Cartoon and Illustration

Some tips for comic book “clients”

With all the positive promotion that’s been going on in my career over the past couple of weeks you’d think I’d leave well enough alone, right?  Well, I’d like to–but that’s really not me, now is it?


Not trying to cause problems, but I would like to address an issue that seems to be pervasive when it comes to dealing with clients…or rather “clients”, because these are hypothetical clients, not actual, real clients.


Actual, real clients negotiate pay with you and then pay it.  Hypothetical clients are the ones that talk about hiring you, but then balk at what it will cost.


Lately I’ve been applying for various freelance jobs at an online site called “”.  Not putting down at all, they’ve proven to be much better than my previous online freelance job listing site, both in cost to me and in returns (which is to say my first job from them has paid for their services for a year and then some).  I won’t name the former service that never earned me a penny–let’s call them “Mud”.

But even though has been doing a good job at offering me listings for jobs that might actually fit my specialties–as well as giving me a good platform to show my portfolio, many of their clients still don’t seem to have a clue what creative artwork is worth!

Very often a listing will be something like this:  “Need artist for graphic novel.  I have created a story for a graphic novel and need a qualified artist to bring it to life, preferably in DC or Marvel style.”

So far so good.  That’s what I do.  But then the listing may continue with:

“Am willing to pay a one time payment of $2000 for services.  Story is 90 pages.  No royalties as I will be paying you for your services when pages are completely penciled, inked, colored and lettered.”

Seriously?  You think $2000 is going to get you a complete DC or Marvel style book of 90 pages?  That’s $22 per page!

If this sounds like I’m just being lazy or full of myself, I’d like to point out that I can draw around two pages of pencils per day. I can also ink around two pages a day, possibly color up to four if I’m really pushed, and letter maybe six to ten (if they aren’t too heavily dialogued).  The point is that a complete page of competent comic book or graphic novel artwork will take me at least three days from start to finish.  For $22 dollars?

Does this “client” really expect me to live on $7 a day?  And that doesn’t even begin to pay for paper, ink, computer, electricity and all the other things that make a studio run.

If I were doing this as a hobby, okay–$22 for a page might be okay, it would possibly pay for my paper and ink.  But not my time, not even close.

So I’m sort of losing my patience with this sort of thing.

Other “clients” will continue their listing thus:

“This is a great start up business!  No up front payment, but you will have your graphic novel in every comic shop in the country, and you’ll receive royalties when our book starts to sell!  Please, serious inquiries only.”

Again, are they kidding?  I’ve had my comics in comic shops.  For the past thirty years I’ve had comics I’ve worked on in comic shops, and while I’m honored that people have purchased those titles such recognition does not pay the bills.

This does not mean that I have never done work on a speculative basis.  I’m constantly talking with friends in the industry about doing work with them that may force me to take on some work that will remain unpaid until the project is completed.  But these are people with proven track records–published authors, screen-writers, producers, etc.  Not some guy who thinks his idea is pure gold because his Mom likes it!

Sorry, that sounds really harsh.  Just venting.  

What are the chances that any of the would-be “clients” I’m dealing with on will ever read this and think twice before posting a job like the above examples?  Slim at best.

But actual clients should know what the costs are going in.  Any legitimate client should know that $60-125 per page of pencils is barely getting by for a professional artist.  Not because we’re driving around in Rolls Royce automobiles, and have butlers and pool cleaners to pay–just so we can put bread on the table.

Let me break this down a bit.  If I get $125 per page of pencils and inks (my go-to rate at this point) and assume it takes one day to pencil and one day to ink that page, that comes to $62.50 a day.  Now I CAN work faster than that, and often have–but it requires my total commitment to do so.  I can’t be taking time off to go to the bank, do my laundry, write blogs, or even answer the telephone most of the time.  So that page-a-day rate of production requires as much time as a regular full-time job, anything faster and we’re looking at 12 hour days, and long weekends.

