October 28, 2006 Hopelessly Addicted My name is Karyl and I’m an addict. Coming from Hollywood, where everyone’s an addict, it’s important to have the right addiction. Having last year’s addiction is the kiss of death in au currant tinsel town. Naturally I have the right addiction. Nevertheless, I got myself pierced and tattooed to make sure the tastemakers would know I’m a truly hip person with the right addiction. I’m addicted to the internet. I’m logged on the internet from breakfast to bedtime. Know what I call a Hilton without a high-speed internet hook-up? Camping. To be honest, it’s more than the internet that I’m obsessed with - it’s one website on the internet; a website so fantastic, I have to visit it every day! If I don’t log on to this website, every second that I’m fighting my urge by NOT being logged on, I’m THINKING about BEING logged on – so what’s the difference!? I might as well log on and be happy, right? The site is sccs-online.org. In the interest of self-disclosure, the designer and webmaster is Jack Zabawa, a guy I know pretty well. Sccs-online.org has everything I want in a website: It’s fun to look at, it’s interesting and it’s constantly updated with the newest and most current information! That’s right, I said constantly updated. You never know when you log on if you’ll go “Wow, something’s new! That’s so cool. I didn’t know that!” SCCS-online.org has something for everybody. There are links to SCCS member’s websites (the hottest go-to page statistically). There’s Member News and a BLOG if you like to read, and tons of original SCCS original cartoons if you don’t. There’s a scrapbook full of absolutely beautiful color photos of you and your cartoonist friends taken at just about every SCCS meeting and event! You can right click any photo, enlarge it and print it out to keep foreverandever! Need the Emails of the new SCCS Member Board? It’s on the site. Wondering when’s the next meeting, who’s speaking and where it is? It’s on the site! Need a map to the meeting that you can print out? It’s on the site! In fact, the next five months of meeting announcements are listed right on the front page. Sccs-online.org is also multi-media. Yes, just when you thought the website couldn’t get any better, there are video clips posted. You heard me right, video clips. Due to the efforts of the two Jacks (White and Zabawa) there are now four 10-minute video drawing lessons starring SCCS members Joe Schmidt, Doreen Douthit, John Wismont and Janet Williams. The lessons are diverse, delightful and they’re free. One word of caution - Don’t even think about putting together some sort of intervention party to save me from my sccs-online.org obsession. I’m not interested in quitting this addiction any time soon! Ohmygawd! They just added a Dry T-Shirt Contest! See U on-line! Karyl Miller, prez, SCCS
September 14, 2006 Eureka Moments
4 AM – Can’t sleep after coming home from the meeting. Too stimulated! I don’ t know about you but my favorite thing in life is when someone surprises me and tells me something I don’t already know; especially when somebody teaches me something about two things I’ve done my entire life (writing or drawing). That’s my kind of eureka moment.
It happened at the SCCS meeting tonight. In case you weren’t there, here’s what you missed: Instead of having a guest speaker - some expert from out of town, our speakers were four ordinary SCCS members. (Of course there’s nothing ordinary about artists, especially artists who not only draw, but they draw funny).
The only 2 requirements given our speakers were “Teach us something about art and keep the lesson to around 15 minutes.” Some were under, some were over but all I can say is eureka!
Our teachers were Darlene Douthit, John Wismont, Joe Schmidt and Janet Williams - all long-time members of SCCS. Tonight I found out more about them - their specific talents and backgrounds, than I have in the three years I’ ve known them! And what a fabulous way to get to know our fellow members. What our four artist-teachers had in common is - they’re all doubly talented and draw not only cartoons, but caricatures as well.
Darlene Douthit, our first demonstrator is an extraordinary portrait artist, caricaturist and children’s art teacher on top of the other art disciplines. Darlene chose to show us how she teaches children to draw cartoon people and animals. In seconds, her soft voice and gentle demeanor transformed us into a class of fascinated five year olds! I wished I had brought her an apple. She showed us how simple cartoon drawing could be and surely took the fear out of drawing for many former students.
