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The Day I Chased the Bus

Here’s another story about being a freelance illustrator in New York in the 1970’s, from my brilliant cartoonist buddy, Randy Enos.
–Daryl

Some years ago I went into New York City with my young friend, an aspiring illustrator named Debbie; I was going to take her on my rounds with me and introduce her to art directors at NBC, New York Times, National Lampoon and more. I had been working on some big project and I was lugging my biggest black portfolio. I had to show some work to a client and then I was going to go home that evening and work some more on the project and return the next day.

This morning was going along nicely and before we were to have lunch, I thought we’d quickly go to a show of Jean-Michel Folon’s work at the LeFebre Gallery at 47 E. 77th Street. We hopped into a cab and arrived across the street from the gallery/townhouse. As I crossed the street with Debbie, I patted my pockets, as I was accustomed to do, to make sure I had everything … and … I discovered my wallet was missing! I realized it must have fallen out in the cab. I whirled around and the cab was gone! Panic!

We went in to see the show, anyway, which, ironically, consisted of collages in which there were actual coins. Each piece of art re-enforced my sense of present poverty.

Back out on the street, we assessed our financial situation. Between the two of us, we just had enough coins to get us back down near Grand Central Station by bus. So, we got on a 5th Avenue bus and headed downtown.  As we approached 52nd Street, Debbie said she wanted to visit her new acquaintance, the illustrator, Bob Blechman so I told her to get off there and I would continue down to one of the next stops, visit my art directors at NBC, and we would meet later on the train to go home.

At 49thstreet, I hopped off and walked a few steps up the street before I realized that I wasn’t carrying my big portfolio with all the components of the job I was working on. I had shoved it into the space behind the driver’s seat while we had stood in the aisle of the bus. I looked south on 5th Avenue to find my bus and instead I saw about three identical blue busses. Fortunately, I had looked at the driver when I was on the bus and he was a large black man. So, I ran quickly to overtake the nearest bus to me. As I caught up with it, at the next stop, I saw that it wasn’t my driver.

I started running to catch up with the next bus in front of that one. Again, not my driver. It was hot and I was out of breath at this point and panic was setting in as I imagined my fate of losing my portfolio and its contents to the vast black hole of the New York Transit Authority. Who do I call? What do I do? I started running again. I could see that there were two or three busses approaching the library stop at 42nd Street. Big stop. I was sure to find my bus there. My hopes were up. I ran like I have never run and probably will never run again. I swear, as I crossed 41st Street, I think I was running over the hoods of cars. I felt this was my last chance. As I got there, a bus or two had pulled away but there were still one or two left. I checked them out……. not my driver! I looked down the avenue. I couldn’t run any more. My chest was heaving, I was sweating.

Just then, a police car came creeping up. AHA! I dragged myself over to the curb and flagged them down. The window went down. I … I … tried… to … tell … them my problem. I was incoherent. The two cops looked at me puzzled. I kept trying to get the words out but I couldn’t catch my breath. They gestured for me to get in the car. I collapsed into their back seat telling them, as best I could about the lost money, the portfolio and the big black bus driver. The cop next to the driver said, “What was the number of the bus?” The number of the bus? The number of the freaking bus? How the hell did I know what the number of the bus was! He then instructed the driver to overtake the bus we saw ahead of us and see if a “n****r “ was driving. We caught up with it and driving by the left side we could see that it wasn’t my driver. I pleaded with them to catch up with a few other busses we could see. They did… to no avail. Finally at 23rd Street, where 5th Avenue forks, they tired of me and decided that I should consult the bus dispatcher we could see on the curb at our left. “He’ll help you out” they said. I went over to the man holding a clipboard and started telling him my tale of woe. As I was speaking, I looked across the fork in the avenue and saw a bus pulling away… WITH A BIG BLACK GUY DRIVING!!! The dispatcher blew a whistle and flagged him to stop. I ran across and the driver opened the door and there was my big black portfolio just where I had left it!

I slowly dragged myself along the street completely worn out with my precious portfolio in tow while a crazy bag lady screamed something at me. I paid no attention for I was now concerned with how I was going to explain why I didn’t have a ticket to the train conductor, because it was in my lost wallet where I always put them. BUT … maybe not. Sometimes I put them in my shirt pocket. I patted my pocket. My ticket was there. A little wave of joy … just a teensy one, wafted over me.

As I slunk into my train seat next to the ebullient Debbie, she was chortling about her visit with Blechman. She asked if I had a good time at NBC. I grumbled something incoherent and glared her into silence.