$62.50 per day equals $375 a week if I work Saturday too–and I usually do.  With that, I’ve got to pay for electricity, phone bill, equipment, supplies, shipping (or file transfer), as well as help pay the household bills that my wife also works to pay for.

Or to put it another way $375 per week is $19,500 per year.  No Rolls Royce in my driveway!  So I try to supplement my income by selling original artwork, licensing artwork out to other people, taking on advertising jobs that pay way better than most comic book or graphic novels ever could.

But people don’t seem to appreciate these facts.

My wife, Karin, and I have marveled at the following:  people will pay her to come play harp or violin at their wedding for several hundred dollars an hour.  As soon as the notes are played that’s it.  There’s no reproduction rights to the music she’s played for them!  Whereas in my case I’m often asked to sell the reproduction rights to my work–in perpetuity–for $20 per page!

People make a big deal about the raw deal that Siegel and Shuster got on Superman.  $130 for 13 interior pages (did they even get anything for the cover?) is ten dollars a page.  Now, seventy-four years later, people are offering twenty dollars a page for the same sort of thing.  I bet you not one of them gets the irony.

So, the title promised some tips for comic book clients.  

1)  If you really want to get a competent professional for your comic book or graphic novel–at least be willing to pay them a living wage.

2) I don’t care how great your concept is, it is not going to sell itself.  Never has, never will.  Just getting your book into comic shops is an uphill battle at this point–having a run-away success will require a lot of hard work after the product is made.

3) Don’t act all insulted when you get artists passing on your project.  The story may very well sound great to them, but they have to make a living.

Oh, and for those of you who may be reading this and thinking, “why not get it financed through crowd-funding?”  Yeah, why not?  I’ve heard that a lot lately–and it’s not as easy as it sounds.  And it’s not inexpensive either.  

I recently pitched a graphic novel project on Kickstarter along with published YA author, Shane Berryhill.  He’s got credits, I’ve got credits…we’ve both got published work in bookstores across the country.  We offered a complete, self-contained first chapter of the story FREE to everyone we knew on FaceBook. We got a film maker friend to shoot a promotional video for the KS at Heroes Convention and offered all sorts of incentives to comics fans who’d back the project.  We even had a couple of publishers lined up offering to put the book out once we got the funding!

Guess what?  It didn’t make.  We didn’t get 10% of what we were asking to complete the other three chapters.  All we were asking was enough for me to complete the interior artwork at a reasonable rate of speed and a reasonable rate of pay so that the bills could get paid while I devoted 6 months to the project.

So, for those who are thinking crowd-funding is the answer to all creative cost issues–think again.

I still keep a positive attitude.  I still approach potential clients in a friendly manner and am very straight forward about what I normally charge for my services.  But I seldom hear back from these folks, and I’ve been examining postings for such work a lot more carefully lately.

If you know of anyone planning such a project, you might point them in this direction.  Let them see what is truly required to make their graphic novel a reality.






Cartoon and Illustration

More press! (This time it’s Gypsy Bandwagon)


Gypsy Bandwagon of Waynesville will perform a concert of European and American folk music on Sunday, October 6, at 3:00 pm at Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City. The concert will be followed by light refreshments and a meet and greet reception for the musicians and comic book illustrator, James E. Lyle, whose artwork will be on exhibit through mid-November. Several door prizes will be given by the artist.  Both the concert and the reception are free to the public. This program received support from the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Arts.
Hope you can come on October 6 and bring your family. 
Eugenia (Jenny) L. Johnson, Director
Swain County Center for the Arts
located at Swain County High School]
1415 Fontana Road
Bryson City, NC 28713
Phone: 828-488-7843
It is the policy of Swain County Public Schools and Swain County Center for the Arts that all operations will be performed without regard to race, age, religion, color, national origin, gender, marital/pregnant status, or disability.Image
Cartoon and Illustration

“The Other Dead” reviews are in.




