Every artist needs a community in which to connect and learn from. It’s not recommended to go it alone in a field or area of interest no matter what it is you’re studying or practicing. You need others to come alongside you and help you. You need people in which to grow with and learn and share with.

I’m fortunate that Joe and Dave are a part of that with me! And, I’m grateful for the other great cartoonists that I’ve connected with both independent and syndicated. And I’m looking forward to connecting with many more artists.

 

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Responsibility

March 22, 2017

reonsobilityThis particular message has been in me for several, several days!

“You are responsible for you…no one else…you!”

No one owes you and me anything! Period!

You HAVE to work for it. You HAVE to trust and believe that you have been created and called into something bigger than you…that you are here for a purpose that’s larger.

I believe…again, I personally…that God has called me into something so much larger than myself.

As a Christian, I am responsible for how I behave in front of people and for the message of the Gospel to be shared.

As a writer, I’m responsible for telling a story.

As an artist, I’m responsible for conveying a message that people can grasp and understand!

As a man, I’m responsible for taking care of business and operating in love for my significant other and for my fellow man. Even then, that’s not ALL the responsibilities I have as just a man!

We ALL have responsibilities!

But, there are many who choose to not take on the burdens of living and growing up. There are many who choose to not take responsibility for their actions.

It’s MUCH easier to blame everyone else…to make excuses….to declare that somehow you are being held back and nothing good can happen for you and to you.

But, it’s harder to take responsibility.

It’s a challenge to take responsibility and own up to your mistakes…the consequences seem to be higher the more you take on responsibility.

But, sooner or later, if you really, really want more out of life, you have to take on responsibilities and carry the weight of that experience.

The good news is you don’t have to carry that weight alone!

 

The Struggles with Glasses

December 24, 2016

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Growing up, I absolutely hated wearing glasses. It made me a target for a lot of bullying and teasing. Growing up, I was called “Steve Urkel,” the character that was played by Jaleel White on the ABC series, “Family Matters.”

As much as my mother wanted to make me feel better about the idea that “Steve Urkel” made a lot of money, truth is, it was not like I was getting paid for the mess I was dealing with in school.

By that rationale, Jaleel White owed me money for my mental suffering!

Kids (and adults) having to wear glasses all of a sudden can be a bit traumatic…a pretty big dea!  With one of the characters in the comic strip, “By and By,” Dylan Randolmill, I wanted him to began wearing glasses in order to do two things: set him apart from the rest of the characters….and….to bring real childhood experience to light. Dylan’s disdain for wearing glasses comes from the desperation of wanting to be accepted and loved by a group of kids in the strip who appear perfect and without blemish. He wanted to be like the “cool kids,” and while we have not been introduced by the cool kids as of yet, just not seeing them is reflective of the invisible person or persons that we try to impress but never seem to make that mark.

And truth is, most of us never will….and that’s fine!

You’re unique and genuine! Why let it be covered up by “fitting in.” Now THAT is a blog post by itself!

My friend and author, Joshua Smith, gave me the idea of setting him apart from the other kids. I chose glasses as the way to do it.

Dylan absolutely hates it, but I think he’ll began to accept it. I know I did.

In fact, the older I got, the more glasses started becoming the new “hip” thing to do. I now have over 5 pairs of glasses that I can choose from because many of them are a lot nicer looking compared to the ones I had growing up.

I personally think that Dylan looks great with his glasses! Besides, his character is not the stereotypical nerd or geek…he’s a diplomat between the “cool kids” and the kids who are not so “cool.” Will the glasses create friction and trouble for him…only time will tell as I continue to write and create the strip.

 

Tribute to Dallas 1All day Friday, I did everything I could to hold back tears as they weld up. 5 police officers the night before were killed in Dallas during a peaceful protest against the shooting of black men by police officers.

I was sitting at home when it happened, expecting the watch a regular 9pm newscast on our local Fox station and then go on about my life and get things done before bed.

A 9pm broadcast turned into multiple hours of a surreal experience that was unfolding before me just 20 minutes away.

The journalist in me scrolled through multiple news sites and reporting agencies on my phone. While many reported the facts, others capitalized on the propaganda and on the fears of others who have opposing opinions about the news of the day…the shooting in Dallas…the shooting of black men by police officers…black lives matter…and injustice as a whole.

It was all too much!

Something continued to stir in me later that Friday as I listened to Gospel music and spent time in continual prayer.

I felt a tug at my heart to do something.

So, I began to draw.

The second that I was finished with my latest comic strip, and posted the strip online, I fell completely apart. I could no longer hold back.

I cried for lost lives…for the state of our country…for the fact that many of us as American citizens claim to get it, but show little or no empathy and are so blind, we refuse to step up and try to understand.

Once I was done…what was emotional turned into something inspirational…a deep call to action that went even further than cartooning.

It was a pull and tug that was hard to describe. It was like I knew what I had to do, knowing that it could cause me trouble, knowing it could generate disdain, knowing that even though my voice was one of many it was still a voice that had not yet cried out in the wilderness.

I had to speak up! I had to write!

It was time for me as a Christian, a writer, a cartoonist, a black man, a man, period, to stand up and speak life and peace into the chaos of our time.

I love writing fiction and I love writing the kind of literary works that get people to think, laugh, love and live. But now, the responsibility sinks in to do much more writing than I actually have.

Not everyone will understand. And that’s okay. I’ll pray for them. For those willing to try too, I applaud them and pray for them. And for those who don’t care, my prayers are for you too.

Silence is no longer an option. Silence hurts people, creates division and builds up a sense of empathy and carelessness because as long as it isn’t me and mine, I’m good with whatever happens.

Silence is the passive man’s voice.

Silence is an affront to those who stood before us and died for us. It is also an affront to the men and women of law enforcement who seek to do more good than harm. We must all choose to be a part of a much larger solution.

But first, before you jump in, you must acknowledge there’s a problem!