At home that night, I received a phone call from the man who had gotten into the cab right after me and found my wallet and my phone number therein. I told him that I was coming in the next day and he gave me his business address.

The next day, in a downpour, I trudged across the street from Grand Central to a small liquor store to buy my benefactor a nice bottle of wine. Then, with bottle in hand along with my portfolio and umbrella, I made my way up the street to the address he had given me. It was a labor union office. I climbed up a narrow stairway on which were seated a few of their members to a little office at the top with a little pay window. I asked for the man who had called me and I was directed down a hall to an office from which I could hear serious negotiations transpiring. I dragged my dripping self to the open door and was spotted by a robust fellow standing behind a desk in the midst of an argument.

He spotted me, “I know who you are” he smiled, “I saw your driver’s license picture in your wallet.”

He drew my wallet from his drawer and handed it to me. I, in turn, handed him a soggy bag which contained my gift of wine.

“No… NO” he said, “I can’t take that!”

“Please take this” I said

“No, I couldn’t take that!”

“Yes, you have to take it!”

“Oh no no no, I can’t accept that!”

Finally, I screamed, “LOOK… IT’S POURING OUTSIDE… I’M SOAKING WET AND I’M LUGGING THIS BIG HEAVY PORTFOLIO AND THIS DAMN UMBRELLA AND I’M NOT CARRYING THIS BOTTLE OF WINE ANOTHER STEP!”

“Oh… okay” he said, “Thanks!”

Randy Enos

Email Randy

 

 

Read more more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the National Cartoonists Society

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Blog Syndicate

TRUE Stupid Stuff 2!

Here’s another new batch of my old TRUE cartoons from the 1990’s – at least the ones that look like they could still be true. This is from a batch about government.

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Blog Syndicate

TRUE Life Stuff!

This new batch of my old TRUE cartoons is about our crazy lifestyles here in America. Things in our lives haven’t changed much since I drew these – except for the televisions. And phones.

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Blog Syndicate

TRUE Crazy Stuff 4!

Here’s a new batch of my old TRUE cartoons. This first one is a self-portrait of younger me, sitting on the toilet, talking on my land-line rotary phone. Looking at the old True cartoons makes me feel young again, until I notice details that make me feel old.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Blog Syndicate

TRUE Devils, Angels and YUCK!

Here’s a new collection of my old TRUE cartoons about devils, angels and yucky stuff!

I’ll be posting more TRUE cartoons soon.

Want to see more collections of my TRUE cartoons?  Here are some cool links:

TRUE HEALTH STATISTICS 1!

TRUE HEALTH STATISTICS 2!

TRUE KIDS!

TRUE KIDS 2!

TRUE WOMEN’S BODY IMAGES

TRUE HISTORY

TRUE! MARRIAGE!

TRUE MARRIAGE 2

TRUE BUSINESS

Categories
Blog Syndicate

TRUE Kids 2!

Here’s another batch of TRUE cartoons with facts about KIDS!

Categories
Blog Syndicate

Democrat Guernica

There is horror and anguish in the ranks of the Democratic Party these days. Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is probably the best known visual icon for horror and anguish.

Here’s a detail …

democratguernicadetail

Eight years ago I drew a similar cartoon when Democrats won the presidency and congress – to the horror of Republicans.

I’ve had the GOP version up as the top image on my Facebook page for years, And I’ve gotten lots of complaints about it, usually from very literal conservatives who write things like, “Guernica is about the Spanish civil war – it has nothing to do with Republicans!” I also got lots of criticism from conservatives who wanted to point out that I’m not as good an artist as Pablo Picasso. Here’s an image of the real “Guernica.”

guernica750

This David Fitzsimmons oldie about George W. Bush painting Iraq is a nice one.

fitzsimmons-guernica

Worldwide cartoonists like to use flags in their cartoons – the problem is that the American audience doesn’t know their flags. Here’s our Greek cartoonist, Michael Kountouris drawing a combination of the Syrian flag and Guernica.

Here’s my Cuban cartoonist friend in Mexico, Angel Boligan, with Violence in Video Games …

Here’s another nice one from Boligan, simply titled, “Insurance.”

boligan2-guernica

Gotta love Guernica.

 

 

Categories
Blog Syndicate

Trump and Hitler-Hillary!

