Friday, January 26, 2007

A Fish Story;

A weird illustration of mine is in today’s (Saturday, Jan. 27th) New York Times sports section. It was a lot of fun but the best part was having my friends help me figure out an ending for the cartoon. The drawing is the Greenberg Grab, a method in fly-fishing to landing a fish. The Times give me free rein to do what I want, something I'm very grateful for (and as a result, my best work in the past few years have been for the Times).

When I first turned the job in I got an e-mail saying, thanks, the art director and editor loved it, your talent is staggering…or something to that effect. Shortly after that I got another e-mail explaining that a higher up at the Times found my cartoon offensive and I would have to change the last guilty panel – the angler trying to catch the fish in his pants.

I leave to send out a missive to friends asking for suggestions for that last panel, the Greenberg Surprise. This included my friend Len, who is very funny – a connoisseur of jokes with a colorful background in humor (having once hosted a comedy show on NPR and has a brother who is a famous comedian). My buffet brother,* John, is also very funny and like me, a freelance illustrator. But he’s not just any illustrator but one of the best in the country and his work is seen everywhere. His most visible piece is his poster for Broadway’s The Odd Couple (his art can be enjoyed at I also asked my next-door neighbor (in Pennsylvania), an accomplished expert fly fisherman who I consider not just a friend but spiritual guide (he’s got a whole Zen thing going on). And, finally, my brother, who was extremely helpful as a sounding board for the jokes in my upcoming snowman book. So quite an eclectic group of advisers for this stupid little drawing.

Their fish stories were as varied as there are ways to prepare fish; the menu included…fish going into his shirt or instead have the fisherman catching a boot…or a fish sandwich…have him using a remote control to catch the fish, have the fish catching the guy…have the fish eating the guy…have the fish opening a can of beer for the guy, and finally…add a female assistant. But the most common suggestion was to have the fish biting him in the butt.

In the end I came up with this idea (in the shower while role playing) and the conservative solution is seen here as it appears in the Times today. Thanks to all the help and fun I had using a focus group to do this assignment.

By the way, I used Corel Painter IX. After geling the pen tool layer, I used the watercolor tool for wash.
*Spring Garden Seafood All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant in Hamlin and The Country Buffet

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: