Posts Tagged ‘cartooning’

The old adage says a picture is worth a thousand words. I believe that’s true, as a matter of fact the word count may be a little low, but what about pictures with words? I’m of the belief that when we add words to pictures, their power can increase exponentially. No I’m not talking about adding captions to masterpieces. I’m talking about memes and cartoons. I don’t think we really understand the power in these little pictures with words. Hitler did.

It’s said the among the first moves Hitler made against the Jewish people was to begin dehumanizing them through cartoons and caricatures, slowly desensitizing the populace to the atrocities he intended. Dehumanizing people makes them easier to vilify and even kill and it all started with words with pictures.

Consider our social media culture and be honest. How much of your world view is influenced by the memes you see? Face it we live in a chaotic, “sound-bite” world. We don’t have time to read the whole article and get the big picture, so we settle for the bite from the little picture. We used to call it the “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version” but today’s media culture gives us the RDCV condensed even further, and the results have been devastating to our culture, at least in this writer’s opinion. What’s even more concerning is people used to have to find someone to publish their nastiness, but now it can spread to the world for free with the click of a button.

So why do I share this? I mean most of you know my favorite art form is cartooning, the combination of words and pictures I have been lamenting. Am I shooting myself in the foot? Hardly—no what I am saying is that the same things that have the power for great evil can also be used for great good. We can use our work to communicate simple messages of peace, love and hope, maybe even the Gospel! If these little bites can be used to tear people down, they can also be used to build up. The can be used to shine light on goodness and life and truth. Why not use what some mean for evil to communicate that which is good and right and true. After all, the evidence is really clear.

Words and pictures combined have great power, and with great power comes great responsibility. Let’s go do some good.

Well I spent most of the day Saturday working on a Powerpoint presentation to go with a message on watching our thought lives, guarding our hearts and minds. I called the message “What Are You Thinking?” I decided to start with humorous stories from my childhood where my mom ended up asking, “What Were You Thinking?” I decided some simple humorous slides were in order. It’s amazing how well cartoons, the combination of words and pictures tel the story. I had some fun with these. I decided to share these without the story, so you can get the idea.

As you know, I usually advocate working on more than one project at a time and this is an example of that. I work on my coloring books two at a time so I can jump off one style when I get blocked. I usually finish them within a few days of each other. They served as their own diversions. Of course I will also admit this is very much a side project that I do largely just for fun and it really is. There’s something about designing an eighth of a piece of art and not knowing what it will look like until it’s put together.

It’s 50 fun one sided images to color featuring my unique creature/monster/animal drawings expressed kaleidoscopically. Get yours here.

Cartoonist Zander Cannon tells how he got to do the work he really wanted to do in this TEDx talk. You really need to see this.

10358558_10152583448002190_6139503638373942309_nThey were some of my earliest influences, long before I knew what an influence was (at least as it pertains to art. They were the cartoonists, especially the car-toonists. I remember seeing this t-shirt shop at an auction my grandparents used to take me to. They had all these transfers hanging on the walls of all these muscle cars and street rods with monsters sticking through the hoods grabbing massive shifters and I thought they were the coolest thing ever. I can’t say for sure but I am pretty sure they made a major contribution to me becoming a cartoonist, which in turn has a lot to do with what I am doing now.

I am now starting to do this kind of work again. I have a great time with it. I’ve started to study some of those artist, “Big Daddy” Roth, Von Dutch, Von Franco_, as well as some of the famous cartoonists of the day. I was a little surprised when a lot of the articles referred to this work as Lowbrow art. At first, I found the terminology a little bit offensive, but then I thought about it a little more. You know what I love about this work. It’s accessible to everyone, including those who wouldn’t step foot in a gallery, and while I love the “highbrow” stuff, a lot, there is something about bringing art to the people, that appeals to me even more. If being a common man making art for the common man, makes me low brow, then so be it. Cause come to think about it, if we are all original creations, there is no such thing as the common man. We are all uncommon, and we all have the potential to be extraordinary, especially if we don’t care too much about the labels placed on us by others.