When I was drawing this Trump – Hillary/Hitler cartoon I was thinking it was pretty silly, but looking at Trumps recent comments about Hillary the bigot, it isn’t too hard to get to the bottom of Godwin’s Law and jump straight to Hitler. That’s Hillary’s official State Department photo from when she was Secretary of State, with her hair made a little but blonder, and blacker.

I recently wrote a column noting how so many cartoonists have been drawing Trump as Hitler. I guess it was time for me to jump on the Hitler bandwagon. I love drawing Trump, but I haven’t quite found the shorthand caricature of Trump that I’m happy with and I struggled a bit before deciding on this face. I’ll get used to Trump before long. Or maybe not.

I had some tech problems with the video of my drawing this one – but I have the coloring video! Take a look below and check out all the cartoons and videos in my archive at DarylCagle.com.

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Cartoons

Democrat View of Chief Justice Roberts

Democrat View of Chief Justice Roberts © Daryl Cagle,MSNBC.com,Republican, elephant, GOP, Chief Justice John Roberts, Hitler, devil, satan, painting, art, artist

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Cartoons

GOP View of Chief Justice Roberts

GOP View of Chief Justice Roberts © Daryl Cagle,MSNBC.com,Republican,elephant,GOP,Chief Justice John Roberts,Hitler,devil,satan,painting,art,artist

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Columns

How To Draw Obama

How to Draw Obama

Obama seems like an easy guy to draw; he’s skinny, has a big chin, expressive eyebrows and lips. As it turns out, no matter how a cartoonist draws Obama, somebody gets mad.

When Obama burst into the presidential campaign cartoonists started drawing him as a caricature without much exaggeration. As time goes by, political figures morph in cartoons into caricatures of caricatures; George W. Bush shrank to knee height and grew huge bunny ears; Bill Clinton lost his pants and grew fatter (even as he got skinnier in real life). At the beginning of the Obama administration, everyone is watching to see how the cartoon Obama evolves.

I worked for twenty years as a cartoon illustrator, doing drawings for books, magazines and advertising. I was often given clear guidelines on how I was supposed to draw African-Americans: with “small noses” and “thin lips”. I was instructed to make any crowds of cartoon characters racially diverse, but only diverse in color, not in facial features. Thick lips and wide noses on African American faces would be returned to me for correction, with a polite reminder of the corporate policies on depictions of minority facial features.

Cartoonist Gary McCoy has been lambasted by readers, and by Salon.com, for drawing racially insensitive, big lips on Obama. Some cartoonists have drawn attention for giving Obama blue lips. Canadian cartoonist Patrick Corrigan of the Toronto Star had an Obama cartoon killed by his editor because of “racist” blue lips. Thomas “Tab” Boldt of the Calgary Sun and Cam Cardow of the Ottawa Citizen have also been rendering Obama with blue lips. Corrigan tells me that everyone in Canada, in the winter, has blue lips.

Readers of my blog explained to me that blue lips are racist and pointed out an old racist expression “blue gums,” which was a new one for me. Corrigan tells me he’ll be switching to purple lips, Cam will be giving up on the blue lips and Tab was laid off. That may mean the end of blue lips for Obama.

Syndicated caricaturist Taylor Jones also sees blue in Obama. He writes:

“One of the most interesting things about Obama’s eyes is the slight blue tinge to the flesh below his eyebrows. It’s also visible on his eyelids. It’s as though he’s wearing a bit of eye shadow. Don’t know if it’s actual blue pigmentation, or just the effect of light bouncing off the skin stretched against his eye sockets. But it adds a nifty touch whenever I’m drawing Obama’s caricature in color.”

I’m considering going all the way, making Obama completely blue (if that’s not racist).

Obama’s ears have grown huge for most cartoonists. George W. Bush’s ears also grew huge, but it took more than a year for Bush’s big ears to catch on — Obama’s ears started right away, and have been expanding faster than the national debt. It may be that after eight years of Bush, we now see huge ears as a standard, presidential attribute. I don’t see any particular reason for either Bush’s or Obama’s ears to grow in cartoons, but with cartoonist peer pressure it will soon be impossible to draw a likeness of Obama without colossal ears.

There seems to be an expectation that political cartoonists are mostly liberals who love Obama and will find it hard to make fun of him in cartoons. Some cartoonists have complained in the press that Obama is dull, and that there is little to criticize about him — we have a term of art for cartoonists like that, we call them “bad cartoonists.” It is the job of an editorial cartoonist to dislike everybody. Political cartoonists have nothing to gain by being in favor of anything. Cartoons that support anything are lousy cartoons. There is plenty for everyone not to like about Obama — and with the porky stimulus package and tax-evading cabinet appointments, there’s more every day!

