Monday, December 31, 2007

Something's brewing...

Just a heads-up for all you loyal readers of this blog (all 2 of you). Heard through the grapevine that something big might be happening next year for for syndicated black cartoonists. Can't let you in on it just yet. Stay tuned for details.

New Year's Eve: Fireworks and stuff

So, it's the close of the year, time to look back and reflect on what has happened in 2007. Well, I guess that biggest news for me this year is the launch of my second cartoon "Cafe con Leche." I must admit, I had a really tough start with this toon, but soon felt very comfortable with its characters and story lines. I took a month-long sabbatical to New York City last summer to specifically define the strip and focus on making it better. Now the tough thing is marketing it.
Going forward to 2008, my main goal will be to market "Cafe Con Leche" heavily. I plan on taking trips to newspapers, specifically small newspapers and African American newspapers in hopes to start a base. That was the winning formula when I launched "Working It Out" 6 years ago.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Wish List

So, today is Christmas morning. Actually, its about 12:30 a.m. and I just got finished drawing a daily "Cafe Con Leche" cartoon. Such is the life of a syndicated cartoonist, the work never stops. Anywho, it got me thinking about newspapers I'd like to see "Cafe con Leche" in. Here we go.

1.) Toledo Blade:
Medium-sized newspaper located in Toledo, Ohio. This paper is significant to me because I read it almost everyday when I was a student at the University of Toledo. I like the Peach section, though I hear that it's not actually the color peach anymore (Thank God).

2.) The Orlando Sentinel:
Well, as many people know, I consider Orlando my hometown and it would be great to give my mother something to be proud of. She's always on my back about contacting the Sentinel and making my pitch (which I do). Besides, I think it would make a nice story. Guy from the 'hood does good and makes the local paper. Now, that's a human interest story.

3.) The St. Petersburg Times (Fl.)
Reason 1: I work there.
Reason 2: I work there
Reason 3: I work there.
Geez! Give a brutha a break, already!

4.) Chicago Tribune:
I know Geoff Brown and a few other features editor there. And, of course, I used to work there. Plus, I think CCL would do well considering the diverse population of Chicago.

5.) New York Daily News:
One of my favorite papers. I used to read it a lot when I lived in the City. I'm also a fan of their comics section, which is the only decent legitimate one in the City. Are you listening, NY Post?

6.) Miami Herald:
Well, I was born down there in South Florida and they already run "Working It Out" (thanks for that).

7.) (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger:
I think the "voice of New Jersey" as they are called has by far the best comics section in the Tri-State area. I've been in that part of Jersey and I am certain that it's community would embrace CCL.

8.) Los Angeles Times:
When I lived out in San Diego (notice that THAT paper isn't on my list) I read the L.A. Times religiously. Prolly the most diverse comics section I've seen. I also like that fact that they aren't afraid to take a few risks, like adding relatively unknown comics.

9.) Houston Chronicle:
Also a very good selection of comics on their page. And, a very diverse population.

10.) San Francisco Chronicle:
One of my all-time favorite newspapers, though I've noticed that the paper is getting smaller and smaller. They really sick behind their cartoonists. Just ask Don Assmussen.

That's just a wish-list. Keep in mind, I'll take ANY newspaper that is thinking about picking up either comic. But the above papers have special meaning. After all, this is Christmas.

Ho ho ho.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sad news

Well, sad for my. I recently learned that Kathy Kei, my long-time editor at Creators Syndicate, is moving on. She was in the midst of taking time off for maternity leave and I got the news a few weeks ago.
Kathy and I shared a good working relationship. She was the one who called me, in 2001, to tell my that Creatos Syndicate had picked up Working It Out. She also help guide my way through the odd world of syndication. To say that she'll be missed is an understatement.

Holiday break

It's been so long since I last blogged. I've taken some time off due to the Christmas break and also due to my day job. Things are coming along ver well for both cartoons, particularly Working It Out. I must say that I was a bit surprised to learn that my long-running cartoon has picked up a few new clients in the last few months. I guess you could say that it's going to be a very happy holiday season for me, cartoon-wise that is.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Inspired by Starbucks

People who know me also know that I like my java, to the tune of about 3 cups per day. Usually that only thing I get from my frequent visits from Starbucks is a pretty good caffeine boost. Well, after speaking with the friendly blonde-haired barista at the snooty Starbucks in the Palma Ceia neighborhood in Tampa, I was inspired. Kind of an epiphany, I guess. We were talking about this whole "Christmas blend" gimmick they try to pull off each year to sell more coffee. It’s basically the same as regular coffee, just with a more marketable name. That gave me an idea. I can't let the cat out of the bag now, you'll just have to wait to see it in Cafe Con Leche in December. But at least I got something out of Starbucks besides a the usual overpriced (but good) cup of Joe. Until then, please enjoy your cup of "Holiday Goodness."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Respect due

Here is list of some cartoonist that have influenced me most. Starting way back in the early 90s when I was just dreaming of being a professional cartoonist, I looked to some of these guys for inspiration. Here they are...