John Wismont is a long-time SCCS member and revered among members as the caricaturist’s caricaturist. He showed us a profile caricature technique he perfected years ago as head of the Disneyland caricature staff. He figured that if all his artists used the same technique, customers wouldn’t be lining up and choosing one artist over another. I volunteered to be the model but considered it a sacrifice, since I had to steal glances at the dry-erase board as he quickly fashioned my likeness in a profile that would make my plastic surgeon proud.
Next came Joe Schmidt who has recently re-joined SCCS (and are we ever glad to have him back). Joe’s big and everything he does is like Joe – dynamic, animated and expressive. Where was this guy when I was struggling to draw my first cartoons? Joe taught animation and cartooning in the public school system, but his hilarious ‘toons are everywhere - from RV to Mad Magazine. Everybody was so enthralled Joe was forced to give another lesson after class!
Past president Janet Williams gave an unusual and fascinating lesson in composition, using a recent realistic painting she had done. She had used materials she had never used before, attempted something she had never attempted before, learned a lot and was proud of the result. I was reminded that no matter how much we know about painting and drawing – each individual piece – be it a cartoon or fine art - involves experiment and discovery. Maybe that’s the reason why we like creating art in the first place. Now aren’t you sorry you missed that meeting?
September 14, 2006 I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP MR. WHITE Yo SCCSers! Listen up. I’ve got to send a shout out to my homie Jack White. If my lingo is too hip, let me explain…
During last night’s meeting I got distracted and forgot to acknowledge Jack White’s tremendous contribution of video taping the art demonstrations. Obviously the professional newsman is adept on BOTH sides of the camera. I had NO idea.
BACK STORY: My Jack (Zabawa) thought it would be neat to video the art demos and if they came out good, to then edit them and post them on the SCCS website. Our camera died from neglect, so I called Jack White in a panic and asked if he happened to have a camera and if so, could he please bring it to the meeting. “Can do, my little lady. Don’t you worry about a thing. I can do it all.” For a second I thought I was talking to WC Fields.
Before the meeting began Jack lugged in his gear silently and stealthily, exactly like the crew would in a real TV studio. As a one-man crew - Jack had to be cameraman, soundman, lights AND director.
CONFESSION: Our camera miraculously came back to life before we left for the meeting and was lying-in-wait in the trunk of our car. But once we saw that Jack White’s camera made our camera look like it came from Toys R Us, there was no way we were going to haul it out and suffer the humiliation.
After Jack adjusted everything and got the “actor” wired for sound and in place, he stood for two hours sandwiched between a large camera and a hot spot light. Then, while the rest of us were standing around and schmoozing our heads off, Jack silently packed it all up. Picture that the next time you think show business is easy.
And then, just like the Lone Ranger dropping two silver bullets in my hand – Jack slips me two marked mini video cassettes and disappears into the night before I could thank him. So, Mr. White if you’re reading this - Thank You!
September 5, 2006 PREZ MESSage Madam Prez Hello Fellow Cartoonists. This is your new Madam President speaking. FACT: If I had believed back in 1973 that a woman could some day be president, I would never have burned my bra. And for a female candidate to be so overwhelmingly popular as to blow away all the competition and wind up running unopposed – well, I’ve come a long way, baby (or nobody else wanted this job). I’ ve never been a Madam President of anything, which may explain why I’m more comfortable being called a madam than a president; but I’m proudest when you call me a fellow cartoonist.
MY BACK STORY: After 30 years of sitcom writing and producing I decided to swap careers and become the next Greg Evans. Why? Well, I gotten to a point in my life where I asked myself the Big Question every artist asks himself “How can I stay home and make a million dollars in my pajamas?” These guys live the life of Riley – especially Evans. Becoming a nationally syndicated comic strip artist didn’t seem like that much of a stretch. I asked myself how hard could it be? After all, isn’t a comic strip just a sitcom on paper? All I have to is draw the pictures. I’m artistic enough. A quick trip to Aaron Brothers for $180 worth of pencils and I was ready to roll.
I drew up a rough draft of my strip and sent Emails to some pros asking for advice. Greg Evans answered right away. What a nice guy. I told him about my strip. He told me to drop by the next SCCS meeting and bring it. That was 30 or 40 meetings ago. I’m still revising my %$#@! strip! Okay, cartooning’s harder than it looks. Way!
