Monday, July 31, 2006

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park

Way back in 1969, Doug Haag had the idea to create a destination campground with Yogi Bear as the mascot. He bought a camp in Wisconsin and hand painted signs and made a chickenwire Yogi statue. The camp was an instant hit. They began to franchise the idea to other camp owners and by 1971 there were 10 Jellystone Parks.

Since then the business has changed hands but it is still going strong with over 70 campgrounds. Presented here are a few of the old brochures and postcards from the 70's. For more info about the current sites go to Camp Jellystone

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ich Bin Ein Berliner

Well Mr Toast made his first foray into Europe this past month at the Platform 21 Gallery. Following that up Mr Toast and I will be attending the Pictoplasma Conference in Germany this October 11-14th. Four days of character design fun. I will be packing up a suitcase full of Mr Toast dolls, comics and goodies so fans of Mr Toast beware!

Von's Parking Lot Circus

Back in the good old days, they used to have circus performances in the parking lots of supermarkets and shopping centers. Looks like fun to me.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Shaky Bacon likes his kitchen floor to sparkle.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Evolution of a Design

Where do ideas come from? Every artist wrestles with their own creativity which at times seems to disappear. When I really started to apply myself as an artist I had no idea what I was doing so I started to keep a sketchbook. Jotting down words, ideas, images, etc. Looking back on the old books is tough but at some point I hit my stride and I found that this was the first step in the process of creation. Each idea started small and then had to be crafted into something that worked.

This post deals with the process of my designing a shirt. The initial idea was one that I was thinking about for a comic strip. Mr Toast is in his soda pop laboratory where he creates all sorts of crazy flavor combinations. This comes a little from when I was a kid and in our house we had a room called the Lab. In the Lab were tools, electronics, chemistry equipment, screws, washers, lead bricks and all sorts of stuff to make things with. Many hours were spent in this room by my father, brothers and myself.

So I played with this initial idea, trying different poses, expressions, etc. Eventually a little sketch came out that is pretty much captures the spirit of the idea with the right text. To me getting the text right is very integral part of artwork.

The next two drawings are some more subtle explorations of the idea and working a little bit with what the font might be like. At this point I am also thinking about color. With a shirt I try to limit my colors just so the design does not get too out of control.

Next up I pencil the final artwork and then finish it in india ink with a brush. I usually use a #1 script. Then the image is scanned and cleaned up in Photoshop. In this case I added hands and the glass has become a test tube to reinforce the Laboratory idea. Then a try 10-20 fonts to get to one that works.

Then I play around with the colors in Photoshop to come up with a color scheme. In this case I wanted to really keep it minimal so just one color on a tan heathered shirt.

Then the file is sent to my friend Dallas at Monkey in a Dryer screenprinting. He then took my files and gave my design the weathered look and printed them up. I usually print 24-48 shirts. In this case I only did 18, all in men's sizes since this did not seem like a real girly shirt. A few go to friends but most I took to Comic Con. At the show the shirt was a big hit and I sold all I had brought.

More Clownage

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Patches by Kelly Vivanco

GO and enjoy the webcomic and buy the shirt


Comic Con 2006 - part 3

This final posting about my fun at Comic Con will deal with some of the great stuff I picked up there. The only vintage piece I got was an incredible piece of concept art from the Carnation Milk Rabbits commercials. It is a big gouache painting and will go nicely with the cels I have.

I was able to trade with Steve Weissman for his new book, Chewing Gum in Church. It is a compilation of gag strips that he posts on the Fantagraphics website. The design is stunning, the comics are hilarious and the art is wonderful. Steven had brought some of the artwork with him for sale and I could not resist buying a couple.

I also picked up the new book by Kirk Demarais "Life of the Party" which details the history of SS Adams, the company that basically invented dime store pranks. This giant book of almost 200 full color pages is incredible beyond belief. I am just going to show 1/2 page and you can get an idea of its magnificence.

I also picked up a copy of Cartoon Modern which I spent late nights in my hotel room going over. Amid out did himself with an incredibly researched and visually stunning book. I lost the DJ already so I am just picturing my favorite page (it was a hard choice.)

I mentioned in my earlier post about meeting Colorblok, these 2 little prints are what I traded from her. Just amazing.

Lastly, here are two little digital prints I got from Leah Chun. Well worth the $1 each. So cute.

So that about wraps up my Comic Con. I had a number of good meeting about Mr Toast and hopefully soon there will be some good news about the future directions he and I are going to take. But for sure next year I will be back at Comic Con, and once again thanks to everyone that came.

Show Report Part 1

Show Report Part 2

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Comic Con 2006 - part 2

In this post I am going to talk about some of the cool people that came by the booth and a few of the funny things that happened. My biggest surprise of the show was that Charles (my friend who does the Mr Toast animations) took the time to come down to the show from No Cal! He had not told me so it was very cool when he walked up and introduced himself. We had never met but it did not seem that way after about 5 minutes. He has some new ideas about some Mr Toast projects cooking in his brain but more about that in the future.

Another person I got to meet and never expected to was Amy Winfrey of Making Fiends. She was at the show talking about working on the New Making Fiends TV cartoon for Nickelodeon. She was super cool and this will be the greatest cartoon ever.

