Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'll miss you Dad

It is with sadness that I mention that my Dad, Paul Hill passed away recently.

He had been ill, and I was fortunate to be able to visit him and spend a good amount of time with him over the past several months.

After the funeral in Illinois, and then arriving home, I'm finding myself thinking about him a great deal...so I thought I'd share a little about him.

He was a loving husband, father and grandfather -- as well as a friendly, personable, energetic and dynamic man. When he was in the same room with you, you knew it.

He was also one of those people who had the courage to say what he believed, even if it wasn't popular. When he told you something, you could be sure you were getting his feelings, without a filter.

He made keen observations that made you stop and think...or laugh out loud.

This lack of filtration extended to just about everything, including his feelings about politics, entertainment and food. If he really liked something or not, he made it clearly known.

Growing up, our family dinners usually consisted of cattle and livestock...we rarely had chicken or fish...and never had Mexican or Asian food, because it was clear that my Dad didn't like those things. My Mom, brother and I would only partake in those offensive items when he was out of town.

Speaking of food, I'll never forget a particular dinner we had while living in Wheaton Illinois. There was a new fast food restaurant on Roosevelt Road that Dad wanted us to try, and the restaurant was Arby's. (This was before Arby's became a huge chain and started serving the meat equivalent of plywood.)

They served real roast beef, and they had enormous whole roasts on display, which they would carve right in front of you.

Dad walked up to the counter as if he was in a trance...he leaned over to get close to that big block of beef, smiled and started sniffing the air like a dog.

We ordered, the roast beef arrived...he oohed, ahhhed and smiled through the sandwich...and licked his fingers. And then he went back up to the counter to inquire about a franchise for this hypnotic roast beef place.

In retrospect, he probably chose correctly in founding his industrial pump company a year or two later...but there was no halfway with him...if he liked something, he was passionate about it.

He was that way with boating, fishing, skiing, Cadillacs and other large General Motors sedans.

...and of course, my Mom.

He always told her how wonderful she is and how lucky he was to have her as his wife...right up through the last few weeks. I'm pretty sure she was only the person on earth who could tell him what to do.

My Dad had many gifts and one of them was his ability to communicate...and hence, to sell. He was the top salesman at Goulds pumps in New York, and later at Crane Deming in Ohio....and at a relatively young age, he was asked to teach other salesmen in Chicago. Later, when he had his own company and hired other salesmen -- the best he could find-- Dad still always sold the most pumps...even though he spent much less time doing it.

His skills applied to work as well as to life in general.

One example comes to mind: When I was very young, on certain mornings in the winter, my Dad would usher us into the car, and we would drive to far away icy cold, snowy places. He had us put on really uncomfortable, tightly fitting boots and then heavy skis. We'd stand in long lines shivering, waiting to be dragged by a rope to the top of a hill... All so that we could flail around at high speeds, trying to avoid falling on the icy slopes, until we got back down to the base.

My brother Dan and I absolutely hated this for years.

But Dad kept on with it.

Skiing was one of his great passions...(and that fact was important for all of us....as it was also how he met my Mom...at a small ski resort in upstate New York.)

After a few years, Dan and I fell in love with skiing too. And it became one the main reasons that I moved to Colorado.

Whether you call it salesmanship, or instincts...Dad often knew just what you wanted and needed...even if you didn't know it at the time.

My Dad was also an incredibly tenacious guy.

His perseverance was still evident over the past year or two...battling kidney failure, colon blockages, heart disease, diabetes, leukemia and overcooked hospital food.

The last couple of months became foggy for him, but he continued to try hard to recover and to communicate his feelings to us. He was positive and courageous throughout.

Watching him continually persevere in the face of challenges throughout the years -- with business, and in life itself  -- has been a great example.

As many of you can attest, losing one of the few people you have known since the moment you came into this world is hard.

But he is now in a place without pain, fog or confusion.

And they certainly have lots of real roast beef.

I love you, Dad.  I'll miss you.

