Monday, May 31, 2010

A Non-Artsy Cartoonist's Trip to the Art Store

Although I'm a cartoonist, I've never considered myself to be "artsy." Personally, I think terms like geek, nerd, and/or loser (my wife's favourite pet name for me!) are probably more accurate descriptions.

Nevertheless, when your car needs gas, you go to a gas station; and so, when a cartoonist needs art supplies, there's only one place to go …

An art store!

Curry's Art Store - Hamilton, Ontario
Curry's Art Store - Hamilton, Ontario (image courtesy of Google Maps).

My personal favourite is Curry's Art Store in Hamilton, Ontario. Their prices are very reasonable, service is always helpful, and they usually have everything I need … (during my last two visits they didn't have my preferred 30ml Winsor & Newton Black Indian drawing ink in stock ... ARGH!!)

... But I still highly recommend them :)

So, what does this non-artsy cartoonist buy when he visits an art store?

Well, that depends on if the visit is out of necessity or casual procrastination. This past week, one of the important items on my shopping list was the drawing ink mentioned above, but here's a snapshot of what I did bring home …

Some Cartooning Supplies Purchased at Curry's Art Store
Some Cartooning Supplies Purchased at Curry's Art Store

You can click to enlarge the above photo. See if you can spot the following cartooning supplies:

  • (6) Koh-I-Noor 2H pencils
  • (12) Speedball 513EF pen nibs
  • (1) Sketchbook
  • (2) Artshow Presentation Books
Most traditional cartoonists, like myself, go through pencils and pen nibs like candy. I always buy a handful of both at each visit, so I have a pretty healthy supply here in my studio ... Perhaps it's more of an addiction!

The sketchbook was sort of a necessity. I wanted to make a fresh start and try a different brand. Unfortunately, the book's name ("The Great Canadian Sketchbook") has intimidated me so much that I've yet to tarnish any of its pages. With such a beautifully inked Black bear on the cover, it's almost like cartooning in it would be considered national blasphemy.

And finally, the presentation books ...

Original NETTREKKERS Comic Art in Artshow Presentation Book
Original NetTrekkers Comic Art in Artshow Presentation Book.

These were specifically bought for protecting the original cartoon art (ex. NetTrekkers comics and Reader's Digest gag cartoons) that I bring to the various cartooning workshops I run at local schools and libraries. The kids and adults have always been gentle while handling any of my original samples, but I've been worrying that someone's innocent sticky fingers are going to smudge boogers (you know how adults are!) all over and ruin them.

What I liked about the Artshow brand of presentation books was their padded vinyl cover with snap button closure -- the price was right too!! As you can see above (click to enlarge), this particular size fits 11" x 14" sheets of Strathmore Smooth Bristol board (300 series), just fine.

Each book has 12 sleeves, so that means 24 pages of original cartoon art, but you know what they say about too many eggs in one basket!!

And so, that's what I bought during my recent trip to the art store … How about YOU?

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Congratulations NCS Reuben Awards Winners!

National Cartoonists Society (NCS) Logo/Insignia
Official insignia of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS).

Last night, the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) celebrated its 64th Annual Reuben Awards dinner at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City in New Jersey.

The official winners are listed below, but first, a special thanks to MAD Magazine illustrator, Tom Richmond, and Washington Post writer/artist, Michael Cavna, for their LIVE Twitter updates from the event ... I know of at least one other cartoonist who also enjoyed and appreciated tooning in :)

Congratulations to all winners and nominees!

THE REUBEN AWARD for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year:
Dan Piraro, creator of the syndicated daily panel cartoon Bizarro

Dan Piraro, NCS Reuben Award Winner for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year
Reuben Award Winner, Dan Piraro of Bizarro (image courtesy of NCS).


Seth McFarlane - “Family Guy”

Ronnie del Carmen - Storyboard Artist - “Up”

Tom Richmond

Glenn McCoy

Debbie Tomassi

Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman - “Zits”

Hilary Price - “Rhymes with Orange”

Ray Alma

Dave Whamond - “My Think-A-Ma-Jink”

John Sherffius

Steve Brodner

Paul Pope - “Strange Adventures”

David Mazzucchelli - “Asterios Polyp”

At the time of this writing, sample art from all of the Division Award winners can be found at the NCS website. Once again, congratulations to all of this year's winners and nominees.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Reuben Time!

Reubens on the Hudson (Art by Patrick McDonnell)
"Reubens on the Hudson" (Art by Patrick McDonnell)

This weekend, the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) is celebrating its 64th Annual Reuben Awards! It's like the Academy Awards for cartooning, but only better :)

From the NCS website ...

Each year, during the NCS Annual Reuben Awards Weekend, the Society honors the year's outstanding achievements in all walks of the profession.

The recipient of our profession's highest honor, the REUBEN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR is chosen by a secret ballot of the members.

Excellence in the fields of newspaper strips, newspaper panels, TV animation, feature animation, newspaper illustration, gag cartoons, book illustration, greeting cards, comic books, magazine feature/magazine illustration, and editorial cartoons, is honored in the NCS Division Awards, which are chosen by specially-convened juries at the chapter level.

The Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors, as is the Silver T-Square, an award that recognizes outstanding service to the Society and the profession.

The 2009 Reuben Award Nominees (image courtesy of NCS)

The nominees for 2009's Cartoonist of the Year are Stephen Pastis (creator of the syndicated comic strip Pearls Before Swine), Dan Piraro (creator of the syndicated daily panel cartoon Bizarro), and Richard Thompson (creator of the syndicated strip Cul de Sac.

The Reuben Award winner, along with the recipients of each Division Award, will be announced on Saturday night! Having just recently become an official member of the NCS, I wish that I could be there. Hopefully I'll be able to attend the 65th celebration!

At the time of this writing, a complete list of Division Award nominees can be found at

Best of luck to all nominees ... and Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope