Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010


For the upcoming holidays, Playhouse Merced's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. In researching for the poster, I read an amazing statistic: The original 1958 broadcast of this made-for-television musical, starring Julie Andrews, was broadcast live on the evening of March 31, 1957. It was watched by the largest TV viewership at that time–107 million viewers. That was 60% of the American population in 1957.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reindeer Series #1 of 50

It's beginning to look a lot like... well, Halloween, actually. But that's okay, the holidays can't be too far behind. With that in mind, it's time for another series of 50 'toons in the spirit of last year's 50 Snowman Series. For 2010, it's 50 Reindeer. Release the wise crackin'!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reefer Madness

This poster is for Playhouse Merced's production of Reefer Madness, a madcap musical send-up of the infamously over-the-top 1930's anti-pot propaganda film.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

12 Angry Men

For this Playhouse Merced poster, I was channeling Saul Bass, genius designer of iconic posters for movies like Vertigo, West Side Story, The Man with the Golden Arm and many others.

The play takes place in a jury room, where tensions rise as jurors decide the fate of a young accused murderer. The idea of the poster was to show 11 jurors vs. 1, which is how things stand after the first vote: 11 say guilty, 1 says not guilty). The murder weapon, a switchblade - Exhibit A, is pointed toward the chair, which hopefully seems as if it was knocked over during a moment of heated debate.

Check out the show in Merced September 24 - October 3. It's being directed by my good friend Jim Kocher.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Unfamily Tradition

In 1968, I was 6 years old. My folks decided to have a picnic in San Mateo County Memorial Park. There were about a dozen or so folks there that first year. It became an annual event each summer and through the years more and more people started attending the picnic.

We called it our family picnic for many years until one of our friends, Jann Boyd, said it's really an "unfamily" picnic since there were so many various families and individuals that attended each year. The name stuck.

It's a day of food, horseshoes, BBQ, volleyball, food, enjoying the redwoods, hiking, food, laughter, friendship and, of course, food.

Year before last, my brother and I devised this logo which captures some of the spirit of the day. (The "L" in the logo is a banana slug, which you can find throughout the park if you look carefully.)

New Playhouse Merced Poster

This is the latest poster I did for Playhouse Merced's upcoming production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The design elements are picked up from the set designs by Playhouse Merced's Corey Strauss, who creates these incredible worlds on stage. I really like that the poster will tie in with the actual show. Also, it's fun to come up with posters that are mostly type design sometimes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Illustration Friday: DOUBLE

Creature Features was a locally-produced TV show in the San Francisco Bay Area when I was a kid. Every Saturday night, host Bob Wilkins (and later, John Stanley) broadcast sometimes classic, sometimes cheesy horror movies. During commercial breaks, the low-key Wilkins would tell viewers what was on other channels if the movie was particularly bad. This irreverent approach garnered him a loyal following for many years.

The show was promoted with humorous ads in TV Guide, and my contribution to this week's Illustration Friday is a little tribute to those little ads.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Illustration Friday: GIANT

This week's Illustration Friday topic is GIANT. I drew a not-so-jolly green giant. Living near San Francisco, I have seen Giants before.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Illustration Friday: RIPPLE

This week's Illustration Friday topic was "Ripple" due to the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hey, this ad is phone-y!

As part of a brochure for Playhouse Merced's upcoming season of shows, we were looking for a way to unify a diverse offerings of shows. Making "app" icons for them seemed to work.

Bye Bye Birdie Poster

The latest Playhouse Merced poster. Sadly, I didn't get to see the show this time due to a busy schedule.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What a croc.

This is from an illustration from Kid Scoop's page about tennis.