Saturday, December 05, 2015


I've been too busy with clients and family trips to post much, but I thought this subject deserved mention. This is a terrific scholarship, named after a man who had a big effect on the work of many cartoonists.

Every year the National Cartoonists Society bestows the Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship to one talented college student pursuing a career in cartooning. This includes comic strips, political cartoons, comic books, animation, graphic novels, editorial illustration… any cartooning discipline.

The scholarship award is $5,000 and a free trip to the NCS Reuben Awards. Well, if you want to win the scholarship,you need to submit your work, and the deadline is December 15th!!! Gather up your best and send it in.

I had the pleasure of working with Jay Kennedy for three years. He offered me my first syndication contract, and after that, worked with me in developing two comic strips for King Features Syndicate.
I can say without a doubt that he helped to establish my career as a cartoonist, giving me training that was unavailable in any books or schools.

Sadly, Jay died while vacationing in Costa Rica. (A little-known fact is that he died a hero, diving into a riptide and successfully saving his fiance.)

The annual Jay Kennedy Scholarship, in memory of the late King Features editor, was funded by an initial $100,000 grant from the Hearst Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional generous donations from prominent cartoonists. Submissions are adjudicated by a panel of top cartoonists and an award is given to the best college cartoonist.

This memorial scholarship is the sort of thing that can launch a young cartoonist's career. If you think that might be you, enter now!

Copied below is the official press release, and a link to get the info on submitting.



Do you need $5000 for college? Are you a college student doing cartooning? Then you could apply for the Jay Kennedy Scholarship. But hurry the deadline is December 15, 2015. 

For more information, please go to http://cartoonistfoundation.reuben.org/jay-kennedy/

The annual Jay Kennedy Scholarship, in memory of the late King Features editor, was funded by an initial $100,000 grant from the Hearst Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional generous donations from Jerry Scott, Jim Borgman, Patrick McDonnell and many other prominent cartoonists.  A panel of top cartoonists adjudicates submissions and an award is given to the best college cartoonist. The recipient is feted at the annual NCS Reuben Awards Convention attended by many of the world’s leading cartoonists.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On the Digital Drawing Board: Recent publishing & advertising work

It has been a long stretch since the last post...my apologies. Work and life in general have been proceeding at a frenetic pace since after Labor Day.

Here's a brief sampling from recent projects on the drawing board:

A cartoon for Energi Insurance USA, for use in their advertising.


Monthly marketing cartoon for Connect360 in New York, NY


Book cover illustration for an upcoming book on the loan industry


An illustration for longtime client and author, Irl Davis. We have been completing one or two illustrations per month so far this year, to accompany a series of interview articles in his hometown Oregon newspaper...the illustrations will also be part of his new book.


One of many illustrations for a children's card game that teaches healthy habits


A cartoon to accompany a column by Jon Henschen, a consultant for financial advisors.


One of a series of advertising pieces created for a California based auto insurance company.
This the first draft of the first illustration & ad, (also the English version)

The approved color artwork, (and in this case, the Espanol version.)
(I was given the translated text...as I only speak English and the 'dead language', Latin.)


A commissioned Christmas card, created for a client in St. Paul MN.


The Fall rush continues, with some advertising cartoon and illustration projects, along with a handful of long-term projects, including a couple of sizable book illustration jobs.

If I don't post again soon, I'll wish you a Happy Autumn, Halloween, election day...and lastly, Go Cubs!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

On Digital Drawing Board: Recent work

Hope you had a terrific summer.  It was a fun and busy time here, with several trips to Chicago (for my Mom's birthday), Scottsdale, (business), the mountains (vacations/breaks).

Naturally, there were also lots of entertaining projects. (I thought I'd post just a handful of those, as I don't want to bore anyone.)


First, a personal commission for a family in Los Angeles who recently had a baby with a difficult delivery. Their obstetrician was evidently quite heroic in his efforts and successfully delivered the baby. They wanted something that could be framed and given to him as a thank you gift. 

I thought I'd share a little of my process here...