“The Other Dead” came out yesterday and I wasn’t even aware of it–I’ve been so busy.  But today I got a note from Josh Ortega who helped write it and recruited me to do some artwork for the project (see above).  The reviews are really great, and so it seems like a good idea to share them with people.

So now I have a book credit with Kevin Eastman, as well as Joshua Ortega (we did Tales From Neverland #2 together), and Digger T. Mesch to boot.


“How has this brilliant premise not been done yet? Just when we’re inundated with ‘zombie this, zombie that,’ Ortega, Digger, and Eastman come along with a rip-roaring adventure that provides the most unique spin on the zombie apocalypse in years.”

–Cliff Bleszinski
Creator of Gears of War
The Other Dead has the perfect combination of action, emotional impact, and brooding/building horror. I kept turning the pages to run from the impending doom.”
–Kevin J. Anderson
New York Times bestselling author of the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series.
“Driven by a beautifully nasty sense of humor and art that sweats and bleeds, one of the things that really stands out is how perfectly paced it is. Felt like somebody was slowly tightening a screw into my brain and oddly enough, I loved it. Astoundingly good.”
–Robert Ferrigno
New York Times bestselling author of Prayers for the Assassin
“Gleefully gory and subversive with snark–the only problem with this book is that I didn’t come up with the idea first!”
–Hugh Sterbakov
Emmy-nominated writer of Robot ChickenFreshmen, and City Under the Moon
The Other Dead finds space to be itself in a genre where most practitioners stick to the tried and true. Original and genuinely scary.”
–Mike Carey
Eisner Award-winning writer of UnwrittenSuicide Run, and X-Men
The Other Dead has restored my faith in a tired sub-genre with a tongue-in-cheek premise, compelling characters, and a devilishly fun world. I’m anxiously awaiting the moment when Obama picks up a shotgun.”
–TJ Fixman
Writer of Ratchet & Clank and Legends of the Dark Knight: A Game to Die For
“The basic conceit of this story, that nature, not our neighbors, is the real threat, harkens back to Hitchcock’sThe Birds and Spielberg’s Jaws, only taken to the next level…Just when you thought the zombie genre had been strip mined, The Other Dead proves you wrong.”
–Robert Napton
Writer of Battlestar GalacticaWarlord of Mars, and Dark Wraith of Shannara
The Other Dead is a work of zombie animal art that has left this savage meat-eater with no other recourse than to become vegan…the apocalypse never looked like so much bloody fun.”
–Demian Lichtenstein
Director of 3000 Miles to Graceland and Payday
The Other Dead is original…genre-bending, death-defying…it grabs your attention by the throat like a damn rabid raccoon.”
–Al Jourgensen
Founder of the platinum-selling metal band Ministry
“With art and writing that are equally strong, The Other Dead is a powerful, well-crafted work of horror with a clever—and very twisted—premise.”
–J.M. DeMatteis
Eisner Award-winning writer of MoonshadowAbadazad, and Justice League Dark
“A twisted new angle that will resonate far and wide. I really enjoyed it.”
–American McGee
Creator of American McGee’s Alice
The Other Dead starts with a great premise, a zombie tale that tugs our emotion and sympathy like no other. The book itself is beautifully executed, with grisly, splattered art and frenetic writing…I can’t wait for more!”
–Mike Capps
Executive Producer of Gears of War and writer of Gears of War: Barren
“With The Other Dead, Ortega, Digger, and Eastman finally answer THE zombie genre question–what about the animals!?–with equal parts wit and ferocity.”
–Steve Johnson
FX Artist on GhostbustersThe Abyss, and Spider-Man 2
“An outlandish, fresh premise with creative juggernauts at the helm. Strap in, it’s gonna be a bloody ride.”
–Brian Pulido
Creator of Lady Death and Evil Ernie


