Category Archives: kids learn to draw

Captain Cartoon’s Latest Cartoon Billboard is Up as He Launches Online Drawing Lesson!

Port Saint Lucie Billboard

Right side of the mammoth cartoon billboard in Port Saint Lucie, Florida

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL — When Captain Cartoon draws a political cartoon, people usually notice — and his latest cartoon opinion is no exception! Measuring 37 feet by 10 feet, this full-color monstrosity can be seen in all its glory on US 1 in Port St. Lucie!

The political cartoon billboard ranks as the Captain’s biggest ever (size-wise) — and was drawn in support of the local police department in its ongoing layoffs dispute with the city council. It caricaturistically lampoons local pols over perceived city misspending, and comes on the heels of two other “major” political cartoons produced by the Captain as billboards, all targeting “spend-crazy” politicians in West Palm Beach and Alachua County, Florida.

All his billboard cartoons were produced in support of police unions. (Note: The Alachua County cartoon was drawn “billboard-ready,” and though it was circulated on a flyer, there’s no evidence any billboard version was ever created.)

No stranger to cartoon controversy, Captain Cartoon’s political sketches were first published in his 1969 high

First Political cartoon

One of the Captain's first political cartoons published in 1969. He was 16 years old when this sketch was penned with a felt-tip. Uncle Sam looks more pregnant than fat here.

school paper, and on December 25, 1969, they began appearing in his hometown weekly. The Captain’s oft-favored subject: the local police. This would earn him his first parking ticket in 1971.

In 1977, One of the cartoonist’s most infamous sketches “inadvertantly” targeted the local police department, showing officers “on an emergency run to a local donut shop.”  Originally produced as part of a comic strip series in 1976, the strip was re-published in the Captain’s local newspaper following his election win as a city alderman.

Unaware “that” particular comic strip was published that week, the Captain became aware in a hurry after TV, radio, newspapers — and cops — began calling him.

“Everyone thought I was picking on police as an extension of my school newspaper days,” the Captain said. “And while this was accidental, the overwhelming notoriety opened my eyes as to the power of the political cartoon. I could have been elected Mayor that week, it was so popular,” he added. “People still talk about that today.”

Donut Debacle Comic Strip

Comic strip from the series "Double Eagle & Co." published originally in the Freeport, Illinois Journal Standard in 1976.

The Captain eventually re-drew the strip and published it in Petersen Publishing’s famed CAR-toons Magazine 1n 1987.

Within months of the “Donut Debacle,” the Captain produced a series of cartoons targeting his city’s then-newly appointed police chief, whose financial and procedural dealings ran afoul of several city council members. After causing the local newspaper to do an “about face” from its initial support for the chief, these led to the appointment of a new chief nearly a year later. “Essentially, these cartoons ran the guy out of town,” he quips.

A second cartoon series was produced in defense of a police department’s removal of catalytic converters from police cruisers, an issue raised by the Federal EPA. In 1978 the Feds attempted to fine the city (Loves Park, Illinois) $18,800 for the alleged infraction, and the Captain was drafted by the Mayor to target the agency with a cartoon campaign by inverting the acronym EPA to “APE.” Copies of the cartoons were sent to U.S. Congressmen and Senators, and Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, citing that the government was being made to “look foolish,” finally prevailed upon the EPA to reduce the fine down to a paltry $1,200, (covering attorney’s fees.)

Cities very rarely — if ever — beat an EPA fine. This was a first.

Captain Cartoon would go on to produce “cartoon campaigns” for a variety of causes, culminating in two separate cartoon booklets, both of which generated headlines around the country in 1985 and 1986. One effort gained the endorsement of the then-Chairman of General Motors as well as the Governor of Illinois.

But this is 2010, the 21st Century. Are “cartoon campaigns” still viable in an era of digital media? “You betcha” says the Captain, “and this latest billboard cartoon proves it!”

“It’s an art unto itself,” he says, “one needs to know just how to do it. I’ve had forty years experience! Unfortunately, it’s an era of canned artwork and digital clip art. Access to newspapers, usually running syndicated national cartoonists, has been budgetarily sparse. BUT — the Internet provides a whole new opportunity for this kind of expression.”

In an effort to spark a renewed interest in the field of cartooning and cartoon promotion, the Captain has revamped his website’s “Fun Zone” as the Captain’s “Cartoon Chest,” featuring coloring pages, learn-to-draw lessons and his own intellectual property features, past, present and future.

He’s also ramped up his “history” page, and lists his major cartoon accomplishments on a political billboard cartoon promotion page.

“Part of teaching people how to draw lies in creating ‘purpose,’ ” the Captain says. “When people see what can be accomplished via cartoons and cartoon campaigns, they might jump into the fray. It’s never really enough just to learn ‘how,’ one needs to know ‘why.'”

“Had it not been for my school newspaper, I may never have chosen this field,” he says.”There’s much more to cartooning than comic books and national syndication. I’ll never win a Pulitzer, and you’ll probably never see my political cartoons in syndication (though he was syndicated three times with comic strips). “Localized political cartoons just don’t work that way.”

“Regardless, I’ve moved mountains with my work,” he asserts. “When a labor union nearly lynched me over a cartoon in 1980, that made it all worthwhile, because I knew I had made my point.”

Captain Cartoon is a caricature artist in South Florida. You can see his work here.


Kids Turn Tables on Caricature Artist — and Draw Him!

Caricature of Captain Cartoon

Captain Cartoon

Sea Captain lookalike Captain Cartoon is undoubtedly one of the most “caricatured” caricature artists in the country!

But it’s not other pros drawing him — it’s kids (and some older folks too!)

Girl drawing Captain Cartoon

Determined birthday girl draws a caricature of the Captain

“I seem to bring out the “artist” in people, says the South Florida caricaturist-cartoonist. “And any way you can stimulate a person’s artistic side, that’s always a good thing.”

One 8-year-old birthday girl asserted that she intended to draw Captain Cartoon, sat in his chair, and proceeded to whip out a 4-minute caricature! “Her lines were solid and clear”, says the Captain, who has since posted it on his website (and also, on this page.)

Girl's drawing of Captain Cartoon

Here's the Birthday Girl's artwork.

“She didn’t want to tackle the hat, but that’s OK. She has lots of talent,” he said.

Another 8-year-old girl penned the Captain at her mom’s 40th birthday party. “She was courageous,” he says. “She dared to draw my hat.”

“And she gave me lots of hair!”

But it’s not just kids. A woman celebrating her 50th birthday commandeered his paper and markers and drew a very colorful caricature of the astonished artist.

This past May a 40-something man recently sketched the Captain at a block/birthday party.  “It looked like something you’d see in the New Yorker, it was that good” said the Captain.

Doodle of Captain Cartoon

Man made this sketch of the Captain at a block party.

From time to time prominent South Florida watercolor artist Carol Ann Sherman (see photos here) stops by a local restaurant and sketches him. “Her work is beautiful.” he says. “And folks waiting for restaurant tables get a big kick out of it.”

“One I am very proud of is a thank you sketch several little girls drew at a birthday party, says the Cartoon Captain. “You know you did right by them when you get one of these.”

woman sketch of caricature artist

Woman sketched Captain Cartoon at her 50th birthday party

caricature of Captain Cartoon

Young girls teamed up on the "thank you" sketch

There are lots more kid-drawn sketches of Captain Cartoon on the Captain’s “Kids Fun Zone” section of his official site.

“Everyone at these parties loves to see the tables turned on me” the Captain says. “The way I see it, it’s all part of the show.”