A B&W first draft with the doctor in a scene at the hospital. The client liked it 
very much, but I wanted to add a little humor to the scenario, so...

 I wrote this new dialogue: 

They loved the addition, so I added color, emailed the finished art for final approval...and then shipped the artwork. 

I understand the OB (below) was extremely happy and it is now on his office wall.


Another personal commission, this one for a client in New York who also wanted a framed cartoon to give to his brother for his birthday. (I don't know the significance of the Mexican gangster armadillos...I do know that the Porsche Boxster and Mercedes E350 are their cars. As a car nut and a casual fan of armadillos, it was a great deal of fun for me to draw.)

B&W drawing 

Color artwork 
(Click to enlarge)


One of several illustrations created for a soon-to-be published book:

Link: An Elegy For the Lost City


A couple of pieces for some ongoing book illustration projects:



Some marketing pieces for long-term clients: 

(CGNet, Menlo Park California)

(Connect360, New York, NY.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

More Iran Nuclear Deal cartoons

More cartoons covering the upcoming Iran Nuclear Deal vote in Congress...(created for a group of east coast newspapers.)

The House vote on the Nuclear Deal is coming up soon...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Iran Nuclear Deal cartoon

It was just revealed (Thursday), that the Iran Nuclear Deal allows Iran to use its own inspectors to verify that they are not building nuclear weapons.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Lions, tigers, pigs -- and Trumps!

I thought I'd step in for a moment, (taking a break from a busy summer of work and travel and a lack of blog posts), to comment on the first Presidential election debate last night, featuring candidates from the GOP.

In talking with a few friends and clients today, the reactions are mixed. Most who saw it thought it was a bit of a spectacle, yet most were surprised more by the hosts than by the candidates themselves.

A friend who is a writer and columnist weighed in, wondering if she had missed anything by listening to the debate rather than watching it on TV. I think the only thing that anyone might have missed in listening to it was the preening and attention to the camera given by the Fox hosts. In fact, I was disappointed in the way that Fox and their hosts approached this debate, particularly the first half.

Based upon the reaction from people in the media today, and the tone over the past few months, there is clearly a country-wide distrust of Washington insiders and the doublespeak that comes from career politicians from either party.

...Which I think explains the mysterious appeal of someone as bombastic as Donald Trump.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Recent work: Digital Drawing Board wrap-up

As usual, time seems to have zipped by...the Spring is now quickly evaporating, along with droplets from recent rainstorms. 

It has a been an exceedingly busy period with work, family and life. So, onward with some recent pieces from the drawing board:


First off is a cartoon for a cable industry article covering this week’s $55 billion takeover bid of Time Warner Cable Inc. by John Malone’s Charter Communications Inc.,  John Malone Time Warner takeover 

 It was a great deal of fun doing a toothy caricature of John Malone and his crooked smile, riding a missile ala "Dr. Strangelove".


Next up is a group of greeting cards created for a new card company based in Chicago, their specialty is golf and dog related greeting cards. I was hired to illustrate over 30 cards thus far, (as well as the logo.)

I really like the company and hope they succeed. If you know someone who plays golf, has a dog or has a dog that plays golf check it out. Their website with some initial offerings featured: looseimpediments.com


One of the more interesting books I have seen recently happens to be something that I was commissioned to illustrate. Rule #1: Crazy People Make you Crazy :The Survival Guide for Coping with Impossible People is a fascinating book by John Patterson, a computer industry executive and author in North Carolina.

The book is about coping with difficult people -- and we have all dealt with them...at work, in stores, and in some cases, in our own families.

Several months back John contacted me about creating a series of simple cartoons to illustrate key points in his book. He wanted a style reminiscent of James Thurber's work, (a noted writer and New Yorker cartoonist whose heyday was long ago...but I have always enjoyed his simple but expressive style.)

I had fun with it, and the illustrations accompany major themes throughout, at the start of each chapter.

This book focuses on the work environment...A follow-up edition will deal with people in personal relationships and families.

The book will be released in early June, and I just received an advance copy. --I'll be sitting down with it ASAP so that I can better deal with a couple of particular clients... (No names.)

