Thursday, November 19, 2009

Finally!!! A day off.

Hello all.
Sorry its been a while since my last entry. Lots of turmoil going on here in DC. Not even going to mention the craziness happening at TWT. We'll get through it. I hope.
I've been working like a mad man lately, but now I have a day off. Just sitting here cooking vegetarian pasta and contemplating which cartoon to draw. Oh, I might just make a trek out to Whole Foods to pick up

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The birth of "Militant Malik"

I never thought I'd utter these words: I actually like DC. There, I said it.
Yes, my heart is still in New York City, but I must say that living in the District of Columbia has definitely changed my cartoon "Cafe con Leche" for the better. There is something distinctly edgy about the District, not to say that NYC was edgy. But its a bit different here. While in New York, my focus was on writing about the relationship between main characters Trey and Maria and how they got along. Looking back that was probably a bad idea.
Since coming to DC a year ago I've put the focus squarely on Trey and surrounded him with a cast of characters that come straight from my experiences in DC. The biggest success has come from a character that I call "Militant Malik." This character has definitely added some spice into the mix. Malik is dashiki and combat boot wearing self-described pro-black militant and professional street protester. I got the idea of Malik from my very own neighborhood in DC. You see, I live in the Chinatown section of downtown, a hub for tourists and such. I typically make a trek to my gym, which is on the corner of 7th and H st. Nw. I noticed that almost every Friday afternoon a few brotha's dressed in quasi military garb gather and literally get up on soap boxes and yell to the top of their lungs about all-things black to commuters. I found this fascinating, since I've never seen this display in any major city. I almost instantly began to think of creating a character based on this. Malik was born.
I wanted to thank the fellas for giving me the inspiration, but that probably won't go over well.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Coming out of the closet to my mother

No, its not what you think (though there's nothing wrong with that either). I came out as a vegetarian, and my mother almost lost her mind. You see, my mother is sort of a traditional African-American mother from south Georgia. I grew up on her black eyed peas, collard greens and regular helpings of fatty stuff such as ham hocks and pork chops.
My family grew up on meat and lots of it. I don't think that there is a single vegetarian in my family, so you can prolly understand her surprise. I thought that she might faint as I described to her the reasons that I went veggie. I've been a vegetarian for about 4 months now but I just neglected to tell anyone in my family.
The reason for the shocking header (Coming out) was that I was so floored by my mother's reaction. You'd think that I just told her that I was gay and was running off with my Rupaul. I don't think that I'd ever heard my mother gasp over the phone. It was weird. It was strange. We got through it.
I'm really not looking forward to Thanksgiving in the Gary household. Me and my 6 siblings sitting at a table filled with all kinds of meat products that I can't (won't) eat.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting ahead

Man, didn't know how good getting ahead on my toons felt until now. I've finally put some distance between my deadlines, and now I can concentrate on doing other stuff. Like (gulp) illustrations. I gotta admit I'm a little nervous about this new childrens illustration venture that I'm about to embark on. It would be better for me if I hooked up with a writer, but a good writer is hard to find (for children's books that is). I'm going to have to do this solo, so we'll see what happens.
In the meantime, I've got to think about moving again. My lease is up and I'm just not willing to pay to live in downtown DC anymore. Looks like I'm Maryland-bound.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2 cartoons to go.

Good morning! It is almost 9:00 and I'm about to start drawing yet another cartoon. I'm trying to rush things through so that I can spend the weekend doing some illustrations. This might be tough though, but I think I'm up to it. Gotta finish my coffee now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Venture

Lately I've been thinking about getting into something new. Well it isn't actually a new idea, but I guess I finally found motivation to take it seriously. For years I've been trying to break into the children's book illustration industry but lacked both the motivation and time to pursue it. I've finally found both.
I've done a bit of research and emailed a few associates in the industry and now I'm raring to go. The big thing now is finding time to do it. Carving out time from drawing 14 cartoons and a full-time job is going to be difficult, but I'm determined to do it. I think I have a good style for it, but now I have to just work up my portfolio.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend update

What's up? It was a an interesting weekend of relaxing and chillin. Now I'm at work. Haven't started thinking about my cartoons yet, which is really bad. I'll prolly start drawing tomorrow, but there are other issues to deal with in my life. Im not feeling really motivated at the moment, but I'm sure that'll all change once I sit at my drafting table. That's it for now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Question answered

Just heard by from my new editor. Apparently there was some mix up with the folks who run the website. All is well for "Cafe con Leche." Thanks for all the support.

Something's fishy

Got some emails from some readers (thank you all) about "Cafe con Leche" not being updated on the Creators Syndicate site. I did a little investigation and found that nothing has been up since Monday. I'm sure it's a glitch, but I did fire off an email to my new editor there. We'll see what happens. Would want to be the last one to know that I got dropped. That would truly suck.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back in the saddle

I finally decide to get off my butt and do a little blogging. Sorry about the very very long delay, but I had some personal drama to deal with. Things seem better now and I'm pretty focused. Things are actually going well at my job too. Kind of an unexpected surprise, but I'll take it.
Anyways, sorry folks (both of you).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Time for a book

I've been contemplating putting together a Cafe con Leche book. The problem is that its going to be difficult finding the time to do this. With two cartoons, a full-time job and school I'm finding things a bit stressful. But CCL has been in publication for 2 years now and I think that it has sort of a cult following. Now if I could only find a publisher.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Changes to Cafe con Leche

As some of you may already know by now, My strip "Cafe con Leche" has gone through some substantial changes. At first the focus was on lead characters Maria and Trey and their relationship. Now I'm focusing squarely on Trey. Narrowing my focus gives me more flexibility and it seems to be working. Now all story lines run through Trey, including his relationship with Maria, his cousin Ray-Ray and his mother.
The writing in the comic strip has also changed. I used to lean on the safe side but now things are more cutting edge. I'm trying to push the envelope and also make it more authentic. Most of the experiences that you'll see Trey going through come from personal knowledge. With a little ad-libbing on my part.

My afternoon

Sitting here at Busboys and Poets having a cup of coffee and thinking about cartoons. I'm starting to have more success with Cafe con Leche and I'm glad. A large media group in Canada just bought the strip, so the pressure is on to produce.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My life

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but my life has been crazy in the last few weeks. As much as I love my Flash class, it's killing me. Trying to manage that plus my 2 cartoons and a full-time job is tough. But its necessary due to the economy. If I ever intend on surviving this economy I have to do what ever is necessary to upgrade my skills. Particularly on the web side. It doesn't stop with Flash. I'm planning on taking a Dreamweaver class this summer and an advanced action scrips class after that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Daily toon

Today's "Working it Out" cartoon.

Working It Out

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday blues

So, I'm sitting in front of The Marshall's store on 14th St. in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Washington DC. It's a brisk day, but at least the sun is out. I had to buy something from Marshalls for my tiny apartment. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed because I spent the last night studying for my Flash class all the while feeling guilty because I didn't devote enough time to my cartoons. It difficult but I have to do it.
Well gotta go now.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Freezing my arse off!

Man, its cold up in here!! I woke up this morning to go to the gym and got a blast of reality. The weatherman said that it was 14 degrees, but the wind chill had to make it feel something like 5 degrees. We're getting into Chicago-type weather. I'm wondering whether to get a second cup of coffee from Starbucks. Hmmm! So many decisions in the City. Not sure how many cartoons I can get done this week, but we'll see. It's all a hustle anyways. Gotta go, late for work!

Been busy

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few weeks, but I've been extremely busy of late. Not that I'm complaining, I'm doing things that will probably enhance my cartoons and my future. Besides drawing my two daily comic strips and my full-time gig with the Washington Times I've also began taking classes at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. I'm taking a flash class and so far its been great, but it has kept me busy with homework and other things. I've got 2 chapters to read this weekend and I'm trying to figure out how to squeeze that into my daily cartoon sked. I was going to attend the New York Comic Con this weekend but had to cancel because I have to put some time in the lab. Its a commitment, but anything that's worthwhile is.
Back with more later

Monday, January 19, 2009

DC Harmony for Obama

So, I'm shopping for apples at the Whole Foods in the DuPont Circle neighborhood in Washington DC. Now if you've ever been to the District you know the DuPont Circle is one of the most well-heeled and whitest neighborhoods in town (right behind Georgetown). This young guy starts to stare at me and I'm starting to feel a little uncomfortable. He approaches me, opens up this flannel shirt to reveal his blue and white Obama t-shirt and yell "Obama rules, man!"
This kinds of stuff is happening regularly here in the District now. There seems to be a kind of euphoria now that Obama is about to be sworn in as president. What is also weird is that the usually looks of disdain towards African-Americans from white people here has turned to looks of pure excitement. Never thought I'd see the day. White folks all over DC have been coming up to me just to chat me up. People, this is odd stuff. It's mostly due to the influx of tourists who either voted for the man, support the man or just people who are glad to be relieved of some white guilt.
Whatever the reason, I'm very happy to see this. Don't get me wrong, black folks are happy too. But I think most black people won't truly be able to exhale until the man (Obama) puts his hand on that Lincoln bible and takes the oath. We're mostly in a state of high alert. As Whoopi Goldberg elegantly stated after election night, “I always thought of myself as an American, but suddenly last night, I felt like I could put my suitcase down finally..."
I might just go down to the National Mall tomorrow to see watch the man on the big jumbo screen, depending on how big the crowd is.
Is racism dead yet? No.
But this is progress.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back on the bus

