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.
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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.
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