From the Press:
Joshua Ortega (Gears of War) does a bang up job with the story here…(and) it’s just as visually appealing as it is well written. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill zombie comic. It’s above and beyond anything else that’s out there. These animals are infinitely more dangerous after death than they were while alive. Stronger, faster, deadlier. There’s not much more to say except go get this series. And get it while you can, because unlike the creatures in the comic, there’s no guarantee of a second chance here. The animals may reanimate, but no one knows if IDW Publishing will do a reprint. So go on, go get it!” –Geeks of Doom
The Other Dead is a fast-paced story that pulls you in from page one. Qing Ping Mui’s art is sharp…and everything is presented in brilliant detail. In a world of zombie overload, The Other Dead stands out from the crowd.” –Comic Book Therapy
“Ortega and Mesch wisely placed this animal reanimation within the context of the human experience separate from the reanimation…(and focus) on how the undead apocalypse would affect the living of this world that were left to pick up the apocalyptic pieces. If I haven’t entreated you with the story, perhaps I can entice you with the art, because it’s absolutely gorgeous…(and) the animals, both living and undead are gorgeously rendered.” –Ain’t It Cool News
 “The Other Dead is a gritty, gruesome but fresh take on the…zombie genre. Far from predictable, it moves along at a rapid pace as it mixes a little fun in with the suspense and terror. There’s a huge handful of creative talent working on this book…and they vigorously inject new life into (the) familiar. But what really propels The Other Dead into a higher gear is the amazing art of Qing Ping Mui…take the photo-realistic style of Leonardo Manco and Steve Epting and put an edge on it similar to Frank Quitely and Carlos Magno. The Other Deadputs the pedal to the metal and doesn’t let off the gas until the final panel.” –BC Refugees
The Other Dead stands out in a world of zombie comics.” –Comic List
“Frighteningly captivating…there’s a level of detail to (Mui’s) work that’s difficult not be impressed by. A creative tale with some genuinely unsettling horror moments, The Other Dead is well worth a look for any fans of the zombie genre, or of horror comics in general.” –Big Comic Page
“(The Other Dead) is drawn exquisitely and the pages are filled with beautifully vivid images…the story is original and captivating.” –Horror Society
“(The Other Dead) is like watching the best kind of B-horror movie out there. And I’m not talking about bad horror movies, I’m talking about the off-beat and brilliant ones. I’ve said to people for years that I was burnt out on zombies. The Other Dead gives the zombie genre a fresh new direction it both needs and deserves.” –Insert Geek
The Other Dead hits the shelves at a time when new blood needs to be injected into the zombie genre and they do it with plenty of horror, blood and violence, but its potential is much more than the sum of its parts. Artist Qing Ping Mui goes for broke in his use of highly detailed work…the gore and horror is in your face, but so is the character. Now that Halloween is officially in the air, don’t pass on The Other Dead!” –Unleash
“Frightening beyond words…like a scene out of The Birds only much, much worse. When (things) start going wrong, they start going wrong fast. This comic might just give you a nightmare or two and will have you looking at that pet of yours a little closer…” –Jazma Online
“Stark and creepy…(The Other Dead) is very effective in building suspense and the zombies are bloody enough to make this title an effective horror comic…I am excited to read more!” –Geeky Universe
“If you dig zombies and the whole horror showdown between animals and humans then pick this up!” –Comic Bastards
“Ambitious…really well done!” –Florida Geek Scene
“Well-written…with lots of symbolism and metaphors…the pencils are nice and accurate, and the inks and shadings are right for the story and create a gloomy and somewhat hostile tone.” –Adventures in Poor Taste
“Romero Dawn of the Dead-style political commentary…(and) given the high quality of the art and the fun-ness of this inaugural ish, I plan to stick around to see where Ortega and co. take this story.” –Bloody Popcorn
“A gritty tale drawn in every perfectly bloody detail by Qing Ping Mu. Yes, a storm is coming to Louisiana, but its bringing more than rain, this time, its bringing the undead.” –Fanboy Nation
Cartoon and Illustration

Publicity for my show on October 6

Okay, the last two days have been nuts.  I’ve done nothing but answer emails, the phone, and run errands.  So rather than going to all the trouble to post something I’ve written, here’s a press release that’s going out all over.


