Monday, December 29, 2008

Back in the District


After spending a few days in sun-drenched Florida I began to dread my trip how to Washington because I knew what would be waiting for me: Gray skies. It didn't disappoint. Winter is here, and so is the nasty winter weather. Don't get me wrong, I love the snow and the cold weather, its the gray skies I can do without. Don't even get me started on the drizzle.
How can a brutha get inspired to draw cartoons when its so miserable outside? Luckily there's a few Starbucks in walking distance of my apartment, so at least I can drown my sorrow with a hot latte.
I had some fun down in Florida. I got to meet a few nieces that I didn't know and it was good hanging out with them. But don't get me wrong, I truly missed being in the Northeast. I took a much needed break from cartooning and focused on relaxing. Well, that's over. With the new year comes new ideas for cartoons. I'm going to try to be optimistic this year like my old friend Rick Tuma (cause I know you're reading this blog entry).
I'm also optimistic because "hope" and "change" arrives here in DC in a few short days. The inauguration site is just a few short blocks from my apartment and I'll try to make it to the National Mall if I can.
Enough with the rambling. Its time to go to bed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The holiday season

Man, I can't believe that its Christmas time already. That means standing in lines at department stores looking for gifts and such. That means taking another flight back to Florida and battling my siblings for a piece of my mother's world-famous sweet potato pie. It also means literally battling my brothers in the annual Gary Family wrestling matches. Way to much testosterone for me.
I'm looking forward to the break, though. Since coming to Washington I've been working non-stop. Cartoons in the morning at the Washington Times at night. I'm planning on not drawing a single cartoon while I'm down there, but you never know. Looking forward to hearing my mother's stories about whatever. Looking forward to smacking my brother up side the head. Looking forward to seeing special people that I haven't seen in a while.
And looking forward to coming back to DC.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some year end thoughts

Hello all:

As I approach the end of 2008 I can't help but reflect on what a difficult year it has been for me personally. First off, like a lot of folks, I was hit extremely hard by the economic slump. I lost my day job at the St. Petersburg Times mostly because of budget concerns back in May. I was very hard for me and strange because I saw it coming but still couldn't react in time. Then there was my divorce in July. My now ex-wife and I formally parted ways in mid July, which was way more difficult that I thought it was going to be. Divorce is hard enough, but when you bundle that with unemployment it becomes a nightmare.
After that came 5 months of unemployment. I think that was the worst part of the whole year. I had never been unemployed so long in my adult life and to tell you the truth it was downright scary. Everybody has an idea of how they'd cope with unemployment if it happened but I gotta tell you that it truly sucked.
Throughout this whole thing I started to lose a bit of my self. I remember not being very motivated to draw cartoons. Ironically it was cartooning that help pull me out of it. Doing two cartoons kept my mind occupied so that I didn't wallow too deep into my own self-pity and loathing. It gave me something to do during the day and that was important for the recovery process.
On a happier note the year ended on the rebound. I found another day job at the Washington Times, and I'm thankful for that. I also decided to up my skills by taking Flash and Dreamweaver courses at the Corcoran School of Art. For the first time in a long time I'm actually feeling optimistic. Here's to hoping that 2009 is better than '08. It certainly can't get any worse.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to school

'Sup, all?

I know that I haven't written a damn thing in a very very long time but things have been quite tough lately. I've started to adjust to life in DC and to my job at the Times. Finding time to draw my two strips isn't tough. Fortunately I'm on the late shift, which frees up my mornings for cartoon-related endeavors.
Being unemployed in NYC last summer taught me a valuable lesson: Skills should be constantly updated. Which is why I am happy to announce that I'm officially enrolled at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC starting January. I was shocked at the price for the class but I consider the whole thing an investment in my future. I'm taking an extensive Flash course which meets once a week for 4 and a half hours for 4 months. I gotta say I'm absolutely thrilled to be taking this course.
I'm so looking forward to using my new skills and exploring everything I learn.
I plan on taking more courses in the future, but I want to get this big one out of the way. More later.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kinda sick

Hello all:
I've been fighting this nasty cold that I received courtesy of one of my co-workers. It hasn't stopped me from cartooning, but I've been sleeping a ton. Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but times have been difficult. Will discuss later.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out there and vote!

Today is the day! Today is the culmination of a very historic election season and I'm pretty excited about it. Unless a total catastrophe happens it appears that it will be Barack Obama. I've never seen people so energized for an election in my lifetime. I'll be at work when history takes place, but rest assured I'll have my eyes glued on the many TV sets in the newsroom. I think I'll call my father (if he's still up) tonight. He is a veteran of the Civil Rights era and watched as the world morned the assination of Martin Luther King. He told me that he would never see a black person elected president in his lifetime. I hope that he's wrong tonight.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just voted!

Greetings everyone!
I just filled out my absentee ballot and could be happier! I'm not usually that excited about elections, but this one is different. After eight years of a sagging economy, 2 wars and shoddy leadership, I voted for the smart guy. It's also refreshing to know that we could have our first African-American president in the White House.
As a young boy, I remember my father telling me stories of Dr. Martin Luther King and how things were back in the day. He would often tell me that he didn't think he'd see the day when America elected an African American for president. I know that he's probably smiling right now.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not voting for Obama just because he's African-American. We've had black people run for president before. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Alan Keyes. All of those dudes were highly unqualified clowns. I didn't give them a second thought. But now comes this dude with grand ideas of turning the country around. A guy who is trying to unify the nation instead of dividing it. This can only be good news for America. I got nothing against McCain. He seems like a real patriotic guy and, of course, a war hero.
But I think that America is looking for change. And he ain't it.

End of an era

Just got an email last week saying that longtime Editor & Publisher editor David Astor was laid off. I took it kinda hard because I saw David as a friend of our industry, and a friend of mine. Nobody covered syndication and cartoonist like Dave. As a budding cartoonist, I always read his columns. I thought that a sure sign of success would be to appear in one of his writing. Well, I did, and I have to thank David for help jump-starting my career. As many of you know, I myself was laid off (also know as 'fired') from the St. Petersburg Times last May, so I can really relate. It just makes me wonder what is going to happen to the publishing industry as a whole. We saw this train coming years ago but now its finally pulled into the station. I'm hoping that David can land on his feet really soon. You will be missed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Diss N' That" makes a return

Morning, all:
After several years of hiatus, I'm going to start drawing my 'Diss N That' cartoon again for selected minority and alternative publications. It originally appeared in the Chicago Defender 4 years back when CNN's Roland Martin was editor. They were having some financial problems, so I pulled the cartoon. I've had some recent inquiries about it and its back, though I'm only going to draw 2 panels per week. The idea behind it is that readers write or email their best "Yo Mama" jokes (or "Snaps as we call them) and I illustrate the best ones and give the reader full credit for the caption. It's like reader/audience participation. I grew up lobbing "snaps" at unsuspecting victims on the school bus. Now if I can just find time to squeeze in 2 more cartoons to my already hectic toon schedule.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What the hell is a race card?