And then I think about Jesus. Isn’t this really what He got in trouble for? The elite didn’t like that He spent time with the “common” people—the people the saw as beneath them—the lowbrows. Jesus realized He was here for EVERYONE who would call upon His name.

I remember one time, sitting on a literal mountain top, when the presence of the Spirit was really palpable. I was just crying out to God for something extraordinary. I felt Him say, “No, I want you to communicate the Gospel in a way that everyone understands.” In my heart that’s what I am trying to do. Bring a message that everyone can understand and give them a picture to help them to grasp and retain it. I don’t have to be the smartest person in the room so long as I am being empowered by the smartest Person in the room.

I think I have always loved cartooning because the combination of words and pictures makes it easy for everyone to understand. And isn’t that what we really all want, in life and in communicating the Gospel, to be understood?

If that makes me lowbrow, I am okay with that.

Hi, My name is Dave and I’m a cartoonist. While I work in a lot of different art forms and media, cartooning will probably always be my “go-to” and there is a reason or that. Much to the chagrin of some of my artist friends, I am not a huge fan of letting people read their own meanings into my work. For me it’s all about story, and as such, the combination of words and pictures of cartoons/comics is ideal. Also few things are more powerful at raising awareness and calling out injustice than a well drawn cartoon.

When I read about the murders at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, by fundamentalist Muslim terrorists I was outraged and I still am. I find the actions of these people reprehensible. Terrorism, the murder of innocents, kidnapping children, beheadings and the list goes on. I’m growing more than a little tired of hearing these stories almost every day, and while I know these people are not representative of all Muslims, I am disgusted by actions like this most recent massacre.

Then I saw some of the cartoons appearing in Charlie Hebdo. Let me be clear, this doesn’t change my opinion of the massacre even a little bit, but I do understand how a Muslim would be angry. If someone drew cartoons about Jesus like that, I would be quite angry. Now to be clear, I would be poison penned, drawing opposing cartoons, encouraging boycotts, angry which is not to be confused with murderous act of terror angry. I get the anger but not that actions. I will never get the actions.

Someone once said, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” I have always believed this to be true and if that is the case, then those of us who wield pens have got to be responsible. Those of us tasked with the responsibility of wielding our pens in the name of Christ must be even more responsible. Taking cheap shots is not an acceptable method of discourse for believers. We’ve got to be better than that. We’ve been tasked with the golden rule for one thing. I should never draw something about Mohammed that I wouldn’t want someone to draw about Jesus. I really don’t think it is okay to mock someone else’s god (or his prophet in the case of Mohammed).

The actions of groups like Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Quaeda, etc. make them fair game for cartoonists calling them out on their actions. Of course, I am not sure this is wise, first off because these groups have not shown an ability to laugh at themselves, to put it mildly, but secondly, as believers, I think we are called to something better. Mocking someone’s actions is easy, changing them is hard. I’ve always said Christians need to spend less time talking about what we’re agains and more time talking about who we’re for. The solution to all the world’s problems is simple, one word, Jesus! I understand anger, I have drawn in anger more times than I can count, but before we hit send, or post or publish, maybe we need to ask the questions, “Does this honor God?” and “Will this draw others to Him?”

I grieve for the families of the victims of this latest act of terror. The cartoons of Charlie Hebdo did not justify this level of response, nor do they ever. And yes I know, the problem of terrorism will not be solved by a cartoon, but I still hold to my faith in the power of the Gospel.

What can we do to make things better?

One of the things I really want to do this year is create some more products for my Zazzle store. Mainly it’s just for fun, but of course the sales from these things help me to keep running A.M.O.K. This one is pretty much just for fun.

I have a confession to make.

I drive my friend and fellow cartoonist Rick Bundschuh a little crazy every time he sees me draw. You see Rick is an amazing cartoonist. His approach to inking is gorgeous and very refined. He uses a brush and India Ink and his work is beautiful.