Jim Borgman: (Zits, editorial cartoons)
No one combines pure wit and artistic ability like Jim. I've been following his work since I was in college. The thing I like most about Jim's stuff is that he doesn't over do it. The cleanest (technically) cartoonist I've ever seen.

Jeff MacNelly: (Shoe, editorial cartoons)
I can't remember a better artistic style of cartooning than Jeff's work. Whether it was his comic strip, or his editorial cartoons, his creativity was second to none.

Aaron MacGruder: (The Boondocks)
Lots of stuff has been said about Aaron, but I gotta say that he definitely put us on the map (black cartoonists, that is). The T.V. show is good, but I gotta say that I really miss the comic strip.

Morrie Turner: (Wee Pals)
He was the first black cartoonist that I had heard about. Truly a pioneer. All of us (minority cartoonists) have him to thank for kicking down that door.

Lalo Alcaraz: (La Cucaracha, editorial cartoons)
That, right, Lalo. It wasn't until I spent a few years living in southern California that I truly realized how influential his work was. He touches the pulse of the Latino community like no other 'toonist can. If you don't believe me, just ask the L.A. Times. He's also a really cool dude.

Rick Tuma: (Clout Street)
Watching Rick's work taught me a lot about professionalism. Back in the day, I didn't have a lot of patience. Rick showed me that patience can bring greatness.

Mark Tatulli (Lio):
His comic strip that is one of the only ones that I look forward to reading everyday. Funny stuff.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday (From an artist's perspective)

I've always wondered why the day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday." So, I decided to venture out to the local stores and see what that deal was. Mad chaos! I went into the local Michael's Store ( I know, artist snobs. It's not exactly an "art" store. But give me a break, I live in Tampa, Fla.).
The store was packed with middle-aged white women fighting for things like knitting balls, plastic jewelry and glue sticks. I made my way through the jungle of chaos to finally find the art supply aisle. I grabbed my usual pad of Bristol paper and headed straight for the check out aisle where I found long aisles of people with coupons in hand. This wasn't a pretty sight, folk. I'm impatient by nature (you should see me driving). Anyways, I made it out alive.
I suddenly remembered how good I had it in New York. Actual art supply stores were just a subway trip away. Utrecht (on W. 23rd st.) and Pearl Paint (on Canal St.) were my usual stores of choice. Maybe someday Tampa will become a mecca for artists. Maybe we'll have more than 3 actual art supply stores in the Tampa Bay area. In the meantime, I'll just keep fighting the blue-haired ladies at the local Michael's Crafts Store.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Battle for the comic pages

Excellent article from the Wall Street Journal about the fight for space on comic pages in daily newspapers. Brought to my attention by the folks at

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Do you have a "Jamison" boss?

I don't know how many people out there have worked for a boss like Mr. Jamison (above) from my "Working It Out" cartoon. You know, the egotistical, self-centered, glory-hogging, credit-taking, micro-managing, oppressive kind you might find in your typical office. Personally, I've worked for MANY such bosses. In fact, Mr. Jamison himself is based on one particular boss of this type (who shall remain nameless).
Well, if you've ever had the misfortune of being employed by this kind of tyrant, I'd like to hear from you.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Beer time!

I'm sitting here desperately searching for ideas for my next cartoon but all I can think about is a cold beer. It's Friday ya know. I had a really tough week balancing 2 daily cartoons and a full-time graphics job. Not sure if I'm gonna get a cold one or not, I just thinking about crashing on the couch and vegging out for the night. In any event, lots of cartoon stuff to do this weekend ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Speaking of, I just checked the schedule and found out that I have to work that day. Ugh!! The schedule just isn't kind to me...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Book signing (last year)

A few posts ago I mentioned that I had published a book last year called "Its Always a Great Day to be the Boss." Going back into my digital camera the other day, I came across a few photos of myself during some book signing events. It was a great experience meeting folks. I learned a lot of stuff too about the marketing side of the bizzo (fo shizzo). Anywayz, here is a pic of me outside of the Barnes & Noble on Tyrone Blvd. St. Petersburg, Fla. I still carry the book as far as I know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lookin' out for the homies

