Tag Archives: dayton

Cartoon Museum? Yes!

10 Dec

This past Thursday on a cold, windy day, my family and I decided to get out of town and take a trip east to Columbus, Ohio. It’s only about an hour away from our home in Dayton, so it’s a nice little getaway.

Though it’s always nice to take random road trips, on this one we had a mission: Go to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University.


I get irritated at myself on the little things I miss out on. Here is a museum for cartoonists – and I NEVER went to it until this visit. I mean, a museum dedicated to my industry in my own backyard and – for some reason or another – it’s my first time going there. SMH




What goes around, paints around

16 Sep

I talked a bit about it in my previous post about how cartooning has been lackluster this past summer.  How do I mean?  Let me put it this way –  I have good things going, but they’re not really going anywhere.  At least not quickly.  Things have been a bit stagnant recently.

I keep up my daily cartoon series.  That’s not going anywhere.  But not much has grown.

The newspaper business is dismal as ever.  As a child, that was my initial intention for my work            (syndication in the daily rags).  But, times have changed.  That’s an area a bit out of my control.  The newspapers aren’t budging when it comes to adding new comics (which, I truly believe would help skyrocket their declining sales).

However, there are other media outlets.  Which I push for constantly.  Sometimes they hit – sometimes they miss.  Regardless, it’s very inconsistent.

I have high hopes though for the future with a lot of my work.  One is the licensing part.  The work I produce IS getting licensed out regularly – which is great.  But, it’s kind of like car sales in the sense that I have good months and bad.  I’m not sure how to make that much bigger, but I’m hoping it grows naturally (which, I feel like it is).

Then there’s greeting cards, my online syndication and the newspapers I’m actually in (thanks, Tampa Bay Times).


But, it’s not GROWING at a comfortable pace.

I almost feel like I need to reinvent the wheel on how to make the gag cartoons a more substantial part of my work.  So, I’m tinkering around with some ideas for it.  I have no idea what this new reinvention is yet – but I am trying to think.  You know how Uber changed the taxi service?  Okay, well that’s my mindset.  It’s a stretch – I know.  But at least I’m bouncing around ideas.

As a lot of my regular work is really so-so, I have other ambitions in cartooning and other mediums I’m wanting to pursue.  I have my graphic novels, books and on a side note, I really want to start producing more MAD Magazine material.

That all needs time.

Along with time, I need to keep the lights on.  Sources of income are important.

Therefore, this past month I started a new company that fits with my field.  It’s designed to keep me busy with cartooning ambitions during the day and art at night.  It’s called Painting Around Dayton.

Painting Around Dayton Logo Final 400

The idea came to me actually about four months ago as I tried my hand at teaching paint and sip venues around the area.  I thought to myself, “Hey, I should just do this on my own.  My own business.  Yeah, let’s try that.”

It’s painting, drinking and having fun.

So, I brought on a good business partner and we launched last Saturday.

We basically go to different restaurants, bars, establishment and paint and drink (like I mentioned).  I standup in front of everyone, give a step-by-step instructions on a featured painting and we offer two free alcoholic beverages.  And then if a attendee wants more to sip on (or food) they can order more.  It’s about two hours long and everyone has fun.  I coin it as more of a good time than an art lesson.  At the end of the night (or day) though, it’s a bit of both.  And everyone gets to take home their masterpiece.  It’s a win-win for attendees, the businesses it’s hosted in and us.  Oh, and again – it’s a blast.

It’s not a brand new concept.  Nope.  Paint and sip venues have been around for about a decade or so.  But, it is a growing trend.  And we (Painting Around Dayton) separate ourselves from others by being local, featuring local Ohio/Dayton scenes (most of the time) and providing imported wine (free) to many events.  I feel it’s much better than any other venue(s) around here.  Plus you get to hear my attempts at lame jokes – which can sometimes be worth the ticket price alone.

As I try to figure out cartooning and what can be done with my gag cartoons, this is a great filler.  It’s nice to get out of the studio and still create art.  Having an audience in person (instead of imagining them reading my comics online) is a satisfying experience as well.  I’ve made new friends along the way and am anxious to meet more people as I continue to do this.

The business IS growing.  And I plan on keeping it around for a long time.  I’m envisioning hiring on some new artists soon.  I’m not sure how big it’s going to get (considering we’re staying in Dayton), but it’s fun.  And it works.  So for now, that’s what matters.