A sample illustration:

See, it's a rather simple style that I might have been able to draw with my left foot while sipping Vermont-made tequila. Maybe I did. (Don't tell anyone.)


Speaking of books, I'm currently working on a business book -- this time for an author I have worked with previously, Irl "Mike" Davis. (His first book... amazon.com/Entrepreneur-Asia )

The new book is his biography and will be published toward the end of the year, but a few of the initial illustrations will be featured in a magazine interview with him in late June.

A recently completed sample, (showing the author during his time at Xerox Corp. with the 5:00 stampede to the exit) :


Next up is a project for a distillery in Vermont called Appalachian Gap. They are launching a new product, "Monarch" Agave maple tequila...and came to me for an comic book style origin story.
The new tequila debuted last month to rave reviews.

(I am hoping to try some soon.) 
(Maybe I already did, while drawing Thurberish cartoons with my foot.)


A presentation piece for author, healthcare expert and long-time client, Energi CEO Craig Lack.


I don't know if you're familiar with the term, "Augmented Reality", (content initially used in Google glasses), but it is a rapidly growing industry. The idea is that you can use G. glasses or smartphones and tablets to see hologram-like content in magazines as well as on television and the Internet.

  I have been working with a startup, Marc Communications on some cartoons for advertising and marketing....And they use 'AR technology' to work. 

Below is a simple scene intended to demonstrate the technology. It was created for Marc Communications' initial marketing efforts, including a caption contest: 

The first panel shows a man in his living room. After putting on Google glasses, (or using an app on your smartphone or tablet), the viewer sees the extra content appears in 3D. (The AR content is visible in the 2nd cartoon.) 

  I am discussing partnering with them to create educational AR content for businesses to help with seminars, classes and team building exercises.


Opportunities for several newspaper political cartoons arose this Spring, but I thought I'd share a few unpublished cartoons from an very unusual project: an effort to fight a large homeowner's association in southern California. (As you may be are aware, HOAs are becoming an increasing source of frustration for millions of people nationwide, with stories in the news regularly covering tales of abuse and exerting too much power.)

I was approached by a group of residents who live in an affluent community in Rancho Mirage, and they detailed a situation that seemed quite unfair, (like Great Britain in 1770) : Heavily increased HOA fees to cover the expenses of a championship golf club -- to which only a small % of homeowners belong. So, we unleashed some humor and caricatures...which apparently had a big effect, (Vigorous arguments broke out and lawsuits were threatened!)

Two samples:


The monthly advertising piece for Connect360 Multi Media in New York NY...


During the past year, I was commissioned to revamp the corporate mascot for Armour-Eckrich Meats... So, we "Sal the Salami. (Okay, he's not a so cool or as well known as the Oscar Mayer hot dog mobile.) The main use for Sal so far is in inspirational and safety posters for their employees in various meat processing plants.

We have done nearly a dozen so far, and here are some new ones:

Bear in mind that I did not write these. (I like butterflies and positive messages, but a sausage butterfly -- even if it using a quote from Ghandi, is not something I could have dreamed up)

A 23" X 36" safety poster for a meat weigh station. (Having never worked in a meat weigh station, I have no idea how accurate this drawing is.) The blue stuff is plastic wrap, BTW, not spoiled pork.

           Some photos of safety posters in the Armour-Eckrich Meats plant in St. Charles Illinois.


Lastly, one of several financial cartoons created for Axel Merk's column, (Axel is President of Merk Investments and a regular guest on CNBC's financial news show.)


The next month or so includes several interesting client projects, including illustrating a new book, some political stuff for a few newspapers and further posters for Armour Eckrich. I'm also starting work with new client, Aparium hotel group in Chicago. (They specialize in boutique hotels, such as the Elysian in Chicago, the Iron Horse in Milwaukee and the The Charmant hotel in La Crosse, Wisconsin.)

If you've made it this far without losing consciousness, you deserve an award.

I hope you enjoy your upcoming summer.