Just realized the other day that I haven't given proper due to some of my cartoonist friends out there. I decided to give links to some of them. You can check them out in the section to the right labeled "Cartoonist Sites." Check em out, they're all pretty good. Oh, and big ups to my homies Paul, Rick T., Matt and all of the peeps at Daily Cartoonist.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Working It Out" book in the U. of Toledo library

Yeah, I know. It prolly doesn't mean that much to most readers of this blog, but my first book (yes, I do have a book out) titled “It’s Always a Great Day to be the Boss,” is now in circulation at the Carlson Library at the University of Toledo, my alma mater. That’s astounding, considering I spent much of my undergraduate career there lampooning the president of the university and the administration (sorry bout that). I guess I’ve come full circle now.
By the way, if you wanna purchase a copy of my book for some strange reason, go to your local bookstore. It’s only $9.95 people! Sorry for the shameless promotion. Or better yet, just go to this link…

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


See what happens when you don't get a good nights sleep. After looking at today's edition of "Cafe con Leche," I realized that I had inadvertantly given Trey, one of the main characters, a name-change. I've long established that Trey's last name is "Garvin," but in todays panel I named him "Trey Johnson." Wierd, huh? I guess I should've stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


No. It’s a word that you get used to hearing from features editors as a cartoonist trying to sell his/her strip. Not as optimistic as “maybe,” yet not nearly as harsh as “hell no!” or “get out of my office!” No can come in many forms. There’s the “..We’ll get back to you on this” or the “…sorry, we just don’t have the budget to add another cartoon.” One of my favorites is the silent treatment. You know, when they don’t say anything. You’ll recognize this by the uncomfortable smile on their faces.
I’ve heard many stories of rejection from fellow cartoonists and up-and-comers. My best advice is just to be a pest. Keep on trying if you believe in yourself.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Are newspapers ready for a bi-racial cartoon?

I’m starting to wonder. I’ve received strange reactions from newspapers when I’ve inquired about Café Con Leche. The response is nice enough, but, in the end they just don’t buy it. Looking around, I remember reading something about another cartoon about a bi-racial couple that didn’t find much success. I remember a comic strip called “Color Blind” by Orrin Brewster and Tony Rubino. It ran from 1998 to 1999. Like Café Con Leche, it was also about a bi-racial couple. It was gone in less than a year.
One of my favorite cartoons is “Candorville” by Darrin Bell. There is also a bi-racial couple in Darrin’s strip, though that isn’t the main focus of the Candorville. Its doing well, but isn’t widely distributed. Then there’s the new “Maintaining” strip by Nate Creekmore about a bi-racial student. So far, it hasn’t taken off like, say, “Lio” did last year.
What’s up with that? Is it that comic editors at newspapers just want to ignore the subject or do they just go with their “2 minority-based cartoons per newspaper” trend that I’ve been seeing? I think American tastes are changing and some places might just be ready for cartoons like ours. All we need is that chance.

Working It Out in the St. Petersburg Times (sort of)

Well, I finally achieved my goal of having one of my syndicated cartoons appear in the newspaper that I work for. Technically its NOT an actual “Working It Out” panel, but an illustration done for the Working section of the newspaper. However, the scene is taken straight out from the same WIO template. Grasping at straws, I know, but at this point I’ll take it.
It was just good to wake up on Sunday morning and see what looked like a “Working It Out” panel on the cover of the Working section of the Times.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who do I have to bribe... get one of my cartoons in the Orlando Sentinel? All kidding aside, I'm perplexed at, after 6 years of trying, NONE of my two syndicated cartoons appear in what I like to call my hometown newspaper. You see, I've lived in many places such as New York, Chicago, San Diego, Columbus and Toledo, Ohio. But no place is more dear to my heart than the place where I spent my formative years. Heck, my parents still live there. Wouldn't it be a coup for Central Florida's major daily newspaper to run a cartoon from a guy who grew up in a poor section of Orlando? A guy who grew up to be one of America's few African-American syndicated cartoonists?
I constantly get asked that question from my mother, who has threatened a letter writing campaign on my behalf. Though I wouldn't want her to resort to that, it still pains me to pick up a copy of the Sentinel, read the comics section, and sigh...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Welcome Daily Cartoonist

Just added Alan Garnder's cool Site The Daily Cartoonist to my cartoonist links. Very cool insight on the cartoon and syndicate world. Check it out!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Spot on, Lio!

