My love of art, especially the art of comic strips, comes from my father. At an early age I recall rifling through books that reprinted golden age comic strips that my father gifted to me. Running the gamut from POGO to Percy Crosby’s “Skippy” to Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, comics of every variety and age found their way into my view.
My father is a creative person and when he’d come home from work sometimes he’d draw characters or write stories and when they were complete, we’d get to see or hear them and they usually involved golden age comic strip characters.
I learned to draw Mickey and Donald the way my father drew them and over time I got better and better at it. When I was in grade school I’d draw them for my friends and even for some classmates I didn’t know who asked for them. Later, my father would gift me “learn to draw” books which ranged from “Learn to Draw the Marvel Way” for my super hero work to “learn to draw classic cartoon style” books that I relied on heavily especially in those formative years.
Want to know a secret? To this day, my father’s Mickey looks like classic Mickey and his comic artwork is still far superior to my own. It’s a factual statement, not a waxing nostalgic way of thinking. Even now looking at some artwork I received in the mail just recently I can see the clear quality of his designs. His work looks like the way the characters should look or would look were they to find their way onto the newspapers.
While we’re on the subject, want to know something else? Did you know that my brother Patrick when he was younger was also a better artist than I was at the time? And certainly even in grade school, as previously mentioned, even though I was asked to draw cartoons and give them to classmates there was at least one other student who drew named George and he drew exceptionally well-it was a different style than mine but I liked it a lot if anyone had felt his work was better than mine I wouldn’t have faulted them for it.
What one discovers over time if you’re lucky is that being able to recognize the quality of someone else’s artwork doesn’t jeopardize one’s own work, it can inspire it. A personality trait I have is a desire and willingness to create, to keep it up and improve and to allow myself to receive hundreds of rejections from publications in the search for an audience for the work. I kept up my artwork and improved in my own way and created my own style that I happen to like but always see room for improvement.
My father’s creations weren’t published but I have the opportunity with the Crayon Diary to bring those creations, or variations of it, to life in print.
So for my father, this Crayon Diary story that began last week is an adventure that utilizes his characters. On Thursday, “Charlie Kool” will be in print.
Here is the first week. Please excuse the lettering dynamic, it’s something I will improve upon each successive week.
Happy Father’s Day