Tag Archives: ohio

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.

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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

Anyway…

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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).

Cool.

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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Greetings From FL

17 Jul

I’m still on my last hurrah of a vacation.  This blog post is currently being written in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Yes, the same city I used to live in several years ago.11540906_10203618625461153_7401881379477456746_n 10302646_10203618625781161_4529893989898022246_n

I’ve intended on writing much more about this vacation, but as vacations go – time slips by.  And I have been busy doing plenty of non-productive stuff like getting some sun, swimming around and drinking craft beer (which I’ll get into later).  Writing just wasn’t part of it all.

However, I find myself rained-in today and thought it might be a perfect time to fill you in on a few things.

Mostly, this vacation has been about seeing old friends and places.  We’re not really down here to explore too many new things.  That being said, we have seen some new things and also a nice mix of the old.

In my last post, we were in Georgia.  Basically, that state was just a pit stop for our trip down to Hollywood, Florida.  And it being a pit stop – we did grab some delicious peach cider.  I mean, you have to while there, right?

We’re driving, so a drive straight from Ohio to Hollywood would’ve been a bit much.  (Although, my longest trip without stopping was a dash from Florida to Kansas in 25 hours.)

We went way down to the southern part of eastern Florida to see a friend of ours.  We spent a couple of days there and then hopped on Interstate 75 through Alligator Alley out west to Sarasota.

While in Sarasota, we stayed with some friends who live there.

That city has lots of old memories.  I used to work in the now closed-up (they all are) Circuit City about a decade ago.  Yes, I sold televisions, radios and all kinds of gadgets to the locals.  The percentage of customers were great.  However, with Sarasota being a very rich area, there were the 1%’s that would come in with their noses up high and mention to me they could buy ANYTHING in the store.  Nice of them to mention that to me when I made about a dollar more than minimum wage.

Anyway, that was a fun day job I had for awhile.  The rest of the gang that worked there and myself mostly made fun of the snobby clientele.  It made our days of collecting pathetically poor paychecks somewhat worth it.

Beyond my day job experience there, I do enjoy that area for the beaches and entertainment.  Many days were spent soaking up sun and brushing off sand on Lido beach.FullSizeRender(72)  I made sure to return to some of my old haunts on this trip.

While in town, we took advantage of some resort areas and pools.  This one place had free water.  Talk about a perk!

After a few days in Sarasota, we headed up toward St. Petersburg – where I currently am.

On the way, we stopped by Bradenton so my wife and I could say “hello” to some old co-workers there.  Another day job I had awhile back was selling cars.  So, it was fun to swing by Cox Chevrolet and see who was all there.  Actually, quite a few people.  Good visit.  My wife worked there longer than me (yes, we both worked at the same place for a bit) so she knew the majority of folks still around.

After leaving Cox, we THEN headed to St. Petersburg.  (Lot’s of cities being mentioned here.  Confusing…I know.)

Here, we’re staying with some MORE friends.  Oh, and our daughter (who is due November 2nd) got her first souvenir

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It’s been a great stay (and it’s not over yet).  We’ve hit the beach (although it was rather rainy and windy when we went), ventured downtown where we used to live and have lounged around a lot.  Work?  Trying to keep it off my mind.  But, as you know, I’m constantly thinking of new things and actually have a few ideas that came of this vacation.FullSizeRender(73)

Another thing, as a cartoonist, I really appreciate the Tampa Bay area for their support with my cartoons.  My comics are STILL featured daily – in print – in local newspapers around here.  It’s nice to grab a paper and see my work.  And it keeps me connected in some little way.  It’s nice knowing that people heading to the beach, downtown or wherever can get a paper and read my feature.  In Dayton, I can’t get any of the local rags to print my work.  But here they do.  Nice.FullSizeRender(71)

Above:  If you’re ever around St. Pete, grab a TBT.  You can still see my daily ‘toons.

I’ve also taken advantage of the new local breweries in the area.  They weren’t here when I lived in Florida and now they’ve sprouted up EVERYWHERE.  Always fun to try local beer and the vibe of these places.  Each one is unique and different.  11760138_10203618630781286_2783697937170029199_n

And that’s been the extent of it so far!

We’re here until Sunday morning when we make the trek from here back up to the Buckeye state.

It’s been a nice getaway.  And probably our last one for awhile.  With a newborn on the way, work and the approaching winter (it will be here before you know it), this is it.

I’ll try to write more soon.  In the meantime, back to lounging….and maybe some more local craft beers.

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.