I was just reading the latest installment of Lio, a very funny cartoon by Mark Tatulli. Today's installment talks about the recent trend of comic polls by cartoon editors. I must admit, when I read it I almost fell out of my seat. So glad to see that another cartoonist feels like I do regarding this subject. Though, I probably wouldn't have illustrated it as accurately as Mark did. Way to go, man!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The salesman

So, I've decided to become a travelling salesman. Actually, just a part time salesman. I'm getting the feeling that its very necessary at this point to promote my cartoon "Cafe con Leche." This week I'm planning on making a few stops to local papers and pitch my cartoon. I figure a little face time won't hurt. Now, I guess I have to work on my pitch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Indianapolis Star and The (Tampa) Sentinel Bulletin

Long overdue shout-outs. These were the first newspapers to pick up my strip "Cafe Con Leche." I've been getting some very positive responses from the Indy Star. I get a few emails per month regarding CCL from local readers. And with the Florida Sentinel-Bulletin, I finally get a presence in my own state, not to mention the African-American community. So kudos to both papers. In this difficult time where newspaper revenues are shrinking along with comic pages, its good to see some of them are still willing to take a chance on a new feature.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Wow! You just don't know how much energy a full-time job plus drawing 14 cartoons per week can drain out of a person. I'm feeling really good about the progression of both cartoons at this time, but severely lacking energy for anything else. The good news is that I think that I'm all caught up on cartoons, which means that I can take a short break at the end of the week.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Birthday

Since today is my birthday, I've decided to take a day off from cartooning. People think that I should be freaking out or something just because I turned 39, (1 year from doomsday they say). Well, I'm looking forward to next year and continuing to grow as a person and as a cartoonist.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Congrats to Keith!!

Shout out to Keith Knight for winning the Harvey Award for Best Syndicated strip. Couldn't have happened to a better cartoonist. He's been doing his thing for quite a while.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Making progress

Just wanted to report that I recently did an interview with a local Tampa area African-American weekly newspaper called the Florida Sentinel Bulletin. Things went really well, so well that they decided to pick up both of my features. That's an avenue that I hadn't tried before.
Also, I had a very nice conversation with editor of the St. Petersburg Times Features section. I was very encouraged to learn how much he likes cartoons. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Running Latino gag

As a salute to the Latino community, I've created a running gag. Whenever Maria reads the paper, the name of that newspaper will reflect an actual newspaper in Latin America or Latino newspapers in the USA. I'm making it a running gag. Expect to see La Opinion, Clarin, El Universal, Reforma, O Globo etc. on the masthead.

Together (at last)

Not sure if you saw this, but last Sunday began the convergence of my two cartoons "Working It Out" and "Cafe con Leche." Trey, one of the main characters of "CCL" apperared in the Monday Sept. 3rd Labor Day edition of "WIO" with the lead character Mr. Jamison. I'm planning on doing more of this kind of thing in the future.

I'm Baaaaack!

It's been a while since my last blog entry, but I'm back. I have been in the middle of a transition period, now all the dust has settled. I just bought a fancy new drafting table and I now have a new art studio in South Tampa. Hopefully I can get a ton of cartooning done.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gen Xers Unite

What happened to all of my fellow Gen Xers? Back in the 80s, we were labeled as lazy and selfish by the Baby Boomers, now we've all but disappeared from the radar. It was brought to my attention that I draw a lot of Gen X references in my cartoon Cafe Con Leche. It wasn't on purpose, but it does make some sense. The 80s were the most formative years of my life and, like others of my generation, I feel a bit nostalgic when I hear references or music from that era. Look for a lot more RUN-DMC, Michael Jackson and other 80s references in the future for this strip.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The black media

For years I've tried to get a bigger foothold into non-traditional newspapers with limited success. Hopefully all that is starting to change. I just had an interview with one of the reporters from the Sentinel in Tampa, and African-American weekly community paper. I think it went quite well. It was a market that, believe it or not, I hadn't considered until now. I guess I fell into the trap that most cartoonist do. I was so concerned with getting my work in 'mainstream' publications that I had totally ignored the community that helped get me here in the first place. The Sentinel was more interested in my inner-city background than my cartoon work. At the end of the interview, the editor there asked me if I'd want Cafe con Leche running in their publication. Of course I said yes.
I guess I learned something that day. Never under estimate anything, especially when its right under your nose.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Settling in to Tampa

