Thursday, April 30, 2009

Announcement: Mother's Day in the Bird World

From Linda Bittner:
Mother’s Day in the Bird World Exhibit
May 4-16 Artists’ Reception - May 8th 6-8 PM
Featuring celebrated Cincinnati artists
Linda Bittner-DeVere Burt-Mark Eberhard-Ann Geisewith
It is a wonderful selection of beautiful bird portraits that will set Mom’s heart a flutter!
Row House Gallery& Custom Framing
211 Main Street - Milford, OH

Greeting Card Chronicles #3

As promised, here's the card that tickled the funny bone of an incarcerated felon so much that he had to send a letter to Gibson Greetings to express his glee.

As I recall, I was working diligently at my desk when the Production Manager of the Art Dept. came up to me and said, "You have a fan." He handed me a letter that was written on a ripped out page of a spiral notebook. As best as I can recall it said,"Dear artist Collins, This accident card is the funniest greeting card I've ever seen in my life! Most funny greeting cards are not so funny. I like how the guy in the purple pants is hitting the street. There is also no way they will be able to turn the net quick enough to catch the lady in the pink dress either. Ha!"

"Do you have any more cards like this one? I can not get to the store to buy them myself but I have family that can get them for me. Your fan, ... (I don't remember his name, although he was locked up at The Lebanon or Lima Correctional Institute.)

I am paraphrasing here, but that is it to the best of my recollection. I asked if I could keep the letter or at least copy it, but Gibson wouldn't let me.

This dude really had to go over this card with a fine toothed comb to find my name. It's really small, just above the fireman on the right's thumb.

I don't score supermodels or centerfold playmates as fans, just criminally deranged dudes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monster Pals

I'm finally posting my Monster Pals comic, after much prodding from Christina. I wish I had four of them so I could out-post Daryll, but alas, this is my one and only.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Greeting Card Cronicles #2

In an attempt to break Steve Meek's one day record for blog posts on this site, I bring you my third entry of the day , "You Can't Do That On A Greeting Card In 2009!"

I am amazed at what we were able to get away with "back in the day". I probably created the above card in 1984 or '85.

I doubt if any of the mainstream companies would have Easter cards featuring gunplay these days. Especially when it portrays a hunter shooting at a little old lady walking to church!

There also used to be a ton of graduation cards featuring drinking.

In our next greeting card expose', we'll look at a card I did that an incarcerated felon thought was the funniest greeting card he had ever seen!

Stay tuned...

Greeting Card Cronicles #1

In what I hope will be a continuing feature of this blog is a little something I like to call the Greeting Card Cronicles. I'll be showcasing a variety of peculiar and mind-bending antidotes about the industry where I got my first big break.

On the left is a job I did for Hallmark a few years back. It features a fan getting autographs from a variety of baseball players. Imagine my surprise a few years later when perusing the racks of a local card shop when I came upon card #2. I looked at it and thought,"This looks strangely familiar, but this is definitely not one of my cards." I bought it, came home and looked over my collection of cards I had done for Hallmark. I found the baseball one and burst out laughing!

Apparently one of Hallmark's staff artists liked my characters so much that they practically copied every character for their own office card assignment!

At least this "artist" had the decency to not sign their name. 

Horsin' Around

A few weeks back at one of our Wednesday lunches, we were looking over some of Christina's outstanding Black Beauty illustrations. I commented that I was glad that as a cartoonist I could just sidestep actual horse anatomy and draw their legs "rubber hose" style.
Well, low and behold, I unearthed this gem from my Gibson Greetings days. I actually made the attempt to render the horses in an actual horse-like manner! 

Monday, April 27, 2009

FREE ART: Win this "Hot Rod Devil"

I'm giving away "Hot Rod Devil," an original watercolor and ink drawing, to promote my blog, "Open Mind Sketchbook."

Come and visit if you like what you see. Everyone who leaves a comment there between now and May 12 is automatically eligible to win.

Illustrator News: Woodrow Hinton III

Lots of news from Woody!

First, he got two pieces in Spectrum 16! Check out his blog to see which pieces got in! (We debated at a recent illustrators' lunch the ones probably selected...)

