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Da Hawk

Da Hawk says "When visiting Southeastern Wisconsin be sure to visit the Museum of Signs in this Tree " (fake ad)

The caricature above was done for my good friend Neal, who was known as Da Hawk during his football career. I call it a fake ad but in reality it's an FPO until I can find some time to create some "real fake ads" (oxymoron intended) in this column. By the way, please forgive the pun regarding a famous Chicago museum.


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Well, you can't. At least not yet. Actually, the email link works and so does Facebook link. I don't even know what half of these are for but you have to admit they do look kind of cool on this page.


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Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

Tall Tale Radio

The Mad World of Tom Richmond

Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee by John Hambrock

Prickly City by Scott Stantis

Chicago Tribune Editorial Cartoons by Scott Stantis

The Cagle Post by Daryl Cagle

Funday Morning by Brad Diller

Bill Abbott Cartoons

Wages of Sin by Keith Brown

Entities-R-Us by Terri J. Garofalo

Sour Grapes by Tim Jones

Ruben Gerard Illustration

Table 38 by Richard M. Dominguez

(Jeffrey S. Page, CEO)

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at The Ohio State University

Stripped - The Comics Documentary

Webcomic Alliance

National Cartoonists Society



















































I want to create - but where do I begin?

When I started down the uneven path of cartooning back in 1994 I was lucky to have discovered AOL's Toon Talk chat room where I met, and learned from, several folks who had already given cartooning and/or comic stripping a try. Because I was inundated with information I printed out hard copies of some of the chat room transcripts and email correspondence so that I could reference all of the tips on techniques, and what materials and tools to use. After just a few weeks the number one thing that I learned was that there is no single method, no perfect recipe that works for everybody. Believe me, the folks who debate Ford vs Chevy and Packers vs Bears, are no more passionate than those who argue brush vs pen, and paper vs tablet.

With all of this information at my disposal, I chose to use brush and ink when I attempted my very first comic strip - Moon Crazy. That decision was based on the consensus feeling that "that's what the pros use". Looking back, I wonder what the actual percentage split was for brushes over pens back in 1994? I'm also curious what the split might be today for cartoonists using brushes, pens and tablets. Curiosity aside, what's most important is that you use the tools that make you feel the most comfortable and produce the desired results.

So, based on recommendations from my new virtual friends, I bought a few Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes, a bottle of Higgins Black Magic ink and a pad of 11” x 14” Morilla #280 Worthy Bristol and went at it. I struggled at first, but eventually I picked up on the technique needed to draw not only the weighted lines of the main sketches but also the panel borders. After a couple days of practice, on May 23, 1994 I rendered my very first Moon Crazy comic strip panel entitled “Raft” …


The reviews from friends on the internet were honest and bittersweet, with a few sending virtual chuckles or smirks. Admittedly, it wasn't a masterpiece, but at least it was mine. A few months later, I submitted 18-24 panels of Moon Crazy panels to the eight major newspaper syndicates of that era. Just like all of the other 5,000 or so hopeful "strippers" around the I was poising myself to take over for Gary Larson, who had just recently retired from drawing The Far Side. Unfortunately, in early 1995 I received the seventh and final rejection letter (one syndicate didn't even reply).

After a short hiatus I started brainstorming ideas for a new strip and came up with House. Other than a few thumbnails for character development I didn't really do any drawing during its development. Instead, I concentrated on writing the scripts, refining the gags and developing a project timeline (yes, I was working as an engineer at that time). In fact, I didn't even so much as glance at my brushes for well over a year. That was a mistake because when I did finally tackle the inking again I was horrified at just how "out of practice" I was. I had to force myself to start out with a dozen exercise strips just to get the feel back. I’m almost embarrassed to show any of them but here are a few ...

(Warning: the lack of humor is due to the fact that these panels were drawn on the fly. I literally dipped my brush into the ink well and started drawing whatever popped into my head and the next panel went from there).

Exercise 1

My first try back at brush & ink. Pretty rough, eh? Not like riding a bike!


Exercise 02

I think my second attempt was worse than the first!


Exercise 03

I also wanted to try a few new things like solids and different fonts.


Exercise 06

Not getting much better!


Exercise 07

My take on an old (and overused) joke.


Exercise 09

This one and the one that follow were the last two exercises I did before starting the production strips. I like them enough that I actually considered using these as part of the strip.

Exercise 12


That's just a brief overview. Check back for new installments, including the details for how I developed my comic strips.






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Copyright © 2016 Alan Rozanski - Wallmarkmedia All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication, reproduction or cloning is strictly prohibited. But then, how the heck would I know if you're using one of my comics as wallpaper on your personal computer? Of course, if you do and you feel guilty about it you can always send me a check in the amount of your choice (minimum of 3 digits on the left side of the decimal point).