Well, after a short beak, I'm back to cartooning again. I just realized that my living conditions down here are a bit cramped, so I'm in search of studio space. I think I found a place, a nice little art studio down in trendy South Tampa just steps away from my favorite jogging place.
My cartoon production is a bit down, but that's to be expected. I couldn't continue my New York pace of 24-30 cartoons per week. Especially with a full time job in the middle of all of that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Drawing and Hyperhidrosis

One of the more difficult things that I've ever had to deal with is Hyperhidrosis, a condition that has affected me since I was 5 years old. Basically, Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating, usually associated with the hands, feet, face and armpits. My man problem has been with my hands, an essential area for any artist. Years ago I didn't know what to do about it or how to treat it. My parents had no idea either and just hoped that I'd "grow out of it." Well, that didn't happen, nor will that ever happen.
It has always affected how I draw. As a child, I used to fold up paper and place it underneath my hand as I drew. If I didn't do that, I'd soak the entire sheet of paper with sweat. Drawing was not the only problem, general contact with people was also difficult. I didn't like shaking hands with people because I just didn't want to face the look of surprise on their faces when they realized they were shaking a wet hand.
I was never comfortable drawing cartoons with my conditition and once even considered giving up. As an adult, I began to research the topic and discovered that there were treatment options for hyperhidrosis. After years of extensive trial and error, I finally found a solution. Though it was difficult at first, I can finally draw my cartoons with confidence.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Back in Tampa Bay

So, today I start my first day back at my day job. Its good that I got the chance to get far ahead with my cartoons last month. This is gonna take some adjusting, but I'm sure I'll be fine. Though, its going to be hard to adjust from drawing 5 cartoons or so per day in New York City to splitting my time between news graphics and cartoons. Goodbye weekends.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Packing It up

Well, looks like my time here in NYC is almost up. In a few days I'll head back to Tampa Bay and begin working again as a full-time graphic artist (and part-time cartoonist). This experiment was great. I have pushed both of my cartoons ahead both in content and production. I had a very hectic pace, but it was completely worth it. And, hey, I even now have a few of my cartoons in the general collection of the MoCCA museum. I get defined the characters of Cafe con Leche and now feel really good about that strip. It has been a great month. I hope to continue at that pace in Tampa, where I will open up a studio specifically for the purpose of drawing cartoons.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Productive week

End of the week, a most productive week at the. So far, I've managed to draw about 40 cartoons this week, a record for me. Doing 2 syndicated daily cartoons can be diffult at times, but this month's sabbatical in NYC has really helped. Productivity is way high, and I'm starting to define the characters in "Cafe con Leche." Plus, I think its making the folks at Creators Syndicate happy (now that I'm ahead of schedule). In the words of the great poet Ice Cube, "today was a good day." Its gonna suck to have to go back to the day job in 2 weeks, but at least I'll have a good head start.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cross polination

Very soon, you will see Trey from "Cafe Con Leche" make and appearance on "Working It Out" as one of Mr. Jamison's stable of peons. I've been tossing that idea around for a while, but now seems like a good time to do it. I don't think that you'll see Mr. Jamison in "Cafe con Leche," but his name will be mentioned by Trey.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Its hard out there for a 'toonist.

Well, I've been drawing my brains out the last 25 days or so, and done a little marketing of the stip on the side. What I've come to realize is that marketing is a full time job. I've sent out hundreds of postcard mailers, flyers (english and Spanish), sent bunches of emails and made a ton of phone calls to potential clients of my strip this month. The result: Nada. Not one new client this month. I'd be pretty bummed right now if I didn't realize that this is just par for the course. Most cartoonists go through it, and now its just my time. The secret is just getting the word out, by any means necessary.
Basically, to use the metaphore, I've planted the seeds of my cartoon "Cafe con Leche" to hundreds of comic editors around the country. I guess I'll have to wait for the harvest in the coming months. The marketing side of the biz is quite unpleasant, but I guess its a necessary evil.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Uptown vs. Downtown

Over the last few day, I've been spending some time up in Harlem, mostly doing research for my cartoon Cafe con Leche. I have to admit, I mostly avoided the neighborhood when I used to live here long ago. What I discovered is a vibrant, afro-centric community filled with wonderful architecture and open, welcoming people. Contrast that with the cold, distant feel of my downtown neighborhood of Battery Park City. Not saying that all of Manhattan is cold (most NYers are quite nice), but downtowners are generally about as cold as a block of ice.
Case in point: this morning, a woman cut me in line at the coffee shop in the World Financial Center in my neighborhood. I kinda lost it at that point. I gave her a piece of my mind, and she didn't seem to care. So, I took my coffee (and two packets of Equal) and walked off. Just then, I realized that I might be able to use this incident in my cartoon. I couldn't wait to get home and write about it. So, I guess living downtown has been great from a cartooning standpoint, but I definitely wouldn't want to live here on a permanent basis. Give me Astoria, Williamsburg, or Harlem anyday.

