About two years ago, my family and I bought a new house and started the tedious job of packing everything we own. As is sometimes the case, there were things that were packed in haste, just to get the job done. One of the items that was handled in this way was the very first cartoon I’d ever gotten published. After unpacking, it didn’t turn up – I’d assumed it was accidentally discarded and was gone forevermore. Then yesterday, my wife stepped into my office holding the cartoon – how cool is that?
I didn’t start getting serious about cartooning till I’d returned from my last deployment in 2008. Prior to that, I knew it’s what I wanted to do, but circumstances sometimes require your attentions and energy elsewhere. I really put a great deal of effort into learning, drawing, and studying the great magazine cartoonists as well as the markets right beginning around 2000, and made my very first submission to a magazine the same year.
I’m a huge fan of nautical history and the ship models you see in museums – I read everything I can lay my hands on about the great men of the maritime past. As such, it’s only natural that the very first cartoon I submitted would be to “Ships in Scale” magazine. And to my utter surprise and delight, they bought it! I think I made $25 and, based on my reaction, you’d have thought I won the lottery.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after that, the horror of 9/11 occurred, and 6 days later I found myself deployed for the first of a number of deployments to follow. But even while in the Middle East, I had my trusty copy of Mort Gerberg’s, “Cartooning: The Art and the Business” with me wherever I went.
So now, much has changed. I’ve hung up my uniform for the last time, and have had the great honor and privilege to see my work syndicated in newspapers and published in places like the Wall Street Journal, Hallmark cards in the UK, and many, many other markets. I’m also immensely grateful to have such wonderful people follow my work – the kind remarks I get absolutely blow me away – thank you!
I’m often approached by cartoonists in the beginning stages of their journey, and they ask me questions about how I got started, about adversity and how to handle it, etc. Well, in answer to both those questions, here it is – the very first cartoon I’d ever gotten published and what followed, albeit exceedingly briefly. Once again, thank you all so much for accompanying me on this amazing journey!