Also coming by the booth was Andrew and his wife Chi, who are long time fans and supporters. You can check out his blog Old Man Musings for more about his Comic Con adventures. Kirk D. of the Secret Fun Blog came by with a copy of his new book "Life of the Party". I will talk some more about his book in another post but it is must get item.

Other cool people that cam by were Patrick of Stuff from the Park, Todd Franklin of Neatocoolville, Devojane, Sharonzilla, Robb Berry of, Danny Catt of the Characters, Elizabeth Ito, Travis and even Harold Bucholdt who was the great guy who printed my first comic (he was set up right across from me in the Kids Love Comics booth). I am sure I am forgetting lots of people becasue it was a busy week!

At the show a lot of people walk around with sketch books to get artists to do little sketches. The first time I did one I felt like a rock star and it continues to be a fun thing to do. Two times during the con people came up for sketches and when I looked in their books I saw that the previous page had a Batman sketch by NEAL ADAMS! It is a pretty tenuous connection to one of comics greatest artists but it made me feel really good.

But I think the thing that was most gratifying about the whole show was the response Mr Toast got from the kids. Sunday was family day and it was by far the most busy day at my booth. There was a seemingly endless parade of kids at the table learning about Mr Toast and really getting him. It was a perfect way to finish a perfect show.

Show Report Part 1

Show Report Part 3

Monday, July 24, 2006

Comic Con 2006 - pt 1

Well here are the few photos I took at Comic Con. First up is my booth. You can see all the shirts and goodies I had for sale. This was the 3rd show I had the plush dolls and I sold over 300 of them. They were my hit of the show. Everyone loved the Jess Hutch Mr Toast posters, they brought many smiles to the show. The other cool thing was the interest in my artwork, I sold almost all the paintings I brought and many of the works on paper too.

This is Dakota, one of the many hundreds of kids that discovered Mr Toast for the first time at the Con. He ended up coming back for 3 days straight picking up more and more stuff. His mom even said that they went back to the hotel after the show and went online to check out my site. It was very gratifying.

This is Hillary and Jeannine. They were two of my biggest fans from last year and even came to the show wearing a Mr Toast shirt! They were even cooler because they brought me candy and a cool Kogepan doll. So now Mr Toast is hanging out with is Japanese cousin Kogepan.

I am not sure of this guys name but he was having artist draw on his shirt in sharpie. I got to do Mr Toast on his sleeve.

Throughout the con many people asked for drawings and autographs. This fan actually brought full size comic art boards for people to work on. I did a quick drawing of Mr Toast trying to rescue a cat from the roof. It was pretty rough but silly.

One of the coolest people I got to meet at the show was Juliana who is better known as the artist Colorblok. She does fantastic work and traveled all the way from Argentina to do the show. We did an art trade and she took home Mr Glue and I got 2 great little prints of hers.

Lastly is fan Dave/B2/Tokka. He is a huge fan of my Tick Tock Toys cereal pages and was furiously running around the show.

It was amazing how cool everyone was at the show and how receptive they were to Mr Toast.

Show Report Part 2

Show Report Part 3

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I Live

Well I have survived another Comic Con (as I assume many others did also). There are many tales to be told but first I must rest.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Comic Con

Well Comic Con is nearly upon us. Wednesday night is the preview and then Thursday through Sunday for the public.

My booth number is #1634 and it is near the small press pavilion. I will have lots of Mr Toast dolls, T-shirts, comics, original artwork and much more. Please stop by and say hi.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Art of Roger Bradfield

A couple months back I posted the art from a Tonka Trucks mini comic book done by the artist Jolly Roger Bradfield. After doing the post I thought I should try to see what else he did, so I did a search on the internet. Up poped his own site telling about his long career in children's books and comic strips. He created Dooley's World from 1972-1978 which I remember fondly from my childhood. He was also a prolific children's book writer and illustrator.

In his bio it mentioned that he had worked doing packaging design. So I sent him an email to see if he had worked on any kids food. Well he wrote back and told me that he had worked on the General Mills cereal boxes of the early 60's! He had worked on Kix, Trix, Wheaties, Jets and did the fronts for many of the signature boxes of the time. WOW.

He also did some work on Mr Bubble and some Pillsbury projects. One other great thing he did was all the spot illustraions for the Bisquick Cookbook in 1964. It is amazing to see all the creativity and skill he poured into this book so I scanned a few of my favorites.

Roger continues to paint and many of his great kids book from the 1960's & 1970's are now being republished. It is great to think that his incredible artwork will be enjoyed by many generations to come.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Mr. Toast at Platform 21

Photo by Meffi.

Now that is a great way to display Mr Toast. Thanks Meffi for taking the photo.

Platform 21 Gallery

Batman Candy Boxes

With Comic Con this week, I decided to look at the Batman candy box set. It is a set of 8 boxes put out by Phoenix Candy in 1966. They are not too common but it ended up taking me about 10 years to get them all. I think my favorite of the set is Deathman although I can't remember ever seeing him in a comic book

In 1967, Phoenix Candy followed up with a series of Joker and His Pals candy boxes. Each featured a different villian on each side. I only have one of these boxes in my collection and they are way tougher to find then the Batman boxes.