My lackluster summer for cartooning I’m putting behind me.  I’ll work on making cartooning better and while I do so, I’ll be painting around Dayton.

Below are some pics from our recent event.

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Creating Time or Creating?

11 Mar

Last Friday I woke up to – shall we say – almost a feeling of sand in my throat, gasping and a runny nose that gave Niagara Falls a run for its money.  I was sick.

The frustrating thing about it all was I hardly ever get sick.  I take pretty decent care of myself, but yeah, somehow I caught this vicious, nasty thing that had control of my life for the following three days.

Fever, cold-sweats and all.Head Cold copy

I felt like death warmed over a pressure cooker.

At any rate, I’m feeling better.  Sure, I still have the persistent little cough that comes with these type of things, but no – I’m doing well.  Even ran for 45 minutes today on the treadmill and ventured out in the beautiful Dayton, Ohio countryside downtown amongst the mills, construction and brown Miami River.

So, okay.  What does this have to do with anything?

Due to being sick, I have felt massively behind with my work.  I’m nowhere near financially where I want to be and getting that virus or whatever it was really took its toll on what was supposed to be a productive three days.  Yes, I’m behind.

And that’s where time comes into play.

How to catch-up.  And with that, how to spend the few hours in a day that I have to get caught-up.

Do I be creative?  That includes writing, drawing, etc.  The whole artistic work that keeps this well-oiled machine churning out material.

Or, do I work on pitching ideas, finding clients – marketing?

How about coming up with new solutions to my money issues I’m having this month?  Maybe invent a new platform for cartoons?

Or I could quite simply order a pizza and take time picking out toppings?  (Okay, not a great idea considering I’m on the mend – but a tasty option, indeed.)

It’s a struggle for me to figure out where to devote time.  Especially when I’m behind and not quite sure what parts of my work to neglect and what parts to nurture.  (Maybe this is why I don’t have children.)

I always have a constant battle of what is more important to do with my energy, hours and what is humanly possible without going insane.

Obviously, without the actual content (cartoons/illustrations), everything is meaningless.  So, I tend to always give that first priority.  But with that, the prerequisite is typically writing.

Writing can be scary.

If you write, you know that.

I spent over two hours today staring at a wall.  Not one idea came out of it.

Usually when that happens, a few days later, I’ll do the same thing and get a week’s worth of material.

But you see, there is two hours out of my day.  I could’ve been drawing, coloring, marketing, etc.  Was that two hours wasted?  No.  Trust me, it’s part of the process.

Now though, I must make-up those two hours since I’m behind already.

Maybe I could try to fish for new clients?  But, that takes awhile….

And cue the cold-sweat.  It’s not from my fever anymore, but the anxiety about what to do with myself.

Okay, I’m not going to go on-and-on, but you get the whole picture.

It’s can be tough to figure out.  And since I’m bad at math, the proper equation never usually comes to me.

You’re probably wondering to yourself, “Well, Nate, if you’re so far behind, what are you doing writing a blog post?”

Things like writing blog posts (which is totally different than writing a premise for cartoons staring at a blank wall) are important as well to clear my head.  It will help me figure out how to catch-up and what all I need to do.  So, this whole 45 minutes or however long it takes to write this is pretty helpful in the long-run.  I get to sit, relax and, when complete, let you – as the poor reader – soak it all in.  Some people take walks, others watch Super Soul Sunday on the ‘OWN‘ network and others read.  I write (badly, sometimes, at that).

Whether I got sick or not, I have this struggle of how to devote my time.  At one point (in fact, very recently) I had a schedule basically made out.  It was done by day, by hour and quite specific.  It works good until life happens.  Or you get a client that you need to spend gobs more energy or time on than first anticipated.  So, that schedule went into the trash.

The important thing is that it DOES all come together at some point in time.

I always feel behind.

There are sometimes brief glimpses in my imagination where I envision myself completely caught up with my duties as an artist and then…..then I wake up and realize it was just a devastating dream.  Probably from the NyQuil.

I could actually work 24/7 and still have more to do if this were possible.  I have books I want to complete, clients I want to pitch, ideas I want to write and a whole circus of thoughts in my tiny little head.