The cartoon version of Obama will continue to evolve quickly. If we ever actually see him smoking a cigarette, he will always be smoking in cartoons. Obama may turn different colors, and he’ll grow or shrink with his performance. Obama’s ears will keep growing no matter what he does. As Obama’s honeymoon passes and the caricatures become more severe, I expect the complaints about racism in the cartoons will also grow more severe.

But I don’t care. I’m making Obama blue today.

Daryl Cagle is a political cartoonist and blogger for MSNBC.com; he is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and his cartoons are syndicated to more than 850 newspapers, including the paper you are reading. Daryl’s books “The BIG Book of Campaign 2008 Political Cartoons” and “The Best Political Cartoons of the Year, 2009 Edition” are available in bookstores now.

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Columns

Stealing Cartoons and Pension Plans No Problem

Stealing Cartoons and Pension Plans? No Problem.

One of the perks of being a syndicated editorial cartoonist is that I get to sign my name, in big clear lettering, in the corner of every cartoon. Sometimes I draw cartoons that make so many people angry that I might have been better off leaving my name out, but usually it is fun to have my name there. Often my clients will alter my artwork without my permission and remove my signature, as Newsweek magazine did last week.

I had a long career as a cartoon illustrator before turning to newspaper cartooning. When I drew cartoons for advertising, the clients almost always insisted on taking my signature out of the artwork; they knew what they wanted to advertise, and it wasn’t me. I wasn’t happy about it, but the demand was so common that I had to agree. I had to make a living.

Even with the typical, harsh contracts, my clients would usually only be concerned about their one job. They would give my art back to me when the job was done, leaving me as the owner of the copyright to my own art – which is important to illustrators. Having “second rights” to sell through internet databases and “stock houses” is a second income for underpaid artists and, like an annuity, the value of an artist’s artwork increases over time as an artist collects a larger and larger number of works that he can resell through his career. Artists, cartoonists and illustrators may not have health insurance but we have the “pension plan” of our own lifetime of reproductions rights to resell – that is, until now.

Congress is now poised to wreck the “pension plans” of America’s artists in a scheme bigger than Enron. The “Orphan Works Act of 2006” (H.R. 5439) is now before the House Judiciary Committee; the bill would strip artists of the practical ability to defend the copyrights to their lifetime of works. The bill was proposed to deal with the problem of “orphan works” which are copyrighted works whose authors are difficult to identify or locate. Companies have complained that it is too hard for them to find the creators of art that they want to reproduce, so they want to change the law to allow them to reproduce the artwork without permission. The bill would legalize the commercial or non-commercial infringement of any work of art – past, present and future – regardless of age, country of origin, published or unpublished, whenever the rights holder cannot be identified or located.

The bill changes the law to allow any company to reprint whatever art they want – all that is necessary is that the company itself determines that it has done a “reasonably diligent search” for the artist. Beyond that, the bill removes any significant penalties for copyright infringement. Of course, if a company wants to steal artwork, it is in their interest that their “reasonably diligent search” should fail to find the artist. The bill is a broad-based license to infringe artists’ copyrights – or, rather, to steal their “pensions.”

Current law already allows non-profit organizations, such as libraries and museums, great latitude in the usage of “orphaned works.” If a for-profit company is just dying to use an “orphaned work” I’d like to see them hire an artist to make something new – of course, that would be more expensive than just taking the “orphaned” artwork and paying nothing.

Most of my life’s work, and most of the life’s work of most illustrators, will become “orphaned” and worthless under this bill. The Illustrator’s Partnership, a trade group representing artists, has listed changes the bill needs to protect artists. These are:

1.) Precisely define an orphan work as a copyright no longer managed by a rightsholder;

2.) Precisely define the steps a user must take before infringing the work;

3.) Eliminate the unrestricted use of a copyrighted work in a “transformative” work;

4.) Restrict the use of orphan works to not-for-profit uses;

5.) Restore full remedies for infringement as the only means rightsholders have for protecting their intellectual property.

For more information on the “Orphan Works Act of 2006” (H.R. 5439), visit www.illustratorspartnership.org.

Daryl Cagle is a political cartoonist and blogger for MSNBC.com. He is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and his cartoons are syndicated to more than 800 newspapers, including the paper you are reading. His books “The BIG Book of Bush Cartoons” and “The Best Political Cartoons of the Year, 2005 Edition,” are available in bookstores now.