Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Love Cartoons!

With all of the layoffs, the executives, the egos, the scuttlebutt, the politics, and the frustration involved...
I'm ashamed to tell you all that in recent years, I sometimes forget!
I forget that cartoons are a wonderful invention,
and that we're incredibly lucky just to get to watch them, let alone work on them.

To be more specific:

I love watching Freddy Moore's Mickey flirt with Minnie,
dance around foolishly, or do just about anything.

I love any time any director allows their characters a little breathing room.
When handled carefully, an 'awkward silence' can be just as effective as any great big dramatic
moment or explosive action scene.

I still love watching all the scenes with the Genie.

I love the way UPA was able to make a radio broadcast of a western every bit
as exciting as the old west itself!

I love the dynamic between Marc Anthony and Pussyfoot.
He may not know exactly what he's gotten into, but his care and concern for her
is always present. It comes across in every single drawing.

I love how right after this he goes,
"No; I'm uh-"

I love that Tex Avery never had it in him to underdo anything.

I love that when we watch a Bob Clampett cartoon, it's like we're taking a seven minute rollercoaster ride within his very id.

I love watching Ren casually pick up a Zippo lighter with his foot and light himself a cigarette ---as though this were something anyone could just casually pull off.

I love that Stimpy is 'all head', 'bends like Bratwurst', has a nose that appears to be directly inspired by UPA color, and can do almost as many voices as Billy West!

I love the sibling rivalry of Dexter and Dee Dee,
especially when it's carefully supervised here in the States.

I love Chris Shea as Linus and Cathy Steinberg as Sally.

I love everything about "The Incredibles".

I love that cartoons can take us to places we've never been,
and places we all have been ...often at the exact same time.

And yes, I can't deny it: I even love Spiderpig!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More From the Isle of Manila

There were these guys named named Mike Cook and Tim Turner. They published something called the 24-7 Artzine out of Providence, Rhode Island in the mid 1990s. It was a modest xeroxed rag, dropped off in the doorways of comix shops and record stores and filled with lots of weird poetry and art reviews. I used to send in little drawings like this one.

Brooding paintress Lora Shelley is easily the most prolific of all correspondents I've had the pleasure of knowing. Her letters are full of doodles, sketches, and unabashed introspective personal nuance. This envelope here is in my coveted Envelope Hall of Fame... I'm saving up for a helium-filled glass case to house it in! You can buy prints from Lora here.
Oh, and here's an envelope drawing for Lora from several years ago.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Ah yes, Spring! When a young man's fancy turns to... SQUINTING!

Here are some caricatures of various people squinting.
All of the reference for these came from a 1980 yearbook
I bought years ago at one of my favorite used book stores,
the World Famous BOOK ALCOVE.

I'm not sure if this foxy lady knows what squinting is,
or even how to squint,
but she was just too good to pass up, so here ya go.

Oh yeah, and here are all my sloppy sketches, too.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dan Izzo and 'Uncles on the Moon'

I was an Uncle long before I was ever an uncle.

Daz Izzo runs the Improv Inferno out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, but before that, he did lots and lots of improv teaching, including at Second City in Chicago.

Improv is the art of literally making something funny out of nothing, so it should only go without saying that Dan has a TON of patience. His ability to see the good in the work of myself and my fellow students never ceased to amaze me, and he aways did so with great positive support, wit, and energy. When we had worked with him for several terms, we rewarded Dan with a giant poster-sized caricature of himself that we had all autographed, featuring Dan saying several of the stupid things he would repeatedly say. At first he looked as though he might die of embarrassment... and then as though he were going to kill me personally! I had only meant to pay tribute to a great talent and mentor, but somehow my intentions were misconstrued. Dan has been nice enough to allow the art from the poster to be reprinted here, so I guess he's not all that upset after all.

Later many of the gang from the aforementioned classes got together and put on some shows for the general public.

We called ourselves "Uncles on the Moon" because so often in improv, the audience is asked to shout out locations and relationships for possible sketch ideas. Inevitably someone would shout out "Uncles!", to which Uncle on the Moon
Patrick Mene would proclaim, "Uncles is not a relationship!
It's just two guys!!"

Sunday, April 08, 2007

More Envelopes!

(Gift to Marc A. Crisafulli,
lawyer with similar name as myself,
who found my portfolio site online
and was kind enough to buy art from said site.
8.5 X 11". Ink with Prismacolor Pencils. 2004.)

(Gift to my sister the scholar, Michelita Conchita Crisafulli-o.
(Congratulations, Michele!)