Friday, July 20, 2007

MoCCA visit

Today I made my first visit to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) in New York's SoHo neighborhood. I must say that I was quite impressed with what I saw. Though the space was smallish, they had quite an impressive collection of origional cartoon art. I liked the Stan Lee exhibit, but what stood out most was their collection from African American cartoonists. Its always good to check out other artist's work to see where you stand as a cartoonist. And, believe me, there were some phenominal cartoonist work there. I was so impressed with their collection, that I even decided to donate a couple of pieces of my own work to the museum.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Drawing cartoons about racism

It's a very touchy subject, yet one that is hard to ignore, especially for an African-American cartoonist. I try not to even touch on the subject with my cartoon "Working It Out" because it focuses on business and office politics. However, "Cafe Con Leche" is a cartoon about an African-American and a Latina who are married and live in a mostly white affluent neighborhood. I've thought about this a lot can I'm still not sure about it.
Aaron MacGruder used to tackle this subject a lot with his "Boondocks" cartoon. I've also seen the subject in "La Cucaracha" by Lalo Alcaraz and in "Candorville" by Darrin Bell. I do know that its a topic that the syndicates would rather not touch due to alienating certain readership groups. I prefer to take a more sublte approach. I will be incorporating racism themes in the future for CCL, but mostly poking fun at its ignorance. Just a heads-up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rainy, nasty New York morning

Had to cut my run short this morning due to heavy rain and lightning. The good news is that it gives me an early jump on cartooning. Just have 1 cartoon left to draw and that's it for the week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cafe con Leche in NYC

Yesterday, my friend Kevin surprised me and took me to this place on the Upper West side of Manhattan called Cafe Con Leche. It was kinda hoping the this restaurant would inspire some ideas for my cartoon of the same name. Didn't happen. Though they did serve empanadas and Ropa Vieja (Cuban dish). I'll be going out to Queens later this week (Jackson Heights to be precise) to do more research for my cartoon.

Jerry Craft book signing

Friend and fellow African-American cartoonist Jerry Craft, creator of the "Mama's Boyz" comic strip, will be making an appearance at the 9th annual Harlem Book fair in New York City Saturday July 21st. Jerry is the author of the books "Home Schoolin'" and "Mama's Boyz: As American as apple pie." I have the later, its a fun read.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Supplies and Stuff

Wow! I can't believe that I've already blown through a whole Bristol pad in a week. 30 cartoons per week will to that to you supply count. I'm also running low on pens and, thus, I must soon make the trek to Chinatown (Canal at Broadway to be precise) to fill up on supplies. Which will probably run out next week. I don't know about you, but I just can't deal with pens when they start to split. My pens of choice are the Micron Pigma brand, sizes 005 to 0.5. Good stuff. I feel like that actually glide on the paper. Though I am starting to play with the Copic pens, particularly the 0.03 tip. Very precise. Well, off I go. I hope that the number 2 subway isn't too packed today. Nobody wants to be stuck on a packed train next to a person who forgot to put on his/her deodorant. Not a pleasant sight.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The "Jamison" boss

A lot of people that the main character of my cartoon "Working It Out" is based on one mean boss that I had back in Chicago. Truth is, while this manager was a great inspiration in the beginning, Mr. Jamison is really a product of my experiences with several bosses, along with boss stories from some dear friends. Yes, the Mr. Jamison character did get his start in Chicago, but the character has grown so much since those days. Each time that a friend or associate tells me a bad boss story I'm mentally taking notes to apply to my cartoon. Granted, had a few bad bosses in my day. Mean ones, sadistic ones, backstabbbing ones, even flat-out racists ones. All of that has fueled the fire for my cartoon. I used to get upset when an unreasonable boss terrorized various newsrooms that I worked for, but now its something that I seek out. On the flip side, research for the Jamison character can be difficult if the boss is...dare I say...competent. Strangely enough, my current boss is actually quite good. Nice, thourough, fair and understanding. Basically everything Mr. Jamison is not. I had to find other avenues for my reasearch. Luckly, though good bosses exist in corporate America, they are vastly outnumbered by the Jamison types. I just hope they keep the material coming.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Moving ahead

So, after 12 days in New York City I've managed to get a little breathing room for my cartoons. I was barely meeting the deadlines when I arrived here, now I've almost a full month ahead on my dailies. Its amazing what a little change in focus will do. I hope to be a full 2 months ahead on my dailies at the end of July. But that's gonna take a lot of hard work, along with several trips to Starbucks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

R.I.P. Doug Marlette

Just got the news that editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette passed away today. I remember reading Doug's stuff when he was working at Newsday.


