Captions Courageous
by Karyl Miller,prez, SCCS
Karyl@MillerReport.com
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

9/14/06

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!

Karyl Miller, yer prez.
Drop me a line anytime
Karyl@MillerReport.com