For years out of necessity, I have taken a different approach. I ink with Sharpies. I get the brush effect by painstakingly drawing dimensional lines and then filling them in as if I were coloring a coloring book. It is a bit tedious, but I usually ink in my living room or even on planes where a bottle of india ink and a brush would be disastrous. I’ve considered using a brush pen or even brush markers but the cost has been prohibitive for the volume of work I do so I stuck with my old faithful Sharpies. I love them.

Then one day I was walking through Target and I saw my dream come true, a brush tip Sharpie! I bought one immediately, took it home and put it to work. The tip is really nice and juicy and really holds it’s shape. I can make really pretty lines in a lot less time and the ink seems to last for quite a while which was always a complaint I had with more expensive markers. This is a pretty great product I will be using a lot more frequently.

If you’re interested in trying them. Use this link to order a set from Amazon. Permanent Marker, Brush Tip, Black, Dozen If you order from this link, Amazon will give a small portion of the price to support AMOKArts.

Yesterday’s post was inked with the Sharpie Brush Tip Marker.

I had another thought pertaining to the “SINK” challenge. This one pertains to the step of faith involved in creating something new. I made a video of the cartoon being created. The finished cartoon is at the bottom of the post.

If you ask most people, whether they believe it actually happened or not, they will tell you they know that Jesus walked on water. What you may not know is that Jesus was not the only one. That very night another guy took a few steps on the water His name was Peter. Here’s what happened.

Jesus has just finished feeding the five thousand. He’s tired and He needs some time alone with the Father. So Matthew tells us in chapter 14. Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
   29 “Come,” he said.

There’s a note to consider. Peter knew there was only one way He was going to be able to walk on the water and that was if Jesus called Him. It’s the same way with us. When we are facing a seemingly impossible situation, the only way we can do it is if Jesus calls.

Matthew continues
   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Now here’s the thing, A lot of people want to act like Peter was a wimp here. A lot of people want to come down on him and act like he was faithless. That’s hardly the case after all, Peter was the only one that night with the courage to step out of the boat and when he did, he stood on the water just like Jesus. The problem was what happened next. It seems he looked down. It seems he took his eyes off Jesus, saw that what he was standing on, should not have been able to hold him. No one can stand on water it’s impossible, and as soon as he thought it was impossible, it stopped being about Jesus and it came down to Peter’s abilities and surface tension and displacement laws and when that happened, he started to sink. And you and I would sink too.

It takes courage to follow Jesus into a new plan, a new path, a new course, especially if it’s something you have never done before or maybe no one has done before. That’s the essence of creativity, especially Creativity for Christ. We’re following Jesus into uncharted waters. It requires stepping out of the boat. Most people won’t do it that’s what makes it special. The problem is once we get out there and find ourselves standing on the waves, that’s when it gets dicey. We start to look around us and realize the impossibility of our situation and when that happens we sink into our own depths. We look at what we are doing and start to think it’s impossible and that is the first and fatal mistake. See the Bible tells us with God all things are possible. We have to take our eyes off the impossibility of our situation, look to Jesus and take the next step. And we need to keep on stepping, walking by faith until we reach Jesus.

If you want to follow Jesus into a new thing, you need to take a step of faith, you need to step out of the boat and onto the waves. Once you’re on the waves, don’t look down keep focused on Jesus. He makes the impossible, possible because with Him all things are possible and you can do all things through Him who gives you strength. He will make you able to do what He is calling you to do because, if it’s His call, He wants you to do it.

Step out and take the next step in Him. With Him all things are possible. He won’t let you sink. Challenge: Sink II Challenge: Sink II

I own the Domain New and I am considering what to do with it. The site has sort of gone up and down and I’d like to make it a worthwhile site for spreading the Gospel. The name comes from the King James Version of 2 Corinthians 5:17. I was considering a creature art/cartoon gallery of some kind, simple and to the point… But I am open to suggestions.