Also, I’m fully aware that life is short.  Time is limited.  Use it wisely.  Me?  I’m trying to fit it ALL in.  Unfortunately, I have probably over a century of things that I’m trying to accomplish.  With all this to, there is that personal time with family, friends and doing random things.  I do fit that in.

Again, though, it usually all works out in the end.  I guess I’m devoting my time right, right?

So, getting sick doesn’t stop me.  Now that I’m feeling better, stuff is getting done.  And (cough) as long as it doesn’t come back to haunt me, I should be okay.

As nasty as I got it and felt bad, thinking too hard about where to spend your hours can be just as sickening.

Trading in the flip-flops for shoes

31 May

It’s been decades since I’ve posted a blog, so sorry about that.  Or maybe it just seems like decades?  I dunno.  At any rate, my pathetic excuse – like every other blogger out there – is time.  It simply slipped away from me.  And since I don’t have guardrails up, time slipped right off into a big ditch.  Something like that….

Anyhow – I’ll get you all caught up.  But, let me start with this:  Yes, the rumors are true.

I have packed my bags, folded up my drawing table, put my cat in a carrier and we shuttled our way via the Mazda to relocate in stunning Dayton, Ohio.  I left downtown St. Petersburg – my home of over five years – in a bittersweet goodbye.  My poor wife will be in Florida for the next few months without me while I rock n’ roll at my drawing board up here and get us settled in with stuff.

First off, this has been planned for months.  Like, probably seven months or so.  Most everyone that we hang out with knew this was coming.  Many of you, however, did not.

So, Dayton, Ohio?  Why?  You’re crazy, Nate, for giving up such a beautiful home in sunny downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.  Crazy!

Oh, there’s a lot of reasons.  I won’t bore you with most of them.  Let me just start off by saying that I’m very familiar with Dayton.  Well – because, I lived here before!  That’s right – this isn’t new territory.  I lived in Dayton for four years prior to moving to Florida.  Heck, I even went to college at Wright State that’s located in this city.  So, when you add in familiarity, and the fact that a majority of family and friends are here, we (my wife and I) thought it was time to bid farewell to St. Petersburg.

As a cartoonist, I can work from anywhere and I’m excited about setting up shop here.  I’m a big fan of the art community that surrounds this area and there’s a lot of work beyond what I’m already doing that I can showcase here.  Plus, Dayton doesn’t get Snow Birds stalling-up traffic during the winter.  Here, there are snowstorms for that.

I’ve got a TON of cartooning projects in the works right now.  Some of them extremely exciting and I can’t wait to talk more about it when I know it’s happening.  A fitting area like Dayton will be beneficial for me in just finding the time now to see family and friends more regularly and any support that might be needed is more readily available.  It feels more like “home”.

I’m also anxious to get my name out there in the area as Dayton’s cartoonist.  Like, a title like that would work, right?  Or something.  So, first off – I need to try to get in the funny pages around here.  Not a simple task, but I’ll persist until they do.  Or they slap me with a restraining order.

And as for St. Pete, well……

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely love(d) St. Petersburg.  I’ve recently done several interviews where I’m raving about it.  I’ve gloated about it many times here on Nate’s Ramblings.  And I truly mean it.  It’s the best downtown I’ve ever experienced living in. (Downtown Dayton is no treat – and not great living.  But, I’m on the outskirts of downtown in a great area.)  And don’t be surprised if someday – if afforded -I’ll get best of both worlds with a getaway condo there or something.  At any rate, I know tons of people there now and will frequently be back.  And my cartoons continue to run in the newspaper while I’m gone, so I’m still there – just in comic form and in print.

And my friends and family in St. Petersburg, oh – you know I’ll miss you all.  Some truly good times that can’t be replaced.  But, I’ll be back for more soon.

I’m excited to be here now (Dayton) and I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about my career.  It’s a constant uphill battle in this industry, but what can I say?  I love it.  The headaches, frustrations and everything are all worth while.  I think…..

So, here I sit – in Dayton, Ohio.

Now that I’m getting more settled and getting things moving, I hope to post more updates.  In the meantime though, I’ll settle for this post.  And wow…I’m so out-of-the-loop with blogging I can’t even think of a clever ending to this blog (like I ever have one).  I guess I’ll leave with this:  more to come soon.

Please send donuts to me for a housewarming party – if we have one.