9 X 12". Gouache with ink. 2001.)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Envelopes to Friends and Family

Ever since I could lick a stamp,
I've enjoyed the fine art of correspondence.
Decorating the envelopes with a mostly-improvised vivarium of imagery
became compulsive in the mid 1980s,
when addresses of the like-minded
were found in the backs of comics books,
and the internet was just a gleam in a young nerd's eye.

So while I figure out just what to do next with this blog,
I thought I'd share some of my more transient doodles with you.

(Gift to Frank Crisafulli, father. 8.5 X 11". Gouache with ink.
Mailed about two weeks ago.)

(Gift to Mary Cahill,
New York City photo editor. 9X12".
Ink and Prismacolor® Pencils.
Mailed over ten years ago.)

Check back soon for more fun with manila!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Ahh, yes! Something new has been added!"

[ed. note: we apologize for not completing this post sooner...
We also goofed by not enabling the comments!]

A few folks might know that my father would have loved
to be on the starting lineup of the New York Yankees.

Others know him as a devoted husband, father, and now,

But... did you also know that my father was a cartoonist?!

Yes, it's true.

My Dad has allowed me to post the following gag cartoons
he copied from leading magazines and newspapers of the day.

We'll start with an easy one...

(Hint: He cites The Washington Daily News as one of his key sources.)

It would please me, and my Dad, too, to locate the original work of the cartoonists
who first drew these magazine cartoons, and others he paid homage to as a kid.
Anyone willing to help out?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Coffee Break

Some Mondays start out so slow.
It's good that there's several more days this week to make a difference.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Lovelife Book Five: The Rest of It

This project was one of my quickest ever turnarounds, as I recall...
from start to finish, something like a week and a half.
I had figured out a way to stick to a decent-enough format
without losing all spontaneity. Even so, I knew I wouldn't cover
nearly everything I had to say on a topic as broad as love,
so I wrote in my notes that the fifth and final book would be
deliberately open-ended and unfinished.

The truth is that giving myself a 'heart attack' was a very last minute idea!!
This worked a lot better in the book... I liked all the blank blue pages at the end.
The digital version doesn't seem to translate quite as good.
Ah well.

(Don't worry about me, by the way... I had a full recovery.) :)

Lovelife Book Four: Kommunication
ist die taste

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lovelife Book Three: nobody loves you.

Book Three is embarrassing to me.
I should explain.

I have never been a hip person. I don't understand how to do so.
I like what I like, and will most likely like the same things ten
and twenty years from now that I do today. I don't go out of my way
to keep up with new things. If some new song or 'look' debuts and I
take an interest in it, it's most likely that this is because it reminds me
of better times and styles I'm already very well acquainted with.

For a while I inhabited what had become a very trendy
part of Chicago. If you walked down a certain street during a
certain time of day, it was a bit like living in a Susie Vl├žek music video.
The girls were all cute and in indie bands.
They wore unbuttoned square dance shirts
or tight old lady dresses.
They all had bangs and hornrimmed glasses.
They made sure you noticed them as they walked past.
The boys wore deliberately torn undershits and
rolled their smokes up in their sleeves and were never cleanshaven, ever.
And they made sure you noticed them as you walked past!
Somehow it was always easier to forgive the girls!!

Clearly I'm shabbily masking some kind of deep-rooted resentment in the
strip below. I wanna be cool, too; who doesn't?
In recent years, I've never been less cool.
I've even stooped to pawning my more catty lines to my other characters
to disguise the fact, even though they're things I myself would sooner say.

Besides, who can compete with champion pouter and social cynic
I've never met him,
but he's got this kind of thing down to a refined science.
If he's not featured in a future issue of
Animation Blast, I'll eat my afro pick.

Anyway, okay, enough.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Your Lovelife Diagnosed in Five Minicomics
(or less)

All this week I'll be posting five tiny comic books I did for a 2004
group show that took place in Chicago called "My Secret Valentine."

As I understood it, the idea was to create work in any media imaginable,
intended for an anonymous individual, either man or woman.
The show ran only one night, at which point these 'gifts'
were given out to its participants,
i.e., every artist went home with someone else's 'valentine.'

Please note that 'Onslaught of Buffoonery' is never
nor has ever been intended for wee kin or small fry,
and that this week is certainly no exception.

Anyway, the first two chapters and more on this project tomorrow.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Doodles of Women

Have a nice weekend, everybody!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's Snowing!!

Not here, but somewhere.
Maybe Cincinnati.
Check there.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"The Hired Hand"

I've been doing some cleaning and reorganizing around here, and a lot of old work keeps popping up.
Most of this stuff was only seen on a very limited local level and was originally published in black & white.

(Thanks once more to Mayang's Free Textures for the chipped paint background!)