It recently occurred to me that I had a path toward Baby Blues even before Baby Blues existed—before I even knew I had a path.
In the few years before Jerry and I became syndicated, and before we ever had the idea for the strip, I found myself gravitating toward freelance work that involved drawing kids and parents. Or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe clients sensed something in how I drew that led them to seek me out for that kind of assignment. You can never really know, but things like that become more obvious when you look back on them. Among those magazine clients, where I was a regular, were Woman’s World, Redbook, Parents magazine and Sesame Street Parents Guide.
So, from Ye Olde Freelance Files, I give you a few of the freelance jobs just prior to the creation and syndication of Baby Blues. You can see a lot of the MacPherson clan showing up in the drawings.
All of the above drawings appeared in Redbook on their back page.
Detail of the hyena family.
(Above and below) Sesame Street Magazine Parents Guide
Click to biggify.
Sesame Street always liked big illustrations that covered the whole page so they could run the headline and the beginning of the story over the illustration. I learned a lot from the work of Elwood Smith, master of the watercolor wash. In the late 70s, I’d attended a demonstration by him showing how he prepared his watercolors and applied washes to his cartoon illustrations. I stole borrowed his little background flecks and added some squiggles of my own.
Baby Blues is included, along with twenty-two other cartoonists, in the latest “Demand A Plan/Demand Action” video. It’s a call to action for people and our leaders and representatives to take steps to end gun violence. There is no one particular solution proposed because it is a very complex problem that requires many approaches in many areas. It’s up to us as citizens to demand that we start addressing the issue in all the areas it involves. Inaction is not a solution.
Since we are not getting into any specifics here, we aren’t asking for a debate on this page—there are plenty other places on the Internet for that. You can watch it or not, take it to heart or not. Above all, please keep the comments civil.
I wish I had a nickname like Mr. Media (Bob Andelman), although in my case it would probably be something like Mr. Big Nose.
If you like watching other people draw—I know I sure do—or like to see a little of the inside workings of a comic strip, you might enjoy this podcast. This was a strange marriage of hi-tech and very lo-tech. The interview was conducted on my iPad, propped up by a Peanuts book, all sitting on a music stand to get a decent angle. It fell over two or three times, but Bob edited all but one. While drawing, the iPad was attached to my drawing board lamp with a bullgdog clip.
In 1997, we organized what, to date, was the largest comics crossover in history. It was perpetrated as an April Fool’s Day prank. Forty-seven comic strips participated mostly by swapping strips for the day. Amazingly, it was a well-kept secret until the day it launched, surprising and confusing comics readers across the country. The web site Museumofhoaxes.com, ranks it at #32 of their Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time. Continue reading →