Swain County Center for the Arts

 Located at Swain County High School, 1415 Fontana Road, Bryson City, NC 28713

Eugenia (Jenny) Johnson, Director

Phone:  828-488-7843       Email:          Fax:  828-488-0523



News Release:  September 19, 2013


Concert by Gypsy Bandwagon

at Bryson City Art Center


By Eugenia L. Johnson

Director, Swain County Center for the Arts


Gypsy Bandwagon of Waynesville, NC, will perform a concert of American and European folk music on Sunday, October 6, at 3:00 pm at Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City, NC.  Their music is informed by all sorts of popular music and centers on the “female fiddling frenzy” of Carissa Moore and Karin Lyle.  Lance Moore and James Lyle provide the rhythmic ground with Lance playing western-style guitar and James providing percussion.


Amid the music, laughter and musical insights, three door prizes will be awarded by artist, James Lyle, who is also the percussionist for the band and husband of one of the fiddle players.  Immediately following the concert, there will be a meet and greet reception in the lobby for the musicians and comic book illustrator, James E. Lyle, whose artwork will be on exhibit through the middle of November.  Sponsored by the NC Arts Council, Swain County Center for the Arts and Swain County Schools, the public is invited to attend both the concert and the reception free of charge.  This program received support from the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Arts.


Gypsy Bandwagon has been playing together since 2005 and has appeared at many regional venues, including:  the Furman Highland Games; Galax, Virginia Leaf Festival; Fountain City, Tennessee Festival; and numerous art centers, restaurants and taverns.  Their CD, “Stole My Mule,” which features seventeen tracks and more than a little silliness, will be available for sale during the reception.


James Lyle, better known as Doodle, is a native of Western North Carolina and grew up in the Waynesville area.  In the sixth grade he decided he wanted to be an artist and has actively pursued that career path.  He graduated with honors from the Graphic Arts and Advertising Design curriculum at Southwestern Community College and has worked as a professional cartoonist and illustrator for the past thirty years.


Doodle has been published by such companies as Acclaim/Valiant Comics, Caliber Comics, Now Comics and Zenescope Entertainment.  He has contributed to the Weekly Reader line of magazines for school-age children and has created comic-book style illustrations for Jones Soda Co. featuring professional theatre productions and various professional football teams.  Lyle has also designed tee shirts for major apparel companies, such as Ron Jon Surf Shop and J.C. Penny, and CD art for recording artists, such as Todd Rundgren, Anne Lough and Sloug Feg.  In addition to creating commissioned artwork and playing music with Gypsy Bandwagon, he finds time to give private art lessons. 


James Lyle currently lives in Waynesville with his musician wife Karin, who is the daughter of the “Keebler Elf” artist, Ernie Guldbeck.  In 2013 Lyle was elected Chairman of the Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society after serving two terms as Vice-Chairman for the group.  In 2010 he began work on, a webcomic set in Bavaria, 955 A.D.  He recently illustrated his first children’s book, “Abraham’s Journey,” for Ambassador International and has begun various collaborations with author, Shane Berryhill.  To learn more about Doodle and to see some of his many published works of art, go to 


Come to Swain County Center for the Arts on Sunday, October 6, at 3:00 pm to enjoy the folk music of Gypsy Bandwagon and light refreshments in the lobby following the concert.  You’ll have the opportunity to meet the musicians and artist, James E. Lyle, and to purchase artwork and a CD by the band.  


You may view the on-going exhibits at Swain County Center for the Arts during all public events or call Eugenia (Jenny) Johnson at 828-488-7843 for an appointment.  Go to to view the current calendar of events or to get directions to the Arts Center located at Swain County High School in Bryson City, NC.


Cartoon and Illustration

Preparing for Asheville Comics Expo


How exactly does one prepare for a comic book convention?  I suppose it varies from show to show.