So, I was walking around in downtown DC with my tall, blonde friend. We spotted a wallet on a corner and decided to investigate. We check it a and found about $90 in cash an an array of credit cards. We immediately wanted to return it to its owner, but decided to find the closest police station.
We both noticed a very uptight looking white dude in a gray power-suit staring at us and shaking his head. My friend jokingly tells him that we weren't stealing the wallet and we were looking for its rightful owner. The uptight dude sarcastically replies "sure you are." Hearing this, I turn to the dude with more sarcasm. I tell him "Well, its a good thing I didn't pick up the wallet. Being a brutha, you probably would have called the police on the spot.'' Now at this point I usually get an uncomfortable grin or maybe an eye-roll from my Caucasian counterparts. But this dude looks at me and my beautiful white female friend and dead-pans… "Now you're pulling out the race card."

What the hell?!

Do people even talk like that? I was floored. Race card? Is that something that us minorities keep in our pockets and pull out to the bemusement of uptight white politicians? I was speechless, which isn't easy for me. DC is certainly a very strange place. I stated scratching my head about the whole "race card" thing. Do white people pull out the "white card" when it comes to racial profiling by police? Absurd statement, I know, but now you're getting the gist of what I was thinking. I've heard this term used to politicians like Jesse Jackson et al, but I was just a dude on the street corner. Somehow I've got to work this one into my cartoon "Cafe con Leche."
Any thoughts?

Friday, October 3, 2008

On the bus again

I'm sitting on the bus with the a lovely you woman named Jolie on my way to New York. It's Friday morning and I'm on my way to New York. With $40 round trip fares I'll be going back to the City more often. I had a pretty cool but rough second week at the Washington Times. There's still lots to learn, but I'm getting the hang of it. Drawing cartoons would seem to be a challenge, but so far so good. I've drawn all of my "Cafe con Leche" cartoons for the week and I'll be finishing up "Working It Out" while in NYC.
I'm really starting to like Washington, but I'll never get used to one aspect of the joint: Rampant slowness. People who know me also know that I move at a pretty rapid pace. It's just my nature. I do well in places like New York, San Francisco and Miami. But here in DC I had to hit the brakes a bit. People take their time with everything, which drives me crazy (I shouldn't have to wait a full minute at a traffic light). I mean, people really move at a snail's pace. St. Petersburg, Florida and Columbus, Ohio shouldn't be faster-paced cities than Washington, DC, but they are. Sad, I know.
My saving grace is my neighborhood. The pace is a bit normal and it's quite urban. I absolutely love it. The surrounding there help me focus on drawing my cartoon. I would compare it to Hell's Kitchen in NYC or River North in Chicago. Very busy, but nice.
Anyways, I'm in dire need of a cup of coffee. Hasta la proxima vez que te escribo!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday night

I'm sitting here at Busboys having a chicken quesadilla and chatting with this lovely young blonde woman named Laura. Just another day in DC. I'm here because the apartment where I'm staying has doesn't get very good signal for internet connection. I'm looking forward to moving into my new downtown apartment.
My first week at the Times was good but now I think things are picking up. We're doing a lot of Washington-related graphics due to the bailout and the bad economy.
Speaking of politics, I can't help but feel sorry for Sarah Palin. Yes, I'm a card-carrying liberal Democrat, but even I was saddened a bit seeing here sit there in front of Katie Couric. The deer-in-the-headlights expression said it all. It all reminds me of the Katherine Harris situation, only without the gaudy makeup. A person who is not quite ready for the spotlight suddenly put on the national stage. I'm curious as to what is going to happen to here after McCain loses (yes, I said it).
Enough of politics, I have some cartoons to draw.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More on DC

Well, I'm here at Busboys and Poets again having a lunch before I go to my job at the Times. I managed to get a few cartoons done this morning, so I'm doing okay. My back is killing me, though. I injured it sitting in the wrong position last week while drawing cartoons. Getting old really sucks!
DC has been fine so far. Still miss New York, though. I don't think that's gonna change. Thankfully I'll be going to the City a couple of times per month. That should keep me plugged in. I'm still in search of viable housing in the District. This weekend I'm going over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood to check out a few joints. Should be fun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Settling in to DC

Morning all:

I'm sitting at this quaint cafe on DC's Northwest side aptly named "Busboys and Poets." It's quickly becoming my favorite DC spot. Very hip place with a bookstore in the back and regular poetry slams. It looks kinda like a place you'll find in the East Village on NYC, but a lot more diverse.
I'm recovering from my first day of work at the Times. There is a huge learning curve there, but I think I'll be find. They're in the middle of the political season which really gets me going since I'm a retired editorial cartoonist. Finding time to do my cartoons isn't going to be difficult because of my work schedule.
I haven't found proper housing yet, but I'm thinking about settling in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It reminds me of Queens: quiet but urban. That's all for now. Back to my vegan chili.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Media shout-outs...

I just gotta give some shout-outs to Dave Astor of Editor and Publisher and Alan Gardner of the Daily Cartoonist. Both wrote very nice pieces about my struggles finding work and my new job with the TWT. It's nice to know that some of my media homies are looking out for me.
On that note, I'd also like to give shouts out to media friends Matt Waite and Rick Tuma. You really know who is in your corner when the chips are down. Thanks fellas.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who knew?

I had no idea that people actually read this blog (besides Rick, that is). I've been getting all kinds of responses from people wishing me luck on my new gig in DC. I want to be clear though that be doing informational graphics at the Times. I'll still be doing my regular syndicated cartoons on my own time, but hopefully trying something new. I'm in the process of learning Flash and hopefully I'll be applying it to online graphics at the Times AND my cartoons. Very soon you should be seeing some Flash animations of both "Working It Out" and "Cafe con Leche" on this blog.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The big 4-0

Yep, today is my birthday. Can't believe that I'm 40, but that's life. I really can't say that I'm freaking out like my father did when he turned 40. Maybe its because I've been so busy in the last few months. Or maybe its because I don't see 40 as such a big deal. Everybody keeps telling me that it should be a big deal, but I'm not seeing it.
I look around and see the actors entertainers that have also turned 40 this year: Will Smith, LL Cool J, Marc Anthony and Terrance Howard. They don't see old to me. I guess things are different than my father's era. Is 40 the new 30? Obviously not. That's just some saying that old cats say. Forty is the old forty.
Moving on...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Explanation of the post below

Sorry I couldn't elaborate on my last post, but a very nosy lady was sitting next to me on the train and reading every word that I typed. So I switched to Spanish. She got the message and looked away.
Anywho, I'm in the process of moving my stuff to Washington DC. I start my new job on Sept. 22. Half of my stuff is in Florida, the other half is in New York. Gotta take another trip down there I guess. Tomorrow is the BIG DAY. Birthday number 4-0. Whoopie! Time to call the proctologist. And, to think, I spent half my life trying to stick it to "The Man."
Turnabout is fair play.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back to the City

On the train coming back from Washington. The following will be in Spanish....

