You may have noticed that I didn’t have a blogroll that included other cartoonists. Until now.
However I noticed a long time ago that blogs who have the courage and selfconfidence to link to others, grow fat and plump. One of the early blogs I went to, Manolo’s Shoe Blog, is so distinctive and funny! This is how all good blogs should read. Anyway, his (her?) policy is if someone links to him, he links back (in a rotating list, since he is SO BIG now.)
I probably visit LA Observed more than any other blog, and he had a huge blogroll, and he is bigger than most LA Times blogs. Even a small website like mine benefited from that link! I thought of LA Observed as a blogger giving back to the readers! (unfortunately, he hasn’t had a blogroll for over a year now, but I’m sure he’ll get it back when his self-esteem improves.)
Believe it or not, there are many other cartoonists out there who have blogs, too. Yes, I’m competitive. /hangs head in shame. But let’s look at the original definition of compete:
Late Latin- competere to seek together, to come together, agree, be suitable, to strive together, to coincide -from com- + petere to go to, seek.
So, in the spirit of coming together, striving together, and plain ol’ good self-esteem, my blogroll begins! I’ll be reviewing other blogs and cartoonists from time to time, but I pick Richard Thompson to start off with.
I found him by reading a blog that said he did great paintings. Boy, were they right. I was blown away by his incredible watercolors. I consider him certainly the best watercolor painter of any cartoonist I’ve seen. He has this loose, sketchy ink thing that you gotta do quick, and it always looks so natural with him. On his blog, Cul de Sac, he’s also very generous, and attaches huge links of the original paintings, so you can really admire his line and colors right in your face!
(When I got my Wacom tablet this year, the first thing I wanted to do was to find the pen that would show the texture of the paper, the quality of the paint and color, that he does so easily. But even with Painter, which really is better than Photoshop Elements for painting, I couldn’t bring that velvet color and slinky wash to life.
Yes, I do real life hardcopy watercolor, too, but I don’t have the cajones to use expensive watercolor paper, as he does – you gotta stretch it! -and trust that it will all work out in the end. And Lord knows I rework it, over and over, and you’re not supposed to ever rework watercolor. Of course, in a small panel cartoon, you can’t see many details about the paper and the variable wash, and it shouldn’t distract from the idea and drawing, anyway. At least, that’s what I tell myself.)
So, back to him. I wrote to Richard telling him his watercolors were better than mine. He responded, and we struck up a fun conversation about all sorts of things. I knew that he had some kind of feature in the Washington Post (Poor Richard’s Almanac), but didn’t know what.
At some point I complained that I didn’t have the money to go to the Reubens (the annual weekend of the NCS, with all the syndicated guys). Ladies and gentlemen, this guy is so humble and unassuming, that it wasn’t until then that he said he HAD to go to it, since he was nominated as Best Newspaper Strip of 2008! Up until then, I was vaguely aware that he had a blog, but didn’t know how popular it was, didn’t know he had a strip, and didn’t know he had a book coming out! (And Bill Watterson wrote the preface.) But with his talent, he truly deserves all these good things.
His strip is about pre-kindergartners. I don’t like kids. I like some cartoon kids, like Peanuts. And from the strips he’s posted on his blog, I’ll have to add Alice. The kids aren’t either sickeningly sweet, nor bratty. That’s pretty good. He has a very active blog – it looks like mostly other cartoonists comment. He requires commenters to sign in, annoying. He uses Blogger, my least favorite blogging platform. Nice clean design, though.
And I don’t even feel competitive with him! So, Richard, please add to your other accomplishments, congratulations on becoming the first of my Others.
Hey, just noticed Gary Sassaman wrote about Richard the same week! He goes into more detail about the book, since he’s read it.