For example, preparing for San Diego was a year long affair.  Preparing for Asheville Comics Expo (ACE) is perhaps less intense.

No offense intended to ACE, I’m looking forward to it tomorrow.  But it will require me to get up around 7, have some breakfast and be on the road no later than 8:30.  Rather leisurely approach for me.


Still, I have had my moments of fretting over it in the past week or two.  Actually didn’t think I was going to get a table this year, but by a stroke of Providence I did get one at the last minute–and I have fellow area cartoonist Matt Ebisch to thank for that.  (Matt’s going to be there as a fan this year, not a guest artist).  But having gotten said table space, I have had to figure out what I’m going to put on that table.

This is always a struggle for me.  Because even though the nicer shows will tell you what kind of space you’re getting (“Each Artist will receive one eight-foot table and two chairs, along with two badges for Artist and Artist’s Guest or Assistant.  Extra chairs will be available at $ per chair.  Electricity and internet connections extra.”)  they don’t really tell you what an eight foot table (or sometimes a six foot table, or half a table) is in terms of depth.  Some of those convention center tables are two feet deep, others are three feet deep, and I’ve even had one and one half foot deep tables at some shows.  You just don’t know until you get there.  Even at shows you’ve been to before the management may have bought new tables since last time around.

One also cannot always tell where one will be set up.  Even though the nicer shows (ACE falls into this category, BTW) provide a map to the show ahead of time–and I know I’ll be in A-22 tomorrow–one can never tell if one will be behind a pylon, popcorn machine, a tower of tee-shirts, or set next to some guy selling rude underwear he made up on CafePress.

Seriously…happened to me in Chicago the last time I went.  I was between the tower of tee-shirts AND the guy with the rude underwear from CafePress.  (This is why I haven’t done Chicago in a while).

Hopefully none of that will happen at ACE.  But I think I may have my back to nearly everyone in the show, facing a blank wall. Admittedly I am on the same block at Harry Anderson, but still, not sure that will increase foot traffic my way or not.  Guess I’ll find out.

So, thinking over these things is one way in which I prepare.

Another way I prepared by asking my buddy Mike “Miko” Mikolajczyk if he wanted to come along.  Miko (who proves he’s a nice guy just by cutting his last name down for folks like me) has been a collaborator on stuff of mine for around 20 years now.  So Miko will be sitting at my table and we’ll be talking and maybe doing some sketches together if things go well.

But the real “preparing” involves me putting a lot of stuff in one of those large Sterilite™ containers, strapping it to a moving dolly (courtesy of my wife, Karin, who recently moved a bunch of stuff from her parent’s house outside Chicago).  I have about 75 pounds of stuff in the container right now:  Original artwork, comics that I drew, comics that are from my collection (that I will sell if anybody is interested–it’s my back up plan), prints of my work, sketching supplies–and my upright display.

I’m actually pretty proud of my upright display.  I built it specifically for this sort of confusing set up.  It is three-sided and rotates on a single pivot, displaying my artwork to people coming from all directions (except straight above or below–the latter being an unlikely scenario).  It will hopefully catch the eye of any number of comics fans tomorrow.

But what I’m going to put on the table is always a struggle, and I have often changed what I put on my table in the middle of a show.  Tomorrow’s ACE is a one day show, and so it’s more difficult to make changes in that situation–I will if I get desperate enough–but hopefully it won’t come to that.

Tomorrow will also be different in that my wife will be coming to Asheville later on with friends who are also connected to me via comics.  I met Matt Mulder when the two of us were discussing a comic book project with a mutual friend–about ten years ago, I guess it is now.  He and I have collaborated on a number of projects since then, including a comic strip that has not yet been released, a couple of children’s comic books for his previous employer, and a children’s book for his present employer.  Along the way we’ve gotten to know his wife, Mary Beth, and their children: Ashton, Keeler, and Winter.  Now the Mulder kids take music lessons from Karin.