Yo no puedo hablar ni chatear ahora porque hay una vieja a mi lado leyendo todo lo que escribo y me siento incomodo. As es cuando viajando por tren.

I'll tranlate later.

No longer unemployed

At last! After about 4 months without a full time job I finally landed a gig with the Washington Times. I'm on the train right now headed to Washington to look for an apartment. This has been a very difficult summer for me but now I'm looking forward to a steady paycheck. I was very concerned about working in the print journalism field again but I'm hoping for the best. I am not leaving New York City totally in the rear view mirror. I plan on going back a few times per month to keep my contacts there. It's an easy train ride.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fall fashion week

Anybody who knows me really well knows that I'm a fashion buff. That's why I'm so stoked that fashion week has arrived in New York City! Thousands of designers, models, celebrities, (Diddy) buyers and fashionistas have descended on the Big Apple to participate in this event. Now, if I could only score tickets (or credentials) to the tents at Bryant Park. Hmmm.....
You're prolly wondering how fashion relates to cartooning. It doesn't! And that's great! I think that if I didn't go into news art I'd probably be some kinda of fashion designer. I'll probably still make it to midtown to see all the celebs and such. Maybe for just one day. Who knows, maybe I can even catch a glance a glimpse of a "supermodel" like Adriana Lima (pictured above). Se cuida.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mr. Gary goes to Washington

In my ongoing quest for steady employment I've decided to look outside of the Metro NYC area. Right now I am in the middle of New Jersey on an Amtrak train on my way to Washington DC. I have a job interview lined up for later on today. I had to hustle a bit over the weekend to get my cartoons done. DC is only 2 and a half hours from NYC, so going back on the occasional weekend trip will be easy. We'll see how this goes. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last days in the studio

Well, this is my final week in my Queens studio. I'm currently searching for more (cheaper) art studio space within the city or Jersey. I'm going to miss being over there. I got lots of cartoon work done and the neighborhood is great. But I'm starting to get used to changes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting Better

Looks like things are looking up on the job front. As many of you know I've been chronicling my foray into the job market for some time. After four long months of unemployment and dwindling savings, things are finally starting to look better. I don't know if its inspired by the upcoming presidential election or what, but the general mood of the job market is changing. After months of applying for thousands of jobs I'm finally starting to get some very serious responses. I've been going on a few interviews in the last couple of weeks and have a couple lined up for this week. That's progress!
I was starting wonder if my cell phone actually worked.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Taking a break

Blogging from down in Florida awaiting tomorrow's flight back to New York. Came down here to recharge my batteries a bit after some very grueling weeks. I can't remember when I've drawn more cartoons than I have recently. My only thought is that things have to get better soon. I surely don't want to burn out on cartoons, but I seem to be heading in that direction. So this mini break probably came at a good time. It's funny how not drawing a cartoon for a few days makes me feel a bit imbalanced.
It's kind of like a drug. At this point in my life it feels like something that I must do to keep my sanity. It's how I remember who I am. Sort of addictive. Hey, everybody has their addictions, and mine is cartoons.
The bad thing about this little mini-vacation to Florida is that I arrived in the middle of the stupid Tropical Storm. Where's the sun? It was sunnier in New York City when I left. Odd that New York has better weather than Florida.
Enough of this. I gotta get myself prepared for the flight in the morning. Still haven't packed, but I'm a chronic procrastinator.

Friday, August 15, 2008

At the Employment office

So, I'm sitting here at the employment office waiting for my name to be called. I'm sitting next to a lovely lady named Henny who's also looking. Pretty sad situation, but I'm pulling along. I'll have more about this later.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Art imitating life

Funny thing happened on the way to the employment office...
So, I'm in my third month of unemployment after being let go from the St. Petersburg Times. Well, not officially "unemployed" since I still get draw cartoons for money, but I feels that way. The pressure of not having steady income can be a burden to most folks, particularly those who live a place like New York City.
After contemplating drinking my misery away, I decided to draw about it. I am currently writing the scripts for next months' "Cafe con Leche" cartoons, which will feature the lead character "Trey" dealing with being suddenly unemployed and having to rely on his wife "Maria." I can't tell you what exactly will happen in the cartoon yet. All I can say is that some of the material hits home in a big way. Freelancing for 3 months has taught me a great many things, including the fact that EVERYTHING that happens in my real life can be fodder for my cartoons.
I really can't complain too much. I know of several unemployed people who have it much worse that I do. I have savings and a steady freelance income, some people do not. Guess I'm thankful for the things that I do have.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Busy Busy

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately. I've been extremely busy with drawing my cartoons and promoting my work lately. It's a non-stop job promoting stuff. Hit ya back later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Marketing day

Today I'm starting my day by making publicity cards for my cartoon "Cafe con Leche." I found out a long time ago that as an artist, you have to be part entrepreneur. Ask any syndicated cartoonist not named Scott Adams and they'll tell you that you can't rely on the syndicate alone to promote your stuff. While I do appreciate what they do, it's also a smart idea do help yourself. Particularly with "Cafe con Leche," a cartoon about a bi-racial couple. Well, I'm off to the the post office. Crossing my fingers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Locked out

I spent most of today and yesterday locked out of my Queens studio. I finally had the good sense to call a locksmith, not realizing that locksmiths are as reliable as used cars here in the QB. I spent hours just sitting on the curb waiting for locksmiths to show up. One finally did today, but I not cartoons done yesterday. I hate wasted days.
The locksmith had to change the lock on the door. I'll have to email the guy I'm subletting from that his key will no longer work. Such is life, I guess. The good news is that I have a pretty promising interview for a day job next week. As most know, I've been sans-day job for about 2 months. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I need something to support this nasty cartooning habit. It truly is like a drug, not that I'd know anything about that subject(wink wink).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An "Ugly" encounter

Very strange things happen in New York City. Case in point...
Yesterday I ascended from the E-train on my way to my studio in Queens when I saw a bunch of TV cameras all over the place. People were gathered around the block to take a peek at what the hell was going on. This is weird, since Queens folks could see a dead body laying in the middle of an intersection and wouldn't care. I asked one of the camera dudes what was happening. He told me that they were filming part of an episode for the TV show "Ugly Betty." Apparently they were filming right at the corner of 23rd and 44th rd. inside of the Palace Fried Chicken joint (which is a dump). I didn't get it. Of all the places to film in L.I.C. they picked the Palace?
I've eaten there and got all kinds of heart burn. Grease truly is the word. Like any curious person I stuck around for a few minutes but had to retreat to my studio to get some work done. Strange because I've never seen so many celebrities in my life. Since moving here I've seen a top model, Lou Dobbs, and now the "Ugly Betty" cast. Oh, well, back to work.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm back!

