Saturday was one long day for me, but extremely rewarding!
I had to get up early that morning for my full schedule. My first stop was at the Gardena Holiday Craft Fair. My friend Ted Seko was exhibiting there, and I stopped by to check out the show. I wasn't there to sell anything, but I wanted to see what the show was like. The overwhelming majority of exhibitors there were artists selling their hand-made art objects, such as jewelry and small crafts. Ted and his friend Mark Okoi were the only two I saw that had stuff I would have bought: comics, zines and color prints of monsters!
Ted draws with such a frenzied pitch that my camera can never capture him at ease!
From Gardena, which is in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, I traveled north to Burbank. The Ronald McDonald House children's charity was hosting an event at the Warner Bros Ranch, and one of the activities consisted of a group of artists providing free drawing for kids. I was made aware of this event by Luis Escobar, and artist who works on the SIMPSONS cartoon, and in fact is one of the newest members of the CARTOONISTAS.
Not that I shouldn't have been that surprised to see him, but my good buddy Rafael Navarro also showed up. Rafael's been working in the animation industry for years, and often helps out at these type of events.
Rafael, the man behind SONAMBULO!
Luis Escobar, hard at work drawing for the kids:
Jim Lujan working the Lujan Magic:
It's so interesting that Jim had requests for Michael Jackson, Evel Knievel and a basketball player whose name escapes me. Those just seem like perfect subjects for Jim to draw, and I wish we would have photographed some of these drawings. Me, I had requests for Hello Kitty, dolphins and horses!?!
Of course, I had my fair share of superhero drawings too. Flash, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man were favorites. I also drew a lot of Bugs Bunny, but that's probably because I had a Bugs Bunny book for reference sitting on my table. I guess people saw the book and figured that Bugs would be a good subject. Now I know what to bring next time I do one of these events: my HOWARD THE DUCK comics! Let's see if people fall for that one!
Here's a Spider-Man drawing I did for this gentleman's grandson, Tino:
Readers of this blog will know I'm a big fan of Steve Ditko (Spider-Man co-creator), but man, trying to draw all them spider webs in these quick drawings made me for a second hate the guy!! I even forgot to draw the little black spider on Spidey's chest in that drawing!
The event was scheduled for 3 hours, and I have to say that I never anticipated that I would be drawing pretty much non-stop for the whole time! As soon as I finished one drawing, there would be another person walking up to the table. The tricky thing though is reference material. Some artists had internet access on their phones or other devices, but I had to either go by 'memory' or ask the kid if they had another suggestion. I had to wing such characters as HELLO KITTY and TINKERBELL. For the really small kids, I would suggest maybe a favorite animal, or even easier, a Christmas themed drawing!
Public on the left, artists on the right. There must have been about 20 artists or so, from animation, movies, video game..and comics.
Everyone was happy with their art, which really makes me feel good about doing these types of events. I'm not exactly sure what the criteria was for people to be admitted to this event, but some of the children were under treatments for various medical conditions. Like I said, it always makes me feel good to give someone a drawing, especially when they appreciate it. It's also rewarding to see the parents there with their child as I'm making the drawing.
Having said all that, let me say that another reason I wanted to do this event was to meet the man who organized all the artists for this day, Art Leonardi. Art has done this event in the past, and he's had a life-long career in animation. Probably the thing he's most associated with is the Pink Panther. He was working in the DePatie-Freleng Studio since the day the Pink Panther was created, and has animated and directed several episodes, including creating the opening titles for REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER.
Art was extremely grateful for all the artists, and he kept making sure we were taken care of. At one point he even brought a plate of hamburgers and hot dogs up and down the line (I grabbed a hot dog and ate it in between drawings). At the end of the day, as we were all winding down, I asked Art if it would be unprofessional of me to ask him to sign a copy of THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE PINK PANTHER. Well, he not only assured me it wouldn't be unprofessional, but he happily proceeded to flip through the book and tell me which illustrations he had created and gave me some behind-the-scenes stories on his career with the Pink Panther. He obviously had a lot of fond memories on working with the crews on the cartoons.
This is what Art wrote:
That was really cool that he drew the Pink Panther, too! (As if I wasn't hoping for that!) I told him, in reference to his inscription, that this was in reality 'from a great talent'. Regardless, it was really fantastic meeting Art, and working with him and all the other artists on this event. I know we all made a lot of people very happy. And I scored a Pink Panther sketch!