Right now I'm somewhere northeast of Baltimore on Interstate 95 on my way home to DC. Starting to get a bit depressed now. Not I don't like DC, but I had such a good time in NYC. As soon as the bus stops in the District I have to make a beeline to my job. Not much turnaround time there.
It was good to recharge my batteries a bit in the big city. Now I have to concentrate on getting 8 cartoons done in two days. It might take some sacrifices but it'll happen. Hopefully I'll be able to get some rest this week. Or not.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Today was a good day!

After a pretty bad week of work l must say that I'm having very good Saturday. I took the bus up to New York to get away from all the craziness in DC and it sure has helped. Nothing like the city to get me back on focus. It was a cold day, but a good one. I started the day at 7 a.m. with a 7-mile run around the perimeter of Central Park. A good long run usually clears my head. After that I took the A train down to Chelsea and had brunch at Pastis. If you've never been there, I totally recommend the joint. Great brunch selection. Order the Eggs Norwegian (trust me, you'll like it).
After that I went down to SoHo to Blick's Art Store to pick up some supplies after having my stuff stolen at my job. Told you it was a bad week. The snow started falling after that, which set up a very picturesque scene. Now all I have to do is draw, which is the easy part. If I would've stayed in DC I might have gone nuts. It's a great town and all, but there's something about New York that puts me in the right state of mind.
I don't make it a regular habit of quoting the great thespian Ice Cube, but here goes:

Today was a good day.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Getting ghetto on folks

It's Friday morning and I'm on the Bolt Bus on my way to New York City for the weekend. There are two young dudes (maybe college age) sitting in the seats directly behind talking a loud as humanly possible. I'm doing everything in my power not to smack one of these little snots in the head. It's probably 7:30 in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet.
I just fired off a warning shot to them. I told them politely to please keep the noise down. I hope that works, otherwise I'll have to resort to Plan B: Sraight ghetto. I've noticed that people here in Washington don't really respond to you in kind if you're polite to them. I've also noticed that getting ghetto works. Maybe its an intimidation factor or something. I had hoped not to resort to that level of communication because I thought I had left that behind me when I left the inner-city years ago.
Take another example. The guys across the hall from me, also college-aged white men, tend to have very loud parties every weekend when I'm trying to sleep or draw cartoons. A few weeks ago they were exceptionally loud (music, screaming etc). I went over and knocked on the door and asked them politely to please keep the noise down because people are trying to sleep. They laughed in my face and slammed the door on me (seriously). Minutes later they turned up the noise even louder and screamed even louder. I knew that I had to take drastic measures.
I went over there a second time, this time I banged on the door. I started talking in the best ebonics that I could remember. This time I warned them if they kept it up that things could get hot. I channeled my inner Raheem spoke in a way that would have made Biggie Smalls proud. Straight gangsta, baby.
Well, that had the desired effect. The young fellows were suddenly extremely apologetic and even promised to be quiet in the future (which they did). Strange how nice just doesn't work in DC.
Sometimes you just gotta get ghetto.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pseudo-Celebrities in my building

Good morning, all:

Each morning I get up and get a cup of coffee which is made fresh each morning in the lobby of my apartment building at the corner of 5th St. and Massachusetts Ave. in downtown Washington DC. I like to chat up the doormen in the building. I recently discovered that among there are a few neo-celebrities living in this mid-rise building. A few months ago I tried to step into the elevator and was greeting by an enormous young fellow stepping out of it. I thought to myself, either that guy has to be a basketball player. After further investigation, I discovered that it was Andray Blatche, a 7-foot reserve center/forward for the Washington Wizards. That makes sense. Their arena is just 2 blocks from here.
Then today I noticed this tall, striking blonde young woman walking out of the building. One of the doormen told me 'hey, that woman once appeared on the show "Americas' Next Top Model."' He was right. After checking up on it I discovered that it was the tall, lanky 'Sara' from Cycle 6.
This is all great news for my nephew Sean (who wants to be a basketball star) and my niece Brandi (who wants to be a model). Not that I'll ever approach these people, but at least I'll have some good stories to tell the kiddies.
I find it strange that a semi-starving artist like myself lives in the same building as a millionaire basketball player. As I've said a thousand times: DC is a strange place.

Muy feliz ano nuevo