Sorry for the extended delay, but I had to take care of a few loose ends back in Florida. I'm back in my Queens studio today with renewed energy to create some decent cartoons.
I've been reading a lot of industry news lately and it seems that the newspaper cartoonist is in danger, particularly the editorial cartoonist. With the advent of the web and syndication I've been seeing editorial cartoonists' jobs drop like flies. As newspapers contract one of the first positions deemed 'disposable' is the cartoonist.
Comics page cartoonists aren't faring any better. We're seeing comic pages shrink all over the place, leaving limited space for cartoons. I've been trying to help myself out with freelance lately and I feel that might be the way to go for a while. At least until we all learn Flash.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

At the airport

I'm here at JFK Airport in beautiful Jamaica, Queens NYC. Well, it's not so beautiful. I'm on my way to Florida to visit my mother and take care of a few nasty legal things down there. Pardon me if I make a few typos, there's an older lady sitting next to me trying her best to lean over and take a peek at what the hell I'm doing.
This trip doesn't come at a great time because I'm still adjusting my life up the in the City. I'm going to miss my morning runs up and down Central Park. Which reminds me, I was pretty annoyed yesterday morning. There were a ton of barricades all over the place due to the Bon Jovi concert in the park. I could barely run, which sucked. Oh, well, such is life.
Hope to get some of my mother's down-home cooking and maybe some of her down-home advice on some things.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trying new things

In the past few days, I've been doing other freelance work to supplement my income. I just finished a cartoon for Playboy magazine, which hopefully will run someday. I also went back to my editorial cartoonist roots. You see, before Cafe con Leche and Working It Out, I was an editorial cartoonist. I would frequently submit work to the Chicago Tribune when I worked there as a graphic artist. Sometimes they would run it. Didn't get paid for it though (that was a mistake).
Well, here's a new cartoon that I draw which I'm submitting to publications here in the tri-state area. Hope you like it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rough day

Just getting over a rough day of cartooning and job searching. I heard that the weather was wonderful here in the city. Too bad I didn't get to enjoy it much. Went to a job fair down on 18th St. (at 6th). Pretty much sucked. Literally back to the drawing board. Talking to Skyy at the moment. I'll check back witcha later.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chill time

After a very tough day I'm sitting here on a couch with a very beautiful lady. Can't beat that (I guess). I had a friend of mine recently stay in my art studio. That was some hectic stuff. Fortunately we went and blew off some steam by drinking copious amounts of alcohol at the L.I.C. Bar last night. Didn't think about cartoons at all. Okay, I'm lying.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Party Time!!

Tonight, after I finish a few cartoons, I'm going over to the Graphic Artist Guild (GAG) function.. It's the big ICON 5 party being held at Rosie O'Grady's on 52n'd. It's mostly a networking thing, but it's supposed to be fun. They did specify that they have an open bar. That's all I needed to know. I hope to find so good connections there, or at least have a good time. If you're looking for me, I'll be the guy holding the gin and tonic.

Giving credit to an Orlando institution

I don't if you have noticed, but this week's batch of "Cafe con Leche" cartoons have centered around Trey's 20-year high school reunion. I decided to name the fictional high school in the comic strip after an actual school in Orlando's inner-city: Jones High. I think I've blogged about this in the past, but it had a reputation of being pretty rough. I thought that I'd give it some credit this week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blog name change

As some of you may have noticed by now (I'm talking to you, Rick) I recently decide to change the name of this blog from "Charlos Toons" to "The Charlos Chronicle." After thinking about it for a while, I decided that "The Charlos Chronicle" was more fitting due to the fact the I am chronicling my life as a freelance cartoonist in New York. I thought that it was appropriate. I included the subhead "because cartooning ain't nothing but a hustle" because that how I really feel. As much as I love being a syndicated cartoonist, the reality is that it's a business. Basically an old-fashioned hustle. I'd like to hear what you think about the new changes.

Clowning around

Just got back from an interview in midtown for an sportswear company. The interview went good, I think. I'm spending the rest of the day scanning cartoons and thinking about ideas for future cartoons. In the meantime, I'm here in my studio clowning around. Shot this pic before my interview.

Interview day

Well, today is the day. I have to leave my Fortress of Solitude (aka my Queens studio) to interview for a freelance gig over in Manhattan. This seems oddly strange, since I haven't gone on an actual interview in about 3 years. The company wants me to do some cartoon illustrations for them, which shouldn't be a problem. Now I have to get some cartoon work done before I have to jump on the E train and head back to midtown.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The LIC studio

Today I'm busy arranging things in my new studio in Long Island City, Queens NYC. It's actually a very cool studio space complete with a wonderful view of the Queensboro Bridge and Manhattan. The studio is actually bigger in size than my living space. That's New York for you. Every artist need to be inspired and views inspire me. I'm sure that I'll be drawing tons of cartoons with this kind of view, just not today.
Got my first freelance job interview. I guess that's good news. A manhattan company wants me to do some cartoon illustrations for them. We'll see how that goes.
Getting a bit hungry, so I'm headed down to Vernon Blvd. to look for a hot meal.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New York morning

Well, It's Sunday morning and its hot as hell! Thought I'd left the heat and humidity back in Florida. I have about 12 cartoons to process this weekend, but I'll prolly get them done by Sunday morning. Got freelance job interview next week. Yay! If it wasn't for freelance gigs and my monthly cartoonist royalty I'd be done for. Life if kinda different now that I don't have a full-time gig. Fortunately the other "starving-artists" in and around the neighborhood remind me that I'm not alone in this. It's good to be a part of a movement, I guess.
I found a new art supply store yesterday. I used to go to Pearl on Canal St. but got tired of climbing 5 flights of stairs to get what I want, not to mention the mindless tourists hanging around. I'm now going to the oddly-named Blicks. Technically its in Village, but has more of a SoHo feel. Good stuff, cheap prices and no stairs! My kinda art store.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Queens adventure

Well, I'm officially a starving artist now. Complete with my own art studio. I just rented a 400 sq. ft. art studio in the Long Island City (L.I.C.) neighborhood of Queens. I have a lovely view of the Queensboro Bridge and you can see the Manhattan skyline at night. It's a wonderful space filled with artists. The neighborhood is kinda cool too. I'm just 2 blocks from the Q'boro. On the other side of the bridge is New York's largest housing project called "The Queensbridge projects," home such hip-hoppers as Nas (new school) and Marley Marl (Old school). To the south of me, along Vernon Blvd. is the ultra-yuppie section of L.I.C called "Queens West." Lots of luxury hi-rise over there, but some fine eateries too. If you're ever in the area you can always find me drinking a pint of something at Domenies Hoek or L.I.C Bar, both on Vernon Blvd.
Around the corner from me along Jackson Ave. is the great "5 points" art studios. The place is recognizable from the subway due to all of the grafitti on the walls. Across the street from there is the PS1 museum of art. Good stuff there. Up Vernon (past the projects) is the Noguchi gardens museum. Also VERY cool.
I guess I lucked out on the neighborhood front. Now I just need to pay the rent.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Aching feet

Well, I finally got the nerve to stand in line at the NYC DMV to get my new license. Four hours later I had it. I must've walked 6 miles on the hard concrete today, in nice shoes. I'm here trying to come up with a cartoon Idea but all I want to do is soak my feet in water. I guess I'm becoming soft in my old age.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Scaring the piss out of Lou Dobbs