AAEC Convention in full swing

The annual American Association of Editorial Cartoonists convention is in full effect down in D.C. With the number of full time editorial cartoonists shrinking at an alarming rate, this convention should be good. Even at the newspaper I work for (The St. Pete Times) we've been without a cartoonist for for years. This trend doesn't look like its going to stop anytime soon.

Hot, muggy day.

Just came back inside to start my cartooning day. Man, it is hot and humid out there! Almost Miami-style New York.
Its gonna be tough to draw today. All I want to do is lay in bed with the AC on. But the cartoons aren't gonna draw themselves.

Monday, July 9, 2007

New cartoon polls: Are they really necessary?

A couple of weeks ago I found out that my cartoon "Cafe con Leche" was among several cartoons that were placed in an online reader poll. According to the newspaper, which ever cartoon that garnered the most votes from 'readers' would be added to their comics section. These cartoon polls are a growing trend with daily newspapers and it seems that feature editors are unwilling to just make the decision for themselves. I've worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years and I know the challenges that newspapers face each day. Still, it just seems like a double-standard. I have never seen a reader poll for selecting a syndicated columnist. Also, these 'reader polls' can be manipulated. If its an online poll, and most are, that leaves the decision of selecting a new feature up to those in cyberspace. Basically, a cartoonist can simply forward emails to freinds, family, and coworkers to vote for him/her. Kudos to the smaller circulation papers, though. I don't remember the last time I've seen a cartoon reader poll in a newspaper with a circulation less than 50,000.

Friday, July 6, 2007

A Flurry of Ideas

I did my ususal routine this morning: took my morning run up the West Side Hwy., ran into Starbucks (sweating heavily) for my morning coffee and muffin, took a shower. Then, suddenly in the middle of the shower, cartoon ideas came flowing like the stream from the shower head. Ridiculous as it sounds, I hopped out of the shower and jotted down as many as I could. All of these ideas were for my cartoon Cafe con Leche. I guess after being here for almost a week ideas are starting to come at a fast rate. I can't give you details about these ideas, but I can tell you that they're good! And constroversial. But not the Aaron MacGruder definition of controversial. Good stuff though. I think.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Black cartoonists (revisited)

Thanks a reply from dd dreg (good looking out, yo) I was finally able to get a partial list of the black cartoonists out there. Here's what I have so far...

Morrie Turner
Robb Armstrong
Keith Knight
Stephen Bentley
Darrin Bell
Cory Thomas
Steve Watkins
Ray Billingsley
Barbara Brandon
Jerry Craft
Charles Boyce
And me, Charlos Gary

Thats 12 cartoonists. Of that those on that Iist, I only know Jerry Craft. Hopefully, I'll get to meet all of them some day.
Twelve is a small number, yet that's still more that the number of Latino, Asian and female cartoonist out there. In a country of such diversity why is that reflected in the funny pages?

Post-4th hangover

Well, I went out and saw the fireworks and took it easy on the cartooning for a day. All of us standing on an overpass of the FDR got completely soaked waiting for Mayor Bloomberg to get the party started. It was about a half hour late, but it happened. I saw a hot dog vendor from Egypt totally lose it at the sight of synchronized fireworks cascading back to earth. It made me realize how many of us gringos take that kind of stuff for granted.
Now I find myself trying to make up for lost time on the cartooning front. Back to business as usual I guess. Not that I'm complaining or anything. As I stood on that rain-soaked overpass, I hoped that I would get inspired by the mass of humanity to each direction of me. I got jack. Oh, well, back to the drawing board (literally).

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July

Taking a break today. Enjoy the fireworks!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dissed by chat board

I was reading an internet message board a while back (February or so). Creators Syndicate was just introducing my cartoon "Cafe con Leche" to their website with a month-long sneak preview. I was appalled to read personal attacks on this message board. Most were cartoonists and they were dissin' my strip left and right. One of them was a recognizable cartoonist, though I won't mention names. I thought the whole thing was silly, though it did piss me off a bit. I guess what I'm asking is where is the unity among cartoonists, particulaly those of color? Boondocks goes off the shelf, and suddenly the rest of us go into diss-mode about the next cartoon. It kinda reminded me of the whole Biggie vs. Tupac thing. A lot a beef, but nothing else. Everybody is talented, otherwise do you think we'd be syndicated? As a cat who knows what its like to stay up till 3 am just not to miss a deadline, I sympathize with all of my fellow toonists.