Also, he has been quite busy lately and has work in books from Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, and Moonstone coming out. See the list and links here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Announcement: 4-Color Stimulus Art Show

From Jim Effler: 4-Color Stimulus is a stimulating exhibition of four oil painters, Alice Allison, Cindy Harlan Youse, Jim Effler, and Tom Post. Tasty stimulants by renowned Grand Finale Restaurant's, Chef Larry Youse. Stimulatives for your mind, your spirit and your taste buds.

Opening Reception at the Wessel Gallery on Friday, May 8, 2009 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Also open on Saturday, May 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 10, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The address is: 1021 Parkside Place

Portion of the proceeds will benefit the Cincinnati Art Club.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Karmic Anthology: No Payne, No Gain

Here's the infamous Birthday greeting for Chris's 50th. (thanks, Tim, for bringing up the subject) You can click on each page to get a bigger picture.
There's even a guide at the bottom to tell you who drew what.
Wow, I'm pretty sure all these guys are still alive —and employed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Announcement: Cincinnati Comic Anthology Project

Message from S.P.A.C.E. from Tim Fuller

After attending the Small Press Expo in Columbus last weekend, I came to the realization that I was not spending enough time developing my cartooning skills. We saw a great deal of talented folks producing a lot of very interesting material. It gave me a renewed sense of enthusiasm for finishing up some of my comic book projects.

I was also interested in the number of anthologies available there. Seeing them sparked an idea that is very obvious. Why not put together a Cincinnati-based comic book featuring illustrators from our group? Many of the members of the group are into comics and already do their own stories. It would be great to showcase them in one place.

In the 80s, I edited and published a funny animal anthology, “Hardboiled Animal Comics”, which was very popular. It would be fun to put together an even better one using the methods that were not available then.

I’d like to use this space to solicit contributions to a new book I’m calling “Queen City Funnies.” I think it would be very possible to fill an 80-page book.

There’s much research still to be done, but at this point I envision a soft cover, full color book. Aside from presenting our work, I want to feature bios and contact info. We can list our websites and promote any other projects we’d like to sell. I might even solicit advertising from some local comic shops to help with printing costs. Everyone would also be able to sell the book through their own websites and at comic cons. As everyone is very busy, the deadline would need to be generous, I’m thinking the end of this year at least, to give us plenty of time to fit this in between our regular work, without having to rush. The number of pages would be up to the artists, as would subject matter. My own comics are humorous, usually talking animals. Autobiographical comics would also work well. Or stories relating to the city would be appropriate. Artists would, of course, retain all rights to their work.

In order to get this off the ground, ideas and suggestions would be very welcome. I will continue to post updates as this project develops. If you are interested, let me know at


Announcement: SCBWI Mixer

Don't forget:

A Mixer for Greater Cincinnati Area Children's Writers and Illustrators

Come enjoy snacks and drinks while meeting fellow kid writers and illustrators.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 from 7:00 - 10:00 pm

Details in the previous post!

Hope to see you there!

Final Painting

The painting is finished! All digital on the Cintiq.

I did not use much of the Painter program as promised. I need to force myself-this is mostly Photoshop.

As I said, there is a Thumbelina feel about this that I realized in the sketch but it is not really a bad thing. Yes, there is supposed to be a sinister vibe from the chipmunk.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Momma Said knock You Out

Another poster for the Cincinnati Rollergirls- their next bout is on May 9th. Mosey on down to for more info, I'll be attending this one!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Article on Christina in Cin Weekly

Howdy Folks,
 Christina is in an article called "My Job Rocks" in CinWeekly this month. Her picture is on the cover and inside. Check it out on the newstands or look at it online here:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Comic Anthology Cover

In honor of the small press comic book show in Columbus this weekend, here is a cover I did for my friend Allen Freeman's comic anthology, Slam Bang, a couple years ago.

He thought it would be really funny showing an alien being pampered in a salon. I do not get to do cartoons very often so this was really fun.

I am really interested in developing a graphic novel for kids. I finally have come up with an idea-I just need to pull it off! I am still in the post-it note/ideation phase.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Cricket hired me to do a couple of illustrations for their magazine. This was a 2 page spread. They liked my unique  combination of photography and illustration.


