A Major Career Change!
Every now and then, it happens. You reach a point in your career at which big decisions need to be made, a sort of crossroads, I guess you’d call it. This point came to me about two years ago. At the time, I was in my 13th year of my comic strip Tina’s Groove. I was working on other things as well: completing my co-authored book Quirky Quarks, drawing cartoons for my Wednesday slot of the single panel daily Six Chix, and also, I was writing some gag ideas for Hilary Price, for her comic Rhymes With Orange (while occasionally filling in for her as a Guest Cartoonist). It was around this time that Hilary approached me with an idea of her own.
That idea — a tiny pebble that took 24 months to develop into a boulder— changed my life. Basically, Hilary asked if I would join her in drawing and writing Rhymes With Orange. And I said yes.
So I’m excited to announce, beginning this week Rhymes With Orange embarks on a fresh new chapter.
What's changed? Well, except for the fact that Hilary and I have joined our creative forces, not much! If you’re familiar with the panel already, you’ll be happy to see that Rhymes With Orange continues to bring you the best and funniest cartoons that readers have come to expect over the years. If you’re not a regular reader, then I encourage you to start reading today, and every day. If you like my single panel stuff, then you’ll love Rhymes With Orange!
A note on the collaboration: You’ll notice that the collaborative cartoons are the dailies, and that Hilary alone remains the creator of the Sundays.
Personally, I am still pinching myself. I mean, I’m not sure if you know, but my very first passion for cartooning was for single panel gags. Even when I became syndicated with Tina’s Groove, I continued to work on single panel stuff on the side. I simply could not let it go. (Which is good because all that practice has really come to serve me now. As you know, you’ve got to exercise that gag-writing muscle!)
But what about Tina’s Groove?
Well, that was the big decision that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. You see, in order for me to take part in Rhymes With Orange — a comic that is, in my opinion, one of the top 5 best single panel dailies in syndication— and in order for me to work with Hilary Price, one of my all-time favourite cartoonists, then I could no longer continue to work on Tina’s Groove. The workload would be unmanageable, and I’d be left with no time to work on outside projects. (And no time to breathe, either. I don’t know how you 2-strip cartoonists do it!)
Choosing between Rhymes With Orange and Tina’s Groove was a difficult decision to make, but because of my inclination towards single panel work, I did not have to think long about it. This is not to say that Tina’s Groove was unenjoyable. Quite the opposite. Tina’s Groove was a gas to work on! I mean the way I feel about it, Tina was my baby— and there are few projects in your life that you can say that about. In fact, the one and only thing that could pry me away from Tina is a chance to do single panels full time, every single day of my life. You could say that Hilary’s offer was a kind of miracle. Like I mentioned, although I like many categories of cartooning, gag panel work has always been my preference. Friends have told me that it is my strength — a sort of “true calling.” I know that sounds a little flaky, but if there is such a thing as a “true calling,” then this is mine.
A big thanks to Hilary Price for making it happen.
In the days ahead, I will write more about the upcoming ending of Tina’s Groove. But I can say this right now: although I’ve had two years to get used to the idea of the strip’s retirement, I still have tender feelings for it. Like I said, Tina’s my baby. You never forget your babies.
I urge you to check out Rhymes With Orange today, and every day. Click HERE for the latest cartoon!
Also, Hilary and I have been interviewed by Michael Cavna at the Washington Post. You can read the article HERE.
Thanks for reading, and please share!