You know, the strangest things happen to me here in New York City. A few weeks back I ran into one of "America's Next Top Models" on the uptown "Q" train at 14th Street. Today a much different story. After a long day of running errands, I decided to go in the Whole Foods store in Columbus Circle. That's right, black people shop at Whole Foods too!
Anyways, I loaded my cart with three bags of good and readied myself for the long trip uptown. As I exited the store on 58th Street, I spotted Lou Dobbs fiddling with his Blackberry. It's hard to miss a tall, gray-haired dude in an expensive suit walking down 58th. I stopped for a moment just to make sure it was him. I ran to catch up with him, tapped him on the shoulder (like a dumbass) and said "Hey, aren't you Lou Dobbs?" I swear, based on his reaction he probably thought that I was trying to mug him. He seemed dazed, but snapped back into focus once he realized that I had no interest in snatching his wallet.
He replied "yes, yes I am." I didn't want to seem like a moron, so I tried to make it brief. I said "You're that "Mr. Independent" guy, right?" What I REALLY wanted to say was ", why do you hate Mexicans so much?" I didn't have the heart to tell him that I had already done a cartoon about his Mexican-hating antics in "Cafe con Leche" earlier this year.
He seemed like a cool guy, though. After realizing that I actually watched him on CNN he seemed to brighten up. There's gotta be a cartoon idea in all of this.

Settling In again

Well, I finally made it to New York City. I'm here looking outside of my apartment window uptown on a dreary New York morning thinking about planning my day. Tons of things to do, but I still need to get at least 3 cartoons done today, which will be difficult. I have to remember that alternate-side parking is still in effect city wide, otherwise get my car towed. Lots to do. I'll check back in later.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I spent much of the day packing my stuff for the move to the city. The moving van comes tomorrow and it seems like my whole life is sitting in boxes. I can't make a "straight" move just yet. Most of my stuff will be sitting at a storage facility in Pinellas Park, Florida until I can get everything moved up. I must have thrown away a third of my stuff today. I guess it was time.
I tried to get as caught up with my cartoons as possible. The next time that I'll get a chance to draw will be on Monday, so I think I'm fine.
On a different note, I just learned that the "Single and Looking" cartoon by Matt Janz has ended. I was really rooting for it because it was so different. It didn't look like anything else in the comics pages. I guess that's how things are going in the newspaper industry.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Morning Joe

Good morning. I'm sitting here at The Junction coffee house on the corner of MacDill & Bay View Ave. in South Tampa. You gotta try their egg crossoint (tasty). I'm just coming down from the euphoria of yesterday's "Mr. Media" interview. It feels really good to have your work validated by the guys who draw "Hagar the Horrible" and "Curtis."
More drawing ahead of me today but I gotta start thinking about closing things out for my upcoming move. I haven't yet forwarded my mail or closed out accounts. I guess I'm just lazy (or apathetic). I'm in the process of looking for an agent to represent my work. Freelancing can be tough unless you got somebody to watch your back (theoretically).
Well, back to the coffee....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My "Mr Media" interview

What a blast! Just got off the phone with Bob Andelman (aka Mr. Media). The interview as a fantastic experience. Got to chat with some legends of the industry who actually said that they liked "Cafe con Leche." I learned so much about the industry just from that 30 minute conversation. Thanks a bunch, Bob.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Saluting Tampa Bay

As many of you know I am moving from Tampa to New York in the coming weeks. I have never been a huge fan of the Tampa Bay area, with it's lack of cultural events and a non-existent arts scene. However, I've grown to actually enjoy a few things about living here. Reflecting on things, here are a few things I'm gonna miss...

1.) The beaches (though I never went)
2.) Jogging along Bay Shore Blvd. Among my favorite places to run in the country.
3.) South Tampa.
4.) Outlet Malls.
5.) Old Hyde Park
6.) Cory the dog
7.) Publix supermarkets
8.) Hillsborough Bay

Things that I'm definitely NOT going to miss...

1.) Rednecks/confederate flags/pickup trucks
2.) Slowness.
3.) The heat (and humidity).
4.) Lack of diversity.
5.) Greasy southern food (fried this, deep fried that, batter-dipped....)
6.) Bugs, flying insects.
7.) Flip-flops
8.) The Gasparilla Parade (aka "the poor man's Mardi Gras")

That said, I've dedicated this week's "Cafe con Leche" to all-things Florida. The first installation is above.

Friday, June 6, 2008

100th blog entry

I'm sitting here at the Starbucks on 145th street in NYC on a chilly and dreary day. I'm supposed to go back and start drawing new stuff for my "Cafe con Leche" cartoon but I'm just not in the mood. That never stops me though, I'm probably still going to get about 4 cartoons done today. Today I'm going to take a break from the foot-pounding job search. I've applied for a ton of jobs online and registered with a bunch of creative employment services around the city. I only have a few more days here until I jet back to Tampa to start the process of packing things up. That means that I have to get a ton of cartoons done before my move 2 weeks from now. Whew! I think I'll get it done. I think.
This is going to be my home now. Though I do love the city and all of its trappings, there is still the a bit of uneasyness in the air. I'll essentially be a squatter for the next few months and I only have a limited amount of savings in the bank. Fortunately I can always rely on my monthly syndicate royalty check (such as it is), which is a good reason to continue with the cartooning.
Make no mistake, there is a very daunting challenge facing me here. Being thrown to the wolves can be a scary prospect, however I have some REALLY good friends who are helping me along the way. To tell the truth, though, I'm really excited about all of this. I've been in kind of a rut of late and this is a necessary change, albeit an unexpected one.
Well, I'm off to the local Duane Reade pharmacy to buy a few necessities.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pounding the pavement and eating ice cream

I spent most of the day walking the mean streets of New York looking for dropping off resumes to potential employers. It's a tight job market out there, but strangely the New York market seems to be looking good. I must have walked 7 or 8 miles today. To make up for the exercise I treated myself to some Ben & Jerry's ice cream in Times Square. Not good for a guy who's lactose intolerant. Besides, it doesn't bode well for my fitness routine. Oh well, unemployment does the strangest things to people. I had fun though, I can't complain. Hopefully I'll get some bites from this, but until then I'll keep cartooning.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sneaking people into my comic strip

It's no secret to those close to me that I like to sneak friends and associates into my cartoons, particularly "Cafe con Leche." The whole premise of the cartoon was based on the first year of marriage with my wife, so it was very personal to begin with. However, in order to make the cartoon more authentic, I've added a few familiar faces and places into the strip.

A few examples now:

Rita: I met this sassy Puerto Rican lady named Rita at a bar a few years back. She always struck me as angry but proud. When started coming up with ideas for Maria's best friend naturally the name "Rita" (la boriqua) stuck out.

Ray-Ray: I have a cousin who used to spend tons of time in and out of prison named Raynard. I thought of him when coming up with the name for Trey's pathetic womanizing best friend and cousin. Besides, I don't know black person who doesn't have a cousin Ray-Ray.

Mama G: That's an easy one. I just mad a blog entry about her a few entrys back. Also know as my own mama.

