R.I.P. Randy Glasbergen 1957 – 2015

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Last night before I feel asleep I read on Facebook that Randy Glasbergen passed away. I was too tired to comment last night so I wanted to make sure I wrote first thing this morning. For those unfamiliar with his him, Randy was a cartoonist who had an amazing career which be began in his teens. His comic “The Better Half” ran for over 30 years (1982-2014). He had two other strips “Glasbergen Cartoons” and “Thin Lines” which both appear on gocomics.com. Randy also created Glasbergen Cartoon Service where he would  create cartoons for licensing to newsletter, presentations, magazines, social media and much more.

Growing up I loved comic strips and still do. Heck, I’m a cartoonist so it’s kinda part of the job description. Anyway, my favorite comics were the single panel gag strips. Comics like “Dennis the Menace”, “Heathcliff”, and “The Far Side” just to name a few but there was always something that always stuck out to me about Glasbergen’s work. It was very simple and clean. The gags were always funny. In the 1990’s I read his books, “How to Be a Successful Cartoonist”, Toons!: How to Draw Wild & Lively Characters for All Kinds of Cartoons”. and Getting Started Drawing & Selling Cartoons”. All great books but I read “How to Be a Successful Cartoonist” at least 6 times and its the only one I still own. Randy was really intelligent and his books were filled with great information for the budding cartoonist I was back then.

Like most artists, I like to think I learn from all I see, hear, and read. I consider Randy one of my teachers. He influenced me with humor and I truly admired his knack for gag writing. One of the best in the business. His book “How to Be a Successful Cartoonist” was very helpful to me when I started out.  I feel like I should pull it out and give it a reread just for fun.

Randy’s cartoons were a daily part of my life. I’d read whatever he posted on Facebook as well as going to gocomics.com. He was always entertaining and I will miss seeing new strips of his daily. I never had the chance to meet Randy (although I recently found out he didn’t live too far from me, maybe a couple of hours away) so I know I won’t mourn the loss as his family and friends who spent their lives loving him and I send out my most sincere thoughts and prayers for them during their difficult time. I am just a fan so my loss is very different and I just want to thank Randy Glasbergen for the education and laughs he gave me. The cartooning industry will miss this great talent.

Here are a few of Randy’s comics to leave you laughing.

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ME Better Half 1

Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

How to Draw a Cartoon Head

This past semester I have been teach Digital Illustration which is really teaching Adobe Illustrator. There is about a week and a half left in the semester and my students are working on their final project. I had some down time and was playing with the cintiq at my instructor’s station. I love Illustrator and draw a lot with it at home where I use an Wacom Intous 5 and enjoy very much. At work where I use the cintiq I prefer to draw in Photoshop. Yesterday, while my students were working I decided to screen capture myself drawing a cartoon head.  Here is the video below. It took me about 30 minutes but I sped it up to about 3.5 minutes.

Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

Interview with Cartoonist & Illustrator Dawn Griffin

Here is another interview I did during Pronto Comics 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge that took place in March 2015. This Skype interview with the talented cartoonist and illustrator Dawn Griffin. I have been a fan of Dawn’s comic strip Zorphbert & Fred for a while and it was a pleasure to sit down and chat with her. She also give great advice to aspiring comic creators.

Enjoy!

Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

Interview with Cartoonist Dan Thompson

Here is another video interview I did with Dan Thompson during Pronto Comics 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge. For those unfamiliar with Dan’s work, he is the creator of the popular syndicated comic strip Rip Haywire. He also work on other comics such as Brevity, KidSpot, and Lost Sheep. You can check out his comics on comics.com.

Enjoy.

Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

Interview with Jason Williams

Jason Williams is a fantastic cartoon illustrator that I have been a fan of for a very long time. He is well known for his work on Barwench Tales from David Reddick’s Legend of Bill webcomic which can be found at legendofbill.com. Jason also has his own terrific webcomic titled Realm of Gallimore. Back in March 2015 I had the pleasure to sit down and speak with him through a Skype interview which you can find below. This interview was done during Pronto Comics 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge.

Enjoy!

Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

Interview with Paul Castigila

I have know Paul Castigila for a couple of years and he is one of the nicest people you can meet. He is an incredibly talented writers whose work can be found in Archie Comics. Paul also works with Alex Simmons, another great writer and guy who has worked for Archie and DC as well as many others, on Kid’s Comic Con (Alex’s creation).  I am currently the art director for Pronto Comics and back in March 2015 Pronto Comics hosted a 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge. During the challenge I had the opportunity to Skype with many professional artists and writers. Paul was among one of the writers. Below check out my interview with him. He gave some great advice to aspiring writers.