Q: What French tennis player started a clothing line with the crocodile as its logo?

a. René Lacoste
b. Andre Agassi
C. Ralph Lauren

Friday, April 9, 2010

Buddy The Wonder Dogg

Here's a quick sketch of my dog, Buddy, as he appears each day in my studio. Poised, ready to leap into action at any moment. Don't let the snoring fool you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Illustration Friday: DIP

This week's word was DIP. So, in the spirit of Easter, here's my contribution.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Illustration Friday: EXPIRED

This week's Illustration Friday word was expired. It brought instantly to mind parking meters and dead bugs. So there you have it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Candle Lighters Ghost House

Here's the logo for this year's Candle Lighters Ghost House. This 41st annual walk-thru haunted attraction is located in Fremont, California. In addition to the Ghost House, there is a midway with carnival games, food booths and a general store. All of the money the Ghost House scares up supports a number of local non-profits. My wife and I have been involved with the Candle Lighters for the past 6 years.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Illustration Friday: Propagate

This week's word for Illustration Friday is "propagate." How one goldfish was able to propagate so proficiently I cannot explain. I'm just a cartoonist, not a biologist.

New Playhouse Merced Poster

Latest poster for Playhouse Merced's upcoming production of Macbeth. I wanted there to be a tangled, spider-webby sort of feel to it plus the look of an Alfred Hitchcock/Saul Bass movie poster.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Illustration Friday: MUDDY

Apparently, this swine flew. Hahahahah! Ya get it? You see what I did there?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coming Attractions

My next series of cartoons will be a series of 14. I'll be illustrating the SEVEN DEADLY SINS and THE SEVEN VIRTUES. The Bad 7 are wrath, greed, pride, sloth, envy, lust and gluttony. As a counterpoint, the 7 virtues are: chastity, temperence, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.

Starting this weekend.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

'Company' cartoon

Playhouse Merced's production of 'Company' will feature some "New Yorker" - style cartoons by yours truly. They'll appear throughout the show as big posters. The show is set in the early 1970s, so the gags in the cartoons are meant to reflect that era and relationships. Here's a sample. (To see the rest, you have to go to the show. Support live theater! ; )

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You Make The Call!

The 50 Snowman project was fun to do. I had no idea where it would go. It started off one way and made the turn into puns and that was that. What was fun was that it got folks thinking up snowman gags and ideas, too.

So, what should be next? I'm going to do something Halloween related for sure this fall, but it's a bit early in the year for that. I'm asking for your suggestions. It doesn't have to be 50 of something, by the way. It is fun to come up with a "complete set" of things, but I'm totally open to suggestions.

Think about it, and post a comment below or send me an e-mail (kar2oonman@gmail.com) and let's see what happens.

Tunes That Are Looney

I may have discovered the happiest little album ever in the history of earth. "The Music of Raymond Scott: Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights." It's this whacked-out 1930's jazz music that was often borrowed for old Warner Bros. cartoons in that era.

You'd all recognize "Powerhouse" as that industrial/factory sounding tune -- you can imagine Daffy Duck pushing some poor sap into the cogs and gears of some automated assembly line when you hear this music. This is Toontown music at its tooniest.

Anyway, the whole thing is nuts. I think it's impossible not to smile when you listen to it. Fun, fun stuff!


One of the images for Playhouse Merced's production of Stephen Sondheim's 'Company'. They're using cartoons and cartoon images as the sets for this production.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Next time...

Fred Flintstone

Way back when I was in elementary school, there was a kid who could draw Fred Flintstone really well. I was instantly impressed (and jealous) at how easily he could dash off a sketch of Fred or characters from The Wizard of Id or just about anything. No idea if he pursued a career in art, but to me his ability was already amazing in 4th grade.

Here's my take on Fred Flintstone. A pencil sketch and a more fully-rendered version. I made him a little more cartoony and goofy and chunky looking than the "official" Fred we all know today. What do you think?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snowman Series #47 of 50

Snowman Series #46 of 50

Scurvy Pirate

For an upcoming Kid Scoop page about vitamin C, I drew this pirate. (Pirates and other seafaring types were always battling scurvy due to a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables aboard their ships. Rum can only do so much.)

Under the Weather

Sorry for the delay in the last few of the snowman series. I've been really under the weather this week with a hideous cold. (Though "Under the Weather" isn't a bad idea for one of the remaining snowmen... we'll see.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This is a poster I did for Playhouse Merced's upcoming production of Company, Stephen Sondheim's 1970 musical comedy about 35 year old Bobby's birthday midlife crisis.

My mom and dad played the original Broadway cast album all the time when I was a kid. So when Jim Kocher sent me the script and a CD of the music, it was like stepping into the Wayback Machine.

Snowman Series #45 of 50