So tomorrow, while I’m off at ACE, Karin will be teaching the Mulder kids–then catching a ride to Asheville with Mary Beth and we’ll be meeting up somewhere along the way and going to a bonfire with the Mulder clan.  It’s all so weird to me.  It’s like the stuff my parents used to do when I was a kid–meeting up after some business in Asheville and then going out with friends on a late summer’s evening.  It’s kind of cool.  Kind of uncanny.

I don’t generally sleep well before a comic convention.  I don’t know if that counts as preparation, but it is part of my routine prior to a show.  (I should remember to take something to help me sleep tonight.  It won’t get me more than six hours probably, but six is better than none.)  

I also try to eat lots of fiber before a show…but hey, that’s just common sense.





Cartoon and Illustration

Must be getting famous…more people are bugging me!

Ignore the headline, I was just trying to be funny and get your attention.

Over the years I’ve made statements to the effect of, “I don’t want to get famous,” or, “the only reason to get famous is so that I can get more work without having to look so hard.”

I still stand by those statements.  I don’t want to be a glory hog.  The very thought of it makes me break out in a sweat.  I guess it’s how I was raised.

Admittedly, when I was younger I had a real swelled head.  When some of my friends were kind enough to point that swelling out (rather than simply abandoning me for the jerk I was becoming) I tried really hard to come down from that ego trip.  I guess it worked, because I’ve been working in vague anonymity for most of my career.

But lately I’ve begun to recognize the importance of self-promotion, and have done things like streamline my webpage (, get my face out in the public eye more, try to secure more convention appearances, comic shop signings, etc.

But in the past couple of months a strange phenomenon has been happening.  Whereas in the past I would kiddingly do the thing where I’d interview myself and post it online, now OTHER people are asking me for interviews.  I mean, with no prodding from me at all!  Just out of the blue.

Some have been old friends.  For example my old college class mate Ben Riddling from the BS Comics Podcast ( did an interview with me a few weeks back, that was pretty fun.  Then a day or so ago a coordinator at maCares who I just did a volunteer gig with for Patriot Rovers ( wrote to ask me to do an interview.

Oh, and the folks at Self Publisher! Magazine (!) also just asked for an interview!

On October 24 I’m supposed to go on Knoxville station WBIR-TV’s “Live at Five at Four”, and the next morning I’m supposed to be a guest on Star 102.1 Radio’s “Marc and Kim Show!  I didn’t arrange these things–Charlie Daniel (not the musician, the cartoonist who draws for the Knoxville News) and his wife Patsy did all the arranging.  They just decided that I had “a radio voice” and so should promote the Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society gathering that same weekend.

So there are two things I’m trying to do with all this media attention:  1) Not let it go to my head.  (That goal is key–no desire to see all my friends taking a walk because I’m acting obnoxious!) 2) Parlay this into more work / better paying work.  (This second goal is nearly as important as the first, as this has been a hard year–well, decade–okay, career!)

Did I mention that I’m also going to be doing my first ever one-man show at an area arts center during the middle of all of this?  I’ve got around 40 pieces of my art going up at the Swain County Arts Center, with a reception on October 6–where “my band” (actually it’s “our band” thank you, there are four of us), Gypsy Bandwagon, will be playing…

That is, after I give a brief talk about “my art”.

You have no idea how dumb I feel having typed that.  “My art”, like I’m Rembrandt or something.  But it’s part of the process of self-promotion.  I just don’t feel all that comfortable being the center of attention.  I mean, I crave attention as much as the next person, but I fear cheesing off everyone I know at the same time.

Does any of this make sense?  If I didn’t want any attention I could just not write a blog, right?  But I started this thing at the suggestion of several friends and it’s apparently taking off–just don’t want to chop any friendships to bits with the prop as the thing picks up speed.

(How’s that for a metaphor?)