Studying incognito

Just finished a couple of cartoons this morning and realized that all of my pens are worn down. Man, I really go through those things fast these days. I'm headed to the 1 train uptown to get some more later on.
Which reminds me. I was on the subway the other day watching people interact and took copious notes. Lots of subject matter for Cafe Con Leche on the train, so why not take notes? I tried my best not to offend anybody, but this stuff is good!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Where are the black cartoonists?

I was thinking the other day that there are only a handful of African-American syndicated cartoonists. I'm guessing that there are less than 10 of us currently syndicated, and the numbers keep getting smarter. I went to the reception of the National Cartoonist Society (NCS) Rubens Awards ceremony and didn't find another minority face. Pretty sad. I was hoping to bump into Morrie Turner or Robb Armstrong. Didn't find another brutha except the one in the mirror. It was a messed up situation. I have to do more research on the topic, but if anybody knows of the actual number I'd really like to know.

Missing the Comic Con

I regret to say that I will NOT be attending the annual ComicCon International convention in San Diego later this month. I went last year and had a blast! Lots of stuff to do and tons of people from the comic industry. Though it seems geared toward the comic book enthusiast its still a fun time. I fully planned to attend most of the forums there, especially the black cartoonist forum. I certainly hope that I can make next year. In case you're interested in hearing more about the event, here's their link....

About Trey

Today I'll attempt to draw at least 3 Cafe Con Leche comic strips. Since I don't have the daily gig in my way, I hope to get lots done. CCL is a really personal comic strip to me because much of its subject matter is based on actual events that have happened in my life, which often makes it difficult to draw. The lead character Trey is an African-American professional who grew up in the inner-city and is just realizing that his entire world has changed. Just having married his new South American wife, Trey is still trying to balance the corporate world and his inner city roots. Not to mention the challenges of a new marriage. Having live most of that scenario I can tell you that it can be quite stressful.

Starting my day

Just woke up this morning thinking about topics for my cartoons and I'm coming up with nada. I need to take a walk over to Starbucks with my new Starbucks card that was given to me by someone special. I'm hoping that walking the city streets can inspire me to create wonderful things for "Cafe con Leche." The cartoon is about a biracial couple, so what better place to examine multicultral life than New York?
I can't afford to park my car in my apartment building (I'm just not going to pay $450 per month), so I'm going to New Jersey to find a parking space. Much cheaper over there, but its just wierd to have my car in Jersey while I'm here in the city. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Charlostoons store is now open

Hey, just in case you're interested in buying "Working It Out" or "Cafe con Leche" related items (mugs etc) the new Charlostoons store is now open on Cafe Press. Go ahead, buy some stuff.


Whew! I can't tell what a relief it is not to have to worry about doing double-duty as a graphic artist/cartoonist. This is my second day officially on sabattical from my day job at the St. Petersburg Times. In addition to that job, I also draw two daily cartoons, which leaves me with zero free time and absolutely no social life. Today I woke up and drew 3 "Working It Out" cartoons and still had time to enjoy the day. That's strange to me. Usually I spend my Sundays trapped in my studio from morning till midnight. Very, very cool. I managed to get three cartoons done today. I'll to do more tomorrow.

Profiled in NYC

As I start my 1-month long sojourn into full-time cartooning here in New York, I can't help to notice how many times I have been profiled in the last 24 hours. I'm staying in the apartment of a white associate, in one of most least diverse apartment buildings that in the city. All of the doormen seem to think that I don't belong in the building and always question my motives for even stepping foot in their locale. The most frustrating part of all of this is that ALL of these doormen are ethnic minorities, just like me. Clearly, these fellas don't have mirror in their own homes. Somehow I believe that this latest episode in my life will make its way into my comic strip "Cafe con Leche." I'll keep you posted.


Just took moved to New York to spend 1 month doing nothing but drawing cartoons. Very very exciting time. I had spent the last 5 years or so doing double-duty as a newspaper graphic artist and cartoonist. This is the first time in my life that I have ever dedicated myself entirely to drawing my two cartoons.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Day 1 of my first blog. Everything you need to know about my cartoons "Working It Out" and "Cafe con Leche," plus so much more.