Mel the barber: Trey occasionally gets wise advise from a recurring character named Mel. In reality, Mel was named after my own barber Melvin in St. Petersburg. Barbers tend to be like psychologists with clippers in the black community. But sometimes they can jack up your hair, like Mel the barber tends to do (not the actual guy, though).

Richmond Heights: The fictional gated community where Trey and Maria live is actually the name of the my old neighborhood in Orlando, though I based the actual neighborhood on New York's UWS (upper west side).

Tanya: Occasionally I'll throw in the name "Tanya" into my strips as one of Ray-Ray's many ex-girlfriends that he can't quite remember. That name is actually based on a friend of mine back in San Diego who works at the daily paper there.

Bob: Bob Thompson, also known as "the token white guy." When I think of Bob only one name comes to mind: Matt Waite. Matt is a "star" reporter of a place I refer to as the "St. Pete Crimes," but he's a really strange guy (like Bob). I describe both of them as "geeky-cool."

I'm sure there are a few people that I forgot, but I'll get back to you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The adventure begins

Just got back from my 4-mile run along Bayshore Drive in hot and muggy Tampa (I must be crazy). Soon I'll trade Bayshore for Central Park as my permanent move to New York begins. I'm heading up there tomorrow to look for jobs and to settle in a bit before I put all my crap in storage 3 weeks from now. I gotta find time to squeeze in a little cartooning time, which is going to be difficult in the next few weeks. I'm starting to get ahead in both strips so maybe I can take a deep breath.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Visiting the orginal "Mama G"

So today is Sunday and I'm going up to Orlando to pay a visit to my very own mother, the inspiration behind the "Mama G" character of my comic strip "Cafe con Leche." Most of the characters I draw in "Cafe con Leche" are based on people that I know, but the "Mama G" character is a nearly correct interpretation of my very own 'mama' (Julia Gary).
I suspect that she'll give me the usual lectures on eating right and stuff, but I'm really going up there with pen in hand to hopefully include more of here ways into my strip. You see, it was my mother who really encouraged me to follow my dreams of being an artist. She didn't really complain when I would draw characters all over her walls at age 5. Actually she did, but she didn't discourage from being a professional artist like others did.
So, there's a special bond between my mother and I. Similar to the bond between my CCL characters "Trey" and "Mama G." If my head ever gets too big, I always think of one of my mother's favorite phrases...

"Boy, you ain't never too old for a butt whipping!"

Friday, May 30, 2008

Vote for me!

It just dawned on me that my cartoon "Cafe con Leche" is in the middle of yet another comics poll, this time in the St. Petersburg Times, also know as my former employer. Ironic how, now that I'm outta there, my comic strip suddenly appears in their paper. Again, cue Alanis Morrisette.
Anyways, I'm up against some stiff competition with the likes of "Tundra," "Mister Boffo" and "Rhymes with Orange." If ya wanna vote, just email Mike Wilson, features editor of the Times at and put "Comics" in the subject line.

Interview with "Mr. Media"

For those of you who are interested I'm scheduled to have a live podcast on June 10th at 1:00 p.m. with "Mr. Media" Bob Andelman. Don't know what kind of questions he'll ask, but this should be fun. I was informed recently that several high-profiled cartoonists have grace the airwaves of the show. Feel free to call in and ask a few questions.

Here's the link to Bob's blog:

New York City bound

Due to the fact that I recently lost my day job (aka "got fired") and the need to freelance more I've decided to pack up my things and move to NYC in mid-June. It wasn't that tough of a decision. I have some really good friends up there and I've had great success both freelancing and coming up with fodder for my strips in the city. I took a month-long sabbatical last year and realized that New York was probably the place that I was meant to be. Trying to get out of Tampa Bay before the hurricane season gets into full swing. I figured that if I really wanted to start over I just needed to get out of Tampa Bay. Now I just need to find some art space to draw my cartoons.

Saluting Jones High

You may have noticed that I've made a few changes in my comic strip "Cafe con Leche." I've been trying to make it more personal and sometimes I'll sneak in familiar names and places. For the week of June 30th, I've decided to salute Jones High School in Orlando, Fla. I didn't attend Jones, but it was the closest high school to my neighborhood. Back in the '80s it was known for random stootings and was surrounded by some pretty bad neighborhoods.
I wanted to shed a little positive light on Jones by making it the setting for a high school reunion for my lead character "Trey." I had always wondered why my parents didn't let us go to Jones, best know for being the alma mater of actor (and now convicted felon) Wesley Snipes. We all got bussed miles away to the "safer" Oak Ridge HS, which wasn't really that safe. Would have loved to have been a member of the Jones High marching Tiger band, but I had to settle for being a ORHS Pioneer. Memories.
In any event, here's to you JHS.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Movin' on

It's been a while since I sent my blog entry so its time to update on a few things. First I must say that I'm officially a full-time freelance cartoonist. I lost my job as a graphic artist at the St. Pete Times a few weeks ago. I had to take a step back from things to deal with the shock of being newly unemployed, which kinda sucks.
The good news is that I've been able to catch up on a few cartoons. The bad news is that I'm now totally reliant on my syndication and freelance money 'till I can find a full-time job, which won't be easy in this sagging economy. The irony of this whole thing is that I draw a cartoon about the workplace. Even more ironic is that the Times is finally running my cartoon Cafe con Leche two weeks after I was let go. Cue Alanis Morrisette song....
Well, since I still have student loans to pay off I have to find a full-time gig. The prospects here in Tampa Bay aren't good, so I guess I'll have to head up to New York and find something up there. Freelancing is easier in a place where there is an abundance of media outlets.
Well, thats it for now.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Things is tough

(Pardon the bad english).

Lately I've been feeling the crunch of this bad economy and job market. The ironic thing is that I draw a cartoon about the ins and outs of corporate life. I don't know how many co-workers have come up to me to express their uneasyness the the jobs forecasts lately. As I listen to them I'm silently concerned about my own future in these tough times. Kinda depressing, don't ya think?
Sure, I selfishly use some of this economic distress as material for my comic strip, but sometimes reality just not that funny.
People are running scared with no end in sight.

You know, a great poet once said, and I quote ..."Its like a jungle, sometimes it makes me wonder if I keep from going under."

That's a little inside joke for the people who know me best.

Monday, April 21, 2008

End of an era...

