Cartoon and Illustration

Musing on a Cold

So I’ve got this cold.  At first it seemed like a minor thing, then yesterday it knocked me off my feet most of the day.  All I could manage to do was come in long enough to check my e-mails and see if anyone was screaming for their projects.  Nobody was, so I went home to bed and slept most of the day and then the night as well.  In between I was stuffing my face.

All this has me wondering why more people don’t want to get colds.

It strikes me as having all the effects of getting drunk and or high on something.

You get dehydrated.  You want to sleep–in fact can’t stop sleeping.  You get the munchies.  You get very sentimental (caught myself today telling my wife, “You’re so good to me.  Why are you so nice to me all the time?”) When you aren’t eating, sleeping, or eating you’re going to the bathroom or blowing your nose.

Isn’t that pretty much like the so called “High Life”?

Yet you never hear the following on a Friday evening:  “So, what are you going to do tonight?”  “Me?  I’m gonna go down to the Emergency Room and see if I can pick me up a COLD!  Maybe I’ll catch the FLU!”

Seriously, same difference.  So why does everyone run off to a bar on Friday, but nobody wants to catch a Cold?

Cartoon and Illustration

Under-standing pt. 2

Following up on the last post about the term understanding–but with a bit less philosophical bent.

When a cartoonist draws an object (particularly in a sequential format like comics or graphic novel) he enters into an understanding with the reader.  Simply stated, “This set of line segments will mean such-and-such.”  

What amounts to a squiggle of ink can become a lock of hair.  A curved line a hip.  A series of parallel lines fingers.  Two dots become eyes.  But to suddenly change these can confuse or shock the reader.

Though such shocking effects can be used from time to time to surprise the reader, it’s generally more important to maintain the visual idiom throughout the work.

For the cartoonist this may threaten to become tedious.  So much of the work of cartooning is finding ways to make those established visual idioms interesting to draw.  The other part is figuring out which ones work well together–these are the components of style.



Cartoon and Illustration


Short post today. I’ve been humming the Genesis song, “Must be some misunderstanding” all weekend, but then came to the realization of what the very word “understanding” itself means.

To have an “under-standing” does not merely mean that one can see where the other person is coming from, but rather it means that the two have a mutual foundation. Think about it–what is Standing Under any idea is the UnderStanding. Like bedrock, foundation, pillars–holding up the rest of the idea.

So, it’s okay to say, “No, I DON’T understand,” and even to say, “I will not make an effort to understand,” as many concepts we are presented with in this world defy understanding. My core beliefs are NOT compatible with the supposed wisdom of this world.

This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make an effort to care, or that I shouldn’t love others–but when faced with a wrong concept of what makes the universe tick. Sorry, I don’t understand and will not be forced to pretend. What stands under my beliefs is not the same as what stands under many others’ beliefs.

I will stand for what is right–kill me if you must–my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will sustain me and give me greater life beyond this mortal flesh.

Cartoon and Illustration

Short blog today

© James E. Lyle

© James E. Lyle

So I was re-watching an old MST3K episode yesterday, specifically “Cave Dwellers” starring Miles O’Keefe as Ator. And I noticed that though he was the “hero” he had a mentor (named Thong) who could basically out fight and out think him every time. So what was the point of Ator? Why didn’t the mentor guy just go out and clobber the bad guys?

Food for thought.

The sketch has nothing to do with that thought.  I just figured it would be a good image to post.  A small look into my process.

Cartoon and Illustration

Congratulations to the Seahawks–is my work worth any more now?


So I understand that the Seattle Seahawks won the Superbowl yesterday.  I didn’t watch the game, so I’m taking the word of bunch of posts online that say that team won.  Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not much of a sports fan–I have, however, done a lot of licensed artwork for various teams over the years.

Most of it was done when I was working full time at a tee-shirt factory back in the early 90s.  We’d get in stuff almost every day that had to do with this team or that.  Frankly it bored me to tears and I was much happier when I was working on Batman, Dick Tracy, Peanuts, The Simpsons, etc. (And I really did work on all those).

But back in 2009 I did a huge campaign for the Seattle Seahawks and Jones Soda Co.  I was hired by SuperBIG Creative in Seattle to do comic book style artwork for a series of boxed sets of licensed Seahawks soft drinks.  I did three boxes; one for Green Apple, one for Berry Lemonade, and one for Cream Soda.  I also did labels for the bottles, trading cards, and a life-sized Point of Purchase (POP) display for grocery stores in the Seattle area.  It was a lot of work, and I came down with a relapse of Mono getting it done.  I even had to farm out some of the work to my friend Kaysha Siemens in order to get it done on time. (I think it’s her color work on this image, BTW).