Even though I only joined SCCS to become a better cartoonist, I wound up making friends with the most delightful collection of like-minded artistic odd balls - all better cartoonists than I. It’s flattering to be thought of as one of the leaders. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. Thanks to Dean for showing me the way. It’s going to be fun!
HOW SCCS WILL CHANGE
MORE MEMBER ACTION A club is more fun if you get involved and give your time. Like the lottery, you must be in it to win it. So ask not was SCCS can do for you; ask what you can do for SCCS. SCCS will have more outside fun activities in the future. Members will be given questionnaires asking what they can do for SCCS. Can you help clean up after meetings? Can you give a 10-minute drawing lesson or be a guest speaker? Anybody good at data entry using an Excel spreadsheet?
MORE PUBLIC We need to expose ourselves. Lately local cartoonists have been finding out about SCCS in the newspaper and becoming members. For about 6 months we’ve been sending out press releases to the local papers and online for each and every SCCS meeting and event. Past pres. Janet Williams will be the new SCCS Publicist.
MORE OUTREACH SCCS will be offering our talents beyond the Blood Bank Cartoonists Day caricature-drawing event. Volunteering our unique talents in the community is another way for SCCS to give back, get known, and a way for members to have fun and get to know other members. The Make-A Wish Tuna Challenge Event October 1 at the Silvergate Yacht Club will be the first of such events. Ten SCCS members will be drawing at MAWs biggest fund- raising event. Also, Greg Evans has donated a piece of his original comic art to be auctioned there and has also donated several dozen autographed Luann books to be sold. SCCS has been given a ¼-page ad in MAW souvenir donor book. Info about the MAW Tuna Challenge can be accessed by logging onto sccs-online.org. SCCS has also signed on to the Make A Wish resource list. It’s not unusual for a terminally ill child returning home from the hospital to wish for a remodeled bedroom. If they want cartoons painted on their walls, the SCCS ‘Toon Team will do the job!
MORE WEB Our new website sccs-online.org posts info about future meetings and events right on the first page. Because it’s instant, the website posts the most up-to- date info about SCCS. The site hosts links to member’s websites. Members without sites can still have a link to a page on our site in case they want to advertise their art business. If you have some news the webmaster Jack Zabawa will post it in Member News. There’s a photo album displaying photos of recent SCCS meetings and events. There’s even video! There are links to National Cartoonists Society and many other cartoon-related sites increasing out presence in the world of cartooning.
MORE STORE SCCS now has a store which can be accessed via sccs-online.org. Want a T- shirt, a mouse pad or a mug with either the new or the classic SCCS logo? Let’ s go shopping! To keep prices reasonable, all prices listed are the shopkeeper “base price,” meaning no profit goes to SCCS or anyone except cafépress.com who make and ship all the products.
MORE TECHNO We’re in the process of updating and streamlining our database to include your home addresses, phone numbers + Email. Members will finally get a private list of other SCCS member’s numbers and addresses. Check-in at meetings will be much faster, done on spreadsheet and updated monthly. Billing for dues will be done electronically whenever possible. We’re also building a bigger, more comprehensive E-mail list of members AND visitors and re-evaluating how we use our SCCS Yahoo Group (which is not popular).
MORE UNUSUAL MEETINGS Listening to famous guest speakers at meetings is great, but we hope to have more members volunteer to be speakers/teachers/demo givers. We’re also working on a meeting about that sadly overlooked minority - women cartoonists. Interactive meetings will be added. We’ll have more Pictionary games, draw- off contests, etc. Cartoonists of the future need to know everything about techno ‘tooning. October 11, a representative of WACOM industries to demo their amazing draw-directly-on-the-screen tablet at our meeting. Everyone will want to steal one!
MORE EVALUATION We’ll have a new Board composed of heads from each department. These members are the volunteers who give the most and have proven they have a real stake in the success of SCCS. We’ll be reviewing various SCCS issues in the coming months in order to create the best SCCS possible. Thanks for reading this far. Don’t know if I would have, especially with no laughs!