I was playing around with the built-in camera in my new Mac and incorporated my hand, after much digital manipulation, into this collage image. I think it works. What do you think?

Well heck, I didn't win the Mobo poster competition. I think I should have. I'll let you all enjoy it. I went around Northside and did a lot of digital photography of grafitti, banners, buildings, storefronts, etc. and incorporated it into the background to give some context for the bicyclists.

Crazy Kitten

This is an image for fun. I've been trying some new techniques. Enjoy!

Sketch for Digital Painting

This is basically a companion piece to this earlier image that I posted.

It has almost a Thumbelina quality but I am playing a bit with scale in the fairy painting tradition. The chipmunk may get bigger.

I will try to utilize Painter a lot more but we will see...

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I'm looking for a bit of advice. I posted this painting, "Strange Dreams," on my Web site, and I've received a request for an original acrylic based on it - perhaps 18 x 18, or 24 x 24.

I need to buy new acrylic paints and a canvas. I need permanence and affordability. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cincinnati Roller Girls Poster

This is a poster I recently completed for the Cincinnati Rollergirls' upcoming April 11th Bout. The bout is called "Some Bunny's Gonna get Hurt," and it's at the Cincinnati Gardens. I recommend that anyone who hasn't seen derby see it right this second! Or on April 11th can find out or about the event at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Game Box Illustration

Here is a vector illustration I did for Wild Planet for a preschool game called Animal Scramble. It was a fun project! (And currently in Target stores!)

Here is the final box:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lookout!!! Stock Companies are Accussing Artists About Copyright!!!!

As Visual Ambassador I have to screem ... 
Stock companies are having a field day in court!

14 years ago I was called by a royality stock company (which is still in business) about selling all rights to 20 illustrations by one of my artists for $150.00 each.  The stock company owner (this is not exacuationg) was PISSED at me when I said no way, try $5,000 each.  Four months later I got a fax from a designer in Seattle asking if we did an image for his local paper?  Well, I research the stock companies site to find some copied my artist's work!!  We took it to court only to find out they had the artist, who ripped off my artist, sign an agreement that he was the creator and waved the stock firm of any responsibility.  The artist was just out of school, had no idea this was against the law and had no money.  The stock firm refused to take the work off their site saying it was between our firm and the young artists.  They bought the images from the young artist no us.

We continued going after the stock firm but it was 3 years before the stock firm took the images off their site. Now stock companies are going after artists on "look a like" images!!!  What about these sites on designing logos for $325.00.  I have a great story there as well.  

You must read this blog!!!

Announcement: Third Time is a Charm!

A Mixer for Greater Cincinnati Area Children's Writers and Illustrators

Come enjoy snacks and drinks while meeting fellow kid writers and illustrators.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 from 7:00 - 10:00 pm
WHERE: The Blue Marble Children’s Bookstore (See below for directions.)
WHAT to BRING: A beverage OR snack to share.
TO RSVP: Please email Dave at The Blue Marble ( if you plan to attend. Put "Writers Night" in the subject line.

**Feel free to forward this invite to other local children's writers and illustrators. The more the merrier!**

Questions? Contact Mary Kay Carson: or Ph: 513/542-7922

DIRECTIONS to Blue Marble Children's Bookstore from Cincinnati and points north:
1. From I-71 or I-75 heading south through downtown, follow signs to the I-471"Big Mac" bridge and cross the Ohio River.
2. Take Exit #2- U.S. 27/Alexandria Pike and turn left at the light onto U.S. 27 South.
3. Go to the fourth traffic light, at the top of the hill, and make a sharp left onto S.R. 1120/South Fort Thomas Avenue.
4. The bookstore is half a block down on the right, just past the YMCA on the left. Parking is available on either side of the street.

Need different directions? Visit Blue Marble's website ( or call them at 859-781-0602.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Commissioned portrait drawing

Here's a recent commissioned portrait I completed. I am getting more drawing commissions than painting as people try to save some money. The image is 20" x 16" and is charcoal on a prepared acrylic ground.