Well, sort of. I've made the not so painful decision to stop using screen tones in my cartoon "Working It Out." I started doing that 6 years ago when I started the panel. But due to the time restraints of drawing two cartoons I've decided to go without it. I'd been wrestling with that decision for months but in the end it seemed unnecessary. I will continue to to use screen tones in "Cafe Con Leche."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

CCL comes to life

So, it's been about a year now since I launched my cartoon "Cafe con Leche." I must admit this cartoon was very difficult to draw at first because it was new territory for me. Before then I was comfortable drawing my single-panel cartoon "Working It Out," now I had to switch gears and draw a three-to-four panel comic strip. Besides that, the subject matter was tough because I had to draw upon real life experiences of an inter-racial relationship.
Things are a bit better now. The cartoon really has taken a life of its own. Instead of relying on my life experiences, the main characters have developed into their own personalities. I decided to focus more on the relationship side of Maria and Trey instead of purely stressing their racial differences.
I used to dread coming up with ideas for Cafe Con Leche, but now it's kinda fun. I find myself watching a lot of relationship sitcoms that I wouldn't normally watch like Everybody Loves Ray, Till Death, etc. It's been fun so far, now if I can just get some newspapers to pick it up.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sill sick (cough)

I have no idea why I'm still sick for such a long time. I got really sick a few weeks ago, kicked it, and now I'm sick again. Maybe its becuause of my hectic work schedule. Maybe its because I haven't been exercising as much. Who knows, all I know is that its starting to piss me off. All I wanna do is sleep these days. Mind you, I'm not the type of person who gets sick often, so this is odd. Guess I'll have to be a trooper and stick this one out. (Cough)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Freelancing my brains off

With the exposure from last month's black cartoonist 'sketch-in,' I've been able to secure a few new freelance project. That's cool, because everybody can use a little bit of extra cash now and then. The bad thing is that this takes away from what precious little time I already have. Not that I'm really complaing (cause I love being a cartoonist), but I often wonder what its like to take a full vacation. I haven't taken a real vacation in a great while. Usually I take a few day off from my day job at the St. Pete Times to catch up on some cartoon stuff.
It's my own damn fault, though. I live in Tampa Bay, home of some of the world's greatest beaches yet I hardly ever visit that part of town. Maybe I can combine things: take my sketch pad out to Madiera Beach. That would be great except for the mosquitos, humidity, crying babies, tourists kicking sand in my.....Never mind.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The envy of soccer moms everywhere

So, I'm stuck in bed doing a bit more blogging than usual (cause I got no where go to). Before I got crazy sick over the weekend, I had a chance to attend a pretty good soccer game. It was Olympic qualifiers and team USA was playing Honduras. Other than a few very annoying Honduran fans, the game was good, USA won 1-0. However, the coolest part of the match was when it was over. I got the chance to meet the two stars of the team Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu (pictured smiling above). As I chatted with Adu about his time at DC United and SL Benfica (it's a soccer thing, you wouldn't understand) I started to think: This guy's filthy rich. Suddenly I got a bit depressed. I mean, I'm in my late thirties and this guy just turned 18 and makes about $4 million per year.
If I was only gifted with talent I could've been a pro athlete. Nah. I'll stick with cartooning.

Some good news (finally)

Just got work from one of my editors at Creators Syndicate that the Los Angeles Times have picked up Cafe Con Leche for a trial run starting March 24th. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement. I used to live in Southern California and read the LA Times every day. I always thought that LA's demographics would be a perfect fit for my cartoon. Apparently the LA Times will permanantly pick up my strip if fans write in and say they like it, so I'm crossing my fingers on this.

Out sick

Today I did nothing. I didn't draw one cartoon, I didn't create one informational graphic for the newspaper. Why you might ask? Cause I was confined to my bed due to sickness. I don't remember the last time I did nothing. I mean, I tried to get up and go to work but just kept sneezing and coughing. Now, people who know me very well will tell you that I rarely get sick. In fact, the last time I got a major cold was probably 3 years ago.
I want to get up and do stuff but my body is protesting. I guess this was my body's way of saying "enough already." I guess I'll have to play catch up later on in the week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Moving fast-forward in a town that doesn't move

So, as I stand in line at the local Starbucks in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., I begin to tap my feet and check my clock. I then pull in to the parking lot of Publix (a grocery store down here) and wait about 5 minutes for the person in front of me to move their car out of the parking space. Is I nuts? Probably.
People here in Tampa Bay just move at a different pace, no matter how much you try to hurry them. Blame it on the retirees, blame it on the snowbirds, its all the same. Adapting to the pace has become a painful exercise in patience. Having previously lived in places like San Diego, Chicago and New York my pace of life is usually much faster that most of the folks I meet down here. They tell me "you need to slow down a bit. We're generally more relaxed down here in Florida." I don't buy it.

You see, I was born in South Florida (near Miami) and spent most of my youth in Orlando. Both of those places have a noticeably faster pace that Tampa Bay. But that's beside the point.

My only saving grace is when I take my trips to New York City. Ahhh, sanity.
For now, I guess I'll have to continue to adapt to the pace, or die tryin.' With apologies to Fitty.

Cafe Con Leche On TV!

Good morning, folks (or what ever time it may be where you are.)...

Just go through watching a clip of myself on Fox 13 here in Tampa Bay. They came over to my house a few weeks ago to do a profile of my cartoon "Cafe con Leche." The whole thing was pretty cool.

Here's the link.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

Tell you the truth, I never really understood leap year. What's the big deal anyway?
That said, not much happening in the cartooning world these days. Some anonymous dude just started a blog called "Bad Cartoonist" which basically disses every cartoonist's work out there for no apparent reason. Lots of talk about this on the site.
Also, "Cafe on Leche" and "Working It Out" might be a regular feature on a new website. I've been in talks lately with a representative from Radio One, one of America's largest radio companies. That's all I have for now. Tune in next time.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Seeking reader help

I'm planning on drawing a series of cartoons for my "Working It Out" panel titled 10 SIGNS THAT YOUR WORKING FOR A CRAZY BOSS. Since my current boss isn't crazy (I think) I'm looking for a few ideas. I'm relying heavily on friends for this series but any help on the matter would be great.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Today is the DAY!!

Well, folks it's Sunday, Feb. 10th and I couldn't be happier. I woke up this morning, got my morning coffee, picked up copies of the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times and began to smile. Finally, after months of planning the cartoonist "sketch-in" day has arrived! I instantly turned to the comics page and just beamed with joy when I saw Cory Thomas' "Watch Your Head" cartoon.
It's just wonderful to think that after all these years a group of syndicated minority cartoonists would come together under one commmon cause.
I've been sending emails out to my fellow cartoonist all morning. I hope that you get a chance to see their contributions to this event. Check out my version of the "sketch in" cartoon above. If your newspaper doesn't carry one of our cartoons, here are some links to some of our work.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What's up with Aaron?

"I don't look at it as a purely racial or racist issue," says McGruder, who is African American. "I'm sure it's a factor. But I'm not convinced. Despite the hurdles and the issues of race, I was given more than a fair shot. Nobody ever mistook my strip for 'Curtis.'
"The industry itself is struggling. It's like they're the black passengers on the Titanic protesting to get to the top deck, and overlooking the fact that the whole ship is sinking."


The above quote was from esteemed African-American cartoonist Aaron McGruder, creator of "The Boondocks." I gotta say that it took me by surprise. I remember when we were organizing tomorrow's 'sketch-in.' One of the bruthas asked "What are the chances of getting Aaron McGruder aboard?" Or something like that. It seemed like a brilliant idea. Here's a person who could use his considerable might to help us in our cause. Here's a person who knows what its like to deal with the kinds of issues we face everyday from features editors of daily newspaper. Here's a name that people would listen to. We heard nothing, so we moved on.