Okay, enough.  I’m beginning to feel like Peter Parker here, all conflicted and angst-y.Image


Cartoon and Illustration

What I do when I’m not doing other stuff…

So people keep telling me I don’t post enough of my artwork here.  Okay, fair enough.  But I’m awfully busy–besides putting together my own event coming up on October 6, I’ve got to do a bunch of drawings for Airship 27 Productions, prepare for Asheville Comics Expo (ACE) next weekend, AND I’ve been putting together a massive meeting of the Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society for the end of October.

It’s a lot of work.  So who has time to post.  Not me.  I should be doing other things.  But this is important, so here I go.


Artwork copyright Mike Lynch.


Our keynote speaker on Saturday, Oct. 26 will be none other than the heavily published (boy, is HE published) Mike Lynch.  Cartoonist for Barron’s, Brandweek, Chronicle of Higher Education, First for Women, The Funny Times, Harvard Business Review, The New York Daily News, Playboy, Prospect, Punch, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator, The Wall Street Journal–the list goes on, but I’m already tired of typing it.


Mike is the NCS National Representative  (oops, just been informed that he WAS the National Representative–Oh, well–people still keep sending Steve Haynie dues checks and he’s been retired as our Treasurer for 3 years), and a darned swell guy (who offered to come down and talk to us for the price of a room).  And as you may be able to discern from the abbreviated resume above, he knows a thing or two about getting published.


 He’ll be our headliner for the event with plenty of advice for all the rest of us on how to make work and sell it in this new



The day’s schedule will also include a talk from Bill Holbrook, who hails from our chapter and also manages to turn out a lot of material –writing and drawing three (count ’em 3) daily comic strips!  Seems like Safe Havens has been running in newspapers so long that those kids who started out in pre-school are now looking at brochures for retirement centers! Kevin and Kell has helped make the world a safer place for carnivorous bunnies, veggie loving wolves, and technophobes alike.  And On The Fastrack has been giving the corporate ladder a goth makeover in recent years, keeping it fresh in spite of its looming 30th year in the funnies!


Bill will be sharing Dethany in Virtu/Noir:  A Story App in Progress.


Dethany in Virtu/Noir is a story app for tablet computers, in which the reader guides Dethany of the On the Fastrack comic strip through a detective’s murder investigation set in cyberspace.  It is a participatory experience, as choices are made that determine the direction of the plot. The text is written by Bill’s wife, Teri Holbrook, a mystery writer who has had four novels published by Bantam Books and has been nominated for Edgar and Agatha Awards.  Bill will be explaining the process of creating this New Media project, with a Question and Answer period to follow.
Moving on from there we have another SECNCS member, our own Greg Cravens.  No slouch for output himself, Greg writes and draws The Buckets for daily newspaper syndication, as well as writing and drawing his own web comic HUBRIS.  When he’s not doing those jobs he’s busy creating more advertising art than you can shake a tee-square at (if anyone still has a tee-square besides me).
Greg will be offering the group a program called Baby Steps From Paper to Pixels.
This will show folks how to transition from traditional tools to the high-tech tools of the 21st Century.  Greg tells me there is no reason for anyone to be frightened–it will be low-impact.
Finally, yet another SECNCS member, John Lotshaw who knows things from both sides of the publishing game–publishing his own comic Accidental Centaurs, while also helping many other comics creators get their own work into various formats.  

John will be talking to us about how Advances in technology have made it easier than ever for cartoonists become their own publisher. In this presentation, you will learn not only how to prepare your material for publication, but also how to get your work printed and sold.

So, if you’re in the Knoxville area and a cartoonist, a wanna-be cartoonist, just like cartoons (or would just like someplace to kill the day on October 26) please feel free to join us.  We’ll be in Salon A of the Crowne Plaza, Knoxville–and we won’t charge you a penny to see what’s going on.

We will, however, also be holding a silent auction of cartoon originals (etc.) with money from that event going to benefit the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, as well as smaller portions to the NCS Milt Gross Fund, and the SECNCS.