Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Secret of Life

Way back in the stone age (the late 1980's), I was out of school and just starting out, looking for some way to break into the big time illustration/cartooning world.  I was sharing an old Victorian with four other roommates in downtown Sacramento and working as a graphic designer for a magazine aimed at horse riders and breeders, and freelancing on the side.

One of my roommates, Larry, was also an aspiring cartoonist (we would both end up working in the games industry at LucasArts Entertainment) and in an effort to inspire/motivate ourselves to come up with cartoons, we used to have a little weekly competition: draw up a cartoon and bring it to the local pub (The Rubicon Brewing Company in this case, just around the corner from the house)-- show up empty handed and you buy the drinks.  If you both have a cartoon, the waitress chooses the best cartoon, the loser buys.

Here's one of the first cartoons I came up with.  I eventually sent it around and was amazed when I got a message relayed to me at work that National Lampoon Magazine wanted to run the cartoon!  This was the first time I had done any work that would be seen outside of the local area, with most of my previous work mostly being local Sacramento businesses and ad agencies.

The cartoon editor, Sam Gross, encouraged me to keep drawing cartoons and submitting and I did, but nothing I sent him seemed to have what he was looking for (a couple of these unused strips would later show up in my self-published comic book "Saturday Nite" years later).  He said none of the strips I sent had that "something" that this strip had.  It took a while for the strip to finally appear in the magazine, but it eventually showed up in the June 1990 issue.  The magazine went under a few years later.