Now, I'm a HUGE fan of the man's work, particularly his early "Boondocks" work. I have most of his books and I've seen all episodes of his "Boondocks" show on Adult Swim. Still can't get past the overuse of the "N-word," but that's another topic.
So, It hit me like a truck to read his comments. We've some wonderful people in the comics industry speak on our behalf, even white cartoonists. But to hear those comments from a guy who's built a career on controversy and race seem like a slap in the face. I'm just sayin.


Last night I went to an art show for one of my friends. I met her a few years back at the St. Pete Times, where I work as a news artist and she works in copy services. I got to know her a bit after a few trips to the coffee shop and she started to show me some of her artwork. I was amazed at the raw talent this young lady had. She's a photographer, and she has a great eye. The problem is that she just lacks a bit of confidence in her work.
For some strange reason she began to ask me for direction and help. Me, a cartoonist? I thought it was odd, but I'm always down with helping young artists. She started to talk to me about lots of things: art, future goals, and even advice about 'boys.'. Suddenly I felt like an artistic father figure. Weird. It has been great to see her compositions evolve in the last few years, culminating in last night's art show. Out of several hundred artists in the competition, she go an honorable mention. Not bad.
Her parents were there, her friends were there. I lingered in the back somewhere next to the bohemians. It was nice to just pat her on the back and say 'good job, kid.'
Now, I don't have any kids (unless you count my dog Cory) but I guess I got a taste of it last night. My friends with kids always like to wax poetic about the wonders of fatherhood (I'm talking to you Rick). It was just great to see a young artist shine for one night.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dog Days of January

I was about to finish drawing a Sunday cartoon for "Cafe con Leche" when my dog Cory reminded me that it was time to take our morning run. Great timing, since I probably needed the break just to clear my head. After running about 3 miles, I concluded that I was too tired to draw. My whole train of thought was interrupted.
It's times like these when I remember not to take this stuff too seriously. Yes, I'm probably addicted to drawing my comic strip, but sometimes I just need a break from it in order to maintain a bit of sanity. Being dragged up and down Bayshore Blvd. by a crazed beagle kind of puts thing in perspective. Thanks, Cory!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Changing topics (Soccer)

A couple of nights ago I was in Stout Bar in Midtown Manhattan getting ready to watch a soccer game between the U.S. national team and Sweden. As I reach out to down my Stella, Red Bull New York head coach Juan Carlos Osorio walks in. Now, I'm supposed to hate this guy, being that h is the head coach of my team's (DC United) hated rivals. He stood in front of a group of rabid RBNY fans as I tried to conceal the fact that I'm a fan of DCU. He stared to talk and suddenly I began to realize how cool this dude was. It was a real treat for a true soccer fan to see somebody with that kind of knowledge of the game. After he made his speech, the Colombian-born Osorio made his way through the crowd to meet people. About 5 minutes later, there he was, in my face with his hand extended. I felt like some kind of hypocrite, but I shook his hand anyway. He told me that he hope to see me at some of the Red Bull games, I responded with "Es un honor para encontrarte" (It's an honor to meet you).

Though Osorio was a gentleman, I still hope that my team pummels his team when the season starts.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good week for black cartoonists

As you probably, I've been involved with the upcoming Feb. 10th black cartoonist action day. Basically, 8 black cartoonists are going to draw the same Sunday comic for 1 day to bring attention to the fact that most comic editors think that we are interchangeable, regardless of or our content.
This week, we've received an enormours amount of media attention. First there was the story last Monday in the St. Petersburg Times, then I saw the story pop up on NPR, Editor & Publisher and NABJ websites. It just gets better. I found out this week that the Washington Post is doing a story about it and there's a possiblity that Newsweek will be putting it in their publication. Whew! That's alll unexpected to say the least, but I'll take it.
Well, I gotta board a flight to New York City to do some promotion stuff. It sucks, I know, but I gotta keep getting the word out. Also, shouts out to my boy Kevin who hooked up the whole Newsweek thing. Good looking out, yo.

Friday, January 11, 2008


So, the black cartoonists have mobilized. We have a date set for our impending protest/sit-in day and we're getting good press. I gotta say that I never thought I'd see the day when we'd all get together like this. I was wondering if people even noticed the very small amount of black/minority-themed cartoons on the comic pages. At least this brings some attention to the subject, which has been a long time coming.
I think that this day of action might just benefit all cartoonists in general. Maybe comic editors will think twice before deciding to fill their comic pages with the same 'ol stuff. Maybe we can get to see newer cartoons like Lio or Reality Check instead of B.C., Shoe, or Peanuts. Did I mention that the creators of the last three cartoons I mentioned are all dead? I'm certainly not trying to diss the classics, but I'm all for progress. A good cartoonist friend of mine once suggested that if people really wanted to read Peanuts they could just buy one of the many book colletions that Shultz published.
Progress is good. Let's keep it coming.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fight the power!

Well, I guess its time to let the cat out the bag. For days I've been saying that something big has been brewing for minority cartoonists. Well, time to let the cat out the bag. Some well known cartoonists of color (myself included) are staging a 1-day protest on Sunday, Feb. 10.
I driving idea behind this is that representation in newspapers, or lack thereof. I've been communicating with several black, Latino and Asian syndicated cartoonists over the last few months and there seems to be a general consensus that our cartoons are under represented in the daily newspapers across the country. Generally speaking, most papers tend to pick a few (maybe 2) minority-centered cartoons, regardless of subject matter. This means that essentially all minority-centered cartoons must then fight over 1 or 2 spots.
The basic premise of this whole thing is that, for one day only, we're going to draw the same Sunday cartoon. It was a cartoon idea originally conceived by Cory Thomas from "Watch Your Head." This thing should be good, especially since nothing like this has ever been done before. Further details will follow, but in the meantime here's a short list of some the cartoonist who will be participating...

Cory Thomas “Watch Your Head” (Washington Post Writers Group)
Charlos Gary “CafĂ© con Leche” and “Working It Out” (Creators Syndicate)
Nate Creekmore “Maintaining” (Universal Press Syndicate)
Darrin Bell “Candorville” and “Rudy Park” (WPWG)
Stephen Watkins “”Housebroken” (Tribune Media Service)
Jerry Craft “Mama’s Boyz” (King Features Syndicate)

There are other cartoonists that I haven’t mention because I’m not sure of what their status is yet. Anywho, there you have it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Post-New Year's hangover

Fireworks, champagne what? It's 2008 and I'm trying to figure out what changes are in store, personally and professionally. I hinted on an earlier post that something big may be happening regarding minority syndicated cartoonists this year. I promise that as soon as I hear something definite you readers (both of you) will be the first to know. All I know is that, for the first time in a long while, I'm excited.
As we speak I'm working on this years marketing plan, which I should start implementing in a few weeks. As soon as I put some cartoons to bed. I wonder what this year is going to be like for newspapers? Things haven't been looking good and can only get worse.