Saturday, November 14, 2009

Best Cartoonist Award

Taking a break from my sketching a catalog cover tonight and a few thoughts hit me.

Bill Watterson is my favorite cartoonist. Not only for "Calvin and Hobbes," although that certainly qualifies. His wit, his comic timing, and his draftsmanship were superb. But, the reason he is my favorite is he did it as an artistic expression foremost, and when it was such a popular and financial success he was able to walk away from it. It never became his addiction.

That is a rare gift. I would love to meet him some day. He was not a National Cartoonist Society member, though we honored him twice with our highest award, the Reuben. Alas, it was 7 years before I received my first NCS award, so I never got to meet him.

My only disappointment with him is, if I had been in his shoes, I would have wanted to share a little of the intangibles of artistry and life choices with the people he might have met in our profession who share his values. I still hope I get the chance one day.

I surely admire him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Pittman

Wow, it has been so long since I have blogged I almost forgot my login info!

This blog is not about me or my work. It's about my older brother, Scott. His life was cut short at 28, many years ago, but he was one great brother. Where I excelled in music and arts, he excelled in sports. I was playing drums in the high school band when I saw him return a kickoff 99+ yards for a touchdown! A state record at the time! His high school football team had a state championship record where they were not only unbeaten, but every game they were unscored upon!

In baseball, I saw him pitch the only perfect game I ever saw. And I mean TRUE perfect game-- three batters up, three batters down for every inning. No balls, no fouls-- every pitch a strike!

As it was getting near the last inning, the opposing team had a hitter come to the plate who was renowned for hitting a home run almost every time up. My brother had struck him out each previous time at bat, but certainly not this last time at the plate. No one could fan this amazing slugger every time.

Then I saw something I'd never seen before-- my brother switched his pitching style. Instead of taking a wind-up as most pitchers do, he simply faced the batter and all of a sudden tossed the ball! "Quick pitching" it is called. I never even heard of it. It gets the timing of the batter completely off as they see no wind-up and no notice of when the ball is going to be released.

And it worked! The slugger was completely bamboozled! Swinging sometimes before the ball reached the plate, and sometimes after it was already in the catcher's glove.

My brother was always proud of my academic, musical, and artistic accomplishments. I wish I had told him how proud I was of his sports ability. He was the best natural athlete I ever saw.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good Friends Are Priceless

Today, my good friend, Nick Meglin, longtime editor of MAD Magazine, gave me some Jack Davis originals from a MAD publication. Jack probably influenced every cartoonist alive with his work, not the least--me! He presented me with my second Reuben award from the National Cartoonists Society, which is a special treasure for many reasons. What a thrill to have his original work which so influenced me! Nick and I are going to do a book together. I am excited! To work with talents such as Nick is a rare privilege in our profession. They are labors of love. And I've found, from my years in this business, they are the projects that are most satisfying irrespective of financial gain. It's an opportunity to work with a fellow artist and produce something wonderful as a collaboration! What a great occupation!