I took the POP display with me to MegaCon (Orlando) in 2010.  It was a huge pain to drag it across the parking lot that was only about a mile from the convention center that year.  There was a gale force wind blowing and it was really not worth the effort–because people don’t come to a comic book convention to look at or talk about football!  Especially not about a team that’s on the exact other side of the country.

I did get paid for the artwork.  Pretty well, in fact.  I even got a couple more jobs out of my connection to SuperBIG Creative.  But there was a lot of junk on the web then about how stupid it was that Jones Soda was the “official” soda of the Seattle Seahawks.  (Apparently some people thought you would not be able to buy a Coca-Cola at the games.  So far as I know, this was not the case–being “official” meant that Jones paid the Seahawks a bunch of money for prominent display of their logo at the stadium, and for licensing deals like I was working on.)

Anyway, the money ran out a long time ago.  But I’ve still got the artwork (well most of it) and I’m wondering, what with the Seahawks being a huge deal now, if any of that artwork is now worth anyone’s notice.  Is it?  Anyone looking for a unique gift for the Seahawks fan on your gift list?

Valentines Day is just around the corner!  What says “I love you” better than 2009 artwork designed around a team that won the 2014 Superbowl?  I mean it was just 5 years prior.  You might say that I helped “build the franchise” (even if the Seahawks and Jones Soda did end the licensing deal in 2010).

You know?  “A rising tide raises all the boats”?  What about my boat?

Cartoon and Illustration

Groundhog Day 2014

I woke this morning to the news that Punxsutawney Phil had seen his shadow and therefore we are in for 6 more weeks of winter.

Though I, like many, have become inured to such unilateral statements in recent years–it got me wondering just who this Punxsutawney Phil thinks he is!  Surely his prediction of the coming weather for 2014 is, at best, a guess–but does it have any true bearing upon me?

First off there’s the question of jurisdiction.  Perhaps Phil’s prediction has bearing on people in Pennsylvania, but I live in North Carolina and am clearly under no compunction to follow the strange vagaries of Pennsylvanian law outside of the confines of that state.

The US Constitution makes no statement about the powers invested to such rodents–burrowing or otherwise, and clearly the tenth amendment leaves the interpretation of and adherence to such proclamations up to the individual states.

The people of Pennsylvania, suffering as they have by the ongoing conflict between Snyders of Hanover and Snyders of Berlin (and let me just add parenthetically that I hope that conflict will soon be resolved)–while those people may be beguiled by such rodental prognostications that the rest of the country need not pay heed–strictly on a Constitutional basis.

However, upon digging a little deeper, I discovered that Punxsutawney Phil is not even a licensed meteorologist!  Turns out that he’s not even an observational stringer for the Associated Press!  And we’re supposed to take him seriously?

Accreditation aside, let’s look at the finer points of his so-called “predictions”.  According to this morning’s news release, Phil “saw his shadow” and therefore we are supposed to experience 6 more weeks of winter.  Today is February 2.  Six weeks from now is March 15– a mere five days before the Vernal Equinox (a much more scientific method of calculating the seasonal change by all accounts).  Seriously?  If Phil’s prediction is off, running over by only a couple of days he can excuse it as a statistical aberration; while it’s obvious that if spring arrives early that Phil’s legion of sycophantic followers will hail that break in the weather to Phil’s remarkable powers being superior even beyond what was previously indicated.

If I were you, America, I’d think long  and hard about where this rodent’s predictions are leading.

While not generally given to such notions as picayune examinations of the details of the private lives of public figures (or other such practices that lead, almost inevitably down the path to “witch-hunts”) I would propose that some investigation into the relationship between Punxsutawney Phil and the insulation industry might be in order.  It is my understanding that Groundhogs and Panthers (even those bearing an unusual pink pigmentation) are cousins, and that one might be inclined to at least look into the nepotistic relationship that might exist between these two.

Additionally it has long been established that Groundhogs are burrowing animals and that Pennsylvania is the original “oil rich” state.  Perhaps some relation between the heating-oil industry and Punxsutawney Phil exists that would be benefitted by Phil’s predictions of a so-called “long winter.”

If nothing else, I believe that Punxsutawney Phil is leading our nation astray with no more than the most base form of hokum dressed up in increasing levels of theatrics.  Superstition dressed up in fancy clothes!

Beware Americans, beware.