Friday, March 30, 2007

Cartoon Reject

Here is a one of the many cartoons I pitched to TimeOut and had rejected;

Illustrated Guide to The Passover Makeover

Here are the latest efforts to market Passover;

Holiday specials include; A Charlie Brown Seder,
Survivor in Israel
and Noshing with the Stars.

New Fashion from The Gap for Orthodox.

Exciting new food branding. Gefilte Fish Fruit Roll-ups for kids, Matzah Balls On the Go, and for dogs, Brisket Bits, the kosher dog food.

Blogger Rabbi Joel Glickstein will podcast Seder live on YouShmooze.

Adam Sandler and Sarah Silverman star in Woody Allen’s new racy romantic comedy, Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

Just in time for Opening Day, Major League Baseball announces the first ever all-senior baseball team, The Manhattan Beach Meshugehs.

NPR premieres their new program, Prairie Home Chutzpah.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tools of the Trade Part II

For any I may have misled thinking I was going to talk about physical tools of the trade, here’s a quick tech post.

I use a pair of Mac Intels, each with their own Wacom pad and each with a “continuous” pair of monitors. A pair of G4s and a laptop are my back-ups. An external hard drive, the size of a pack of cigarettes, and a subscription to .Mac, theoretically, keep the computers in sync, along with a handful of thumb drives that are God knows where (things are constantly disappearing in my life – I’m like a melon truck on a bumpy road).

The other day one of the monitors turned green, like it ate a bad file. So off to the chat rooms for a diagnosis I went. I tried using the monitor on its side, tried degaussing, wiggling the cables, kicking it. Finally, its color reappeared when I turned the monitor around to face the wall.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Apologies to all who follow this blog. For the past few weeks I was unable to post as I was involved in multible legal proceedings including an apartment closing (for my place in Brooklyn), a contract dispute and 2 court cases. I'd finish into the evening dealing with all the phone calls to lawyers, etc. then working through the night on freelance jobs until 4 am or so and catch three or so hours sleep. I won't bore you with the details and a couple are ongoing so I can't anyway. One case that finished (in my favor) was stopping a subdivision from being built next door to me. I testified and stated my objections to my neighbor trying to illegally start a development on her land – it was a violation of zoning and she forged deeds.

I chair a Preservation Land committee in Pennsylvania and this is the second house development I successfully blocked. The other has since become ten acres of public forest for everyone to enjoy. I have been heavily involved in the Lacawac Sanctuary and until my recent time problems, I produced a quarterly newsletter called Notes From the Forest which discusses scientifc work and research at this 500-acre site where it can boost having the most Southern North American glacier lake.

Anyway, please revisit Freelancer's Lament as I resume a every other day schedule of posting on this blog. Thanks and again sorry for dropping out of sight.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tools of the Trade

Copyright 2007 © Bob Eckstein. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Courtesy of Picturetown, Inc.®

One constant in this business is getting ripped off – not getting paid for work you’ve done or not getting paid the amount agreed on. My personal favorite is not getting paid for work being reprinted without your permission. In other words you’re reading a book or magazine, and you’re thinking, wow, that illustration sure looks a lot like my style, hey wait, that is my illustration. Has happened more times than you would think. Once I confronted the lead singer of a rock group who used my art, without my permission, for their poster (I won’t mention the band and give them a plug, because they’re as unknown as I am). In the ‘90s it was happening frequently and with students coming out of my classes with work that too often bore a resemblance to mine, I turned to the restroom style that pays my bills today – it’s a style that can’t be stolen as it’s practically devoid of style.

Back in the ‘80s I was the main contributor for a magazine called Spy. (Above is a cartoon of mine – the last cartoon ever published in Spy.) Although I appeared hundreds of times in this popular magazine and my cartoons, stories, charts and illustrations help define their style, I was not mentioned in their anniversary book, Spy the Funny Years and (only) appeared on 6 pages (for they most famous piece which wound-up on TV). I expressed my disappointment over this and instructed them how they could make it up to me – they, after all, had received $1.2 million book advance. After a lot of apologies and aggravation all I got was a small check for $1,200 from the founder who, ironically, I told face-to-face at the book party, was the same amount we settled for out of court (for a different time he owed me money for a different magazine).

To put salt in the wound, at the same time I’ve been writing out checks all over town to legally purchase permission to print artwork for my upcoming book. My advance was about 4% of theirs. (It was announced this morning Jenna Bush got over $300K. That buckethead's book initial run is slated for 500,000. Mine is about 18 books.) My total costs for producing my snowman book is in the five figures not counting the around six figures in work I passed up on the past five years to research snowmen in the Middle Ages. A lot is resting on these snowmen.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Birthday Boy

Growing up I got interested in cartoons reading paperback collections of Sam Gross. Above is a homage I did a very long time ago – no, it's not as funny as a Sam Gross but I'm no Sam Gross. (But I have always liked using nontraditional punchlines when a viewer is expecting a gag.)

I'm not the only person who considers him the world's funniest cartoonist, of course, and many of my favorite cartoonists site Mr. Gross as their biggest influence. He used to be in National Lampoon, SPY, Village Voice, etc. While I also cartooned for those magazines (and also got my start at the Voice) I only briefly met my idol once (at a Playboy party)...until two days ago, when for my birthday, I was invited to the New Yorker cartoon lunch in midtown where I met face-to-face many of my cartoon heroes. I gushed, blushed and sweated like a yak in the presence of the world's best cartoonists.

I wound up spending almost the whole day with Sam Gross, going to a reading by cartoonist Marissa Acocella Marchetto at the Gilda Club for her fantastic book Cancer Vixen (where I cried) and then a late dinner. All the time hearing fascinating stories from the trenches of freelance cartooning. More later – I have to send out permission forms for my book. Cartoonists (Sam Gross included!) are contributing their work to my book and there's much paperwork to square away in the next few days leading up to my book deadline.

Stumble Upon Toolbar