Enjoy.

Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

Motion Book Experiement

Like most artists out there I am always working on a project whether it is personal or freelance. I just have a need to constantly be creating. Also, like most artists I am always looking for a way to make money off my art.

During the day I teach traditional and digital art at a local college and when I come home I either freelance illustration and cartoon art or I am working on a project for myself. This experiment I am going to be doing will benefit both me as an artist and a professor. When I look ways to make cash and I think it would be beneficial to my students I pass along the information. Recently (within the last six months or so) I heard of a site called talespring.com. TaleSpring is a site that allows you to make digital books with motion for the iOS. Signing up is free but they only give you 25mg for free. They offer monthly subscriptions starting at $9.99 for 2 gigs and higher prices for higher gigs. You’ll have to pay for publishing on iOS which I’ve heard is about $150.

Anyway, I have watched the videos on the site and think this be an interesting site to work with. So before I use it with my students I need to experiment with it and because of the limited file space I am going to do something really simple. I always tell my students when you need a quick story to play with just go to a nursery rhyme or fairy tale, which I chose Jack & Jill.

Earlier today I did a sketch of a background for the idea.

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I will play with the layout a bit but this is my concept for the cover. Over the next couple of days after I refine the concept I will build this with layers in Photoshop or Illustrator. I’m leaning towards Illustrator because it gives me the ability to create close up images without losing any resolution. The characters will be designed in the next couple of days as well and I think by Sunday I should have the artwork completed. I will post more as soon as I have more and keep you updated.

Until next time, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

New Facebook Birthday Picture

Everyday I go on Facebook and everyday I feel like it is one of my friend’s birthdays. No matter  who it is whether I know them personally or not, I always wish them a happy birthday. It’s just nice for someone to hear and in this case read.

For a while I have been tossing around the idea of creating a picture to post for my birthday comment as a lot of cartoonists do. I’ve done a lot of sketches. Some were of characters I have like Plunger Pup and others were of other ideas, mostly chef’s and bakers. I love to cook (not bake so much, but I am pretty good at it from what I have been told) so I decided to go with the chef/baker idea. After playing with different character designs, I finally settled on the one below. I really like it a lot especially how the organic lines from my inking looks against the hard edge digital blue background. I’m enjoying this cartoon illustration so much that I thinking of removing my name from it to turn into a greeting card to sell.

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So, if you are a Facebook friend of mine, you can expect this on your birthday. If not, the greeting card will be for sale soon (seems like I made the decision about making it a greeting card — That was fast).  :)

Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

Welcome To My New Website

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Hello, Michael Grassia here. For those who follow my work or have visited my website in the past, you’re probably wondering what’s up with the new website. If this is your first visit then you’re probably not asking that question.

Well, here is the answer…

I have never been really into web design but the control freak that I can be wants to be in control of my site. I didn’t want to have to pay someone for updating or rely on someone else’s schedule. I have created sites in Photoshop and Dreamweaver as well as used a blogger account for a site. Today, I moved to WordPress.

Why WordPress?

First, it offers more themes and layout options than blogger offers and they can be very dynamic if I choose. The current theme I am using will probably change as I develop the site more.

Second, WordPress is very easy to use. Creating pages and posts are just as easy to do as if I was in blogger so it had familiarity. If you have any basic CSS and/or PHP skills you can go in a develop your site past the basics. I have very basic knowledge and until I learn more I am happy with the what WordPress offers.

Third and finally, I chose to go with WordPress because I recommend it to my students and figured I should practice what I preach.

Over the last few days I have been playing with WordPress and the more I use it the more I  am really beginning to like it a lot. I will be experimenting for a while so the site may go through a few changes over the next few weeks/months, but keep checking back for updates.

I have set up a few goals with this site. The big one is to post regularly on the blog which is the homepage here which means overtime you type michaelgrassia.com into your browser the first page you get will always be my blog. I plan to post daily drawings I do and at least once a week blog about something from the world of cartooning. I will try to make the weekly post as educational as possible.

I hope you will stay around and check back daily to check out my work. It would also be great if you would like to connect with me via social media. Here are the links.

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Until next time remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!