Saturday, August 6, 2011


Alas, I was not voted 'Most Artistic' in the graduating class of Auburn High 1976, a mind-boggling three and a half decades ago. But because the kid who was (and probably still is) the most artistic was way too busy also being popular, playing hockey and dating girls, he ran out of time to do most of the artwork for the yearbook. At the eleventh hour, the yearbook committee did what only desperate yearbook committees could do: they asked me to do it. Deeply stung by their earlier slight, I lifted my chin, sneered down my nose and loudly declared: "Sure, I'd love to."
 I don't think I was given more than two evenings to do these. I was addicted to drawing with a rapidograph pen, which was messy and unpredictable, but I could get a line that looked like the underground comics I was inspired by at the time...
Six finished drawings would likely take me about twelve weeks to produce today. One of the problems with art is that the more you learn about it, the harder it gets, in a sense. When you are aware of what choices you have and what they can mean, just selecting a font can take forever. Luckily, given the deadline back then, I was far too stupid to know any better. Luckier still was the fact the committee would have practically printed them sight unseen they were so desperate. In other words, not a peep of editorial judgement was passed. I believe I have never experienced that divine condition ever again. Even when drawing for myself...
These were printed at more or less actual size. I recall doing them on lightweight bristol board, after roughing them out in non-photo blue pencil, a technical feat I had learned from reading countless "How to Cartoon" books. I traced the font from a Lettraset catalog and just inked it with the same pen head I did everything else with. I had a Staedler Mars rapidograph, which is rumbling around in a drawer here at home still.
It's kind of startling in retrospect that all of the figures here are male. So much for gender diversity I guess, though I don't remember anyone making a comment one way or another. One of the reasons it never entered my mind to draw any females is that I was pretty inept at it, though from the looks of some of my old sketchbooks, it wasn't for lack of trying... 

 In Auburn NY, High School football was the town's prevailing religion. I was famously poor in athletics and generally hated sports, but I have always had a special antipathy toward football, represented in the slam-dunking this quarterback (number "zero") is getting. ZING!!!

 ...and in case you were wondering: go ahead and laugh. Dig the HUGE glasses and the beyond hip POGO quote. No wonder I was available to do these! What does the "S" stand for you wonder? "Smoldering?" "Sassenheimer?" ..."Slouchy?" I'll never tell...

Monday, August 1, 2011


I've now been doing animation and music professionally for 30 years give or take. After graduating from the Guitar Inst. of Technology in the early eighties I played in a band called "Gallery" for a couple years. I knew it was time for a change when I found myself playing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" but thinking about how many words you could make using all the letters in the word "Gallery". I came up with Allergy. Regally and Largely.

Girl From Ipanema was a must learn tune back in the eighties for aspiring jazzers. If you don't like jazz this will sound like elevator music to you. If you do like jazz this will sound like... pleasant elevator music. Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another cartoon from 25 years ago.The first person I remember showing this cartoon to was Tom Wilson (Biff from the Back To The Future movies) 20 years later I stumbled across Tom's website and asked him if he remembered me. His response was, "Sure, what's eating Jenkins?"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let the kid go

25 years ago, before I'd ever worked in animation, I drew a bunch of single panel cartoons. I told some of them to Will and Carolyn, they convinced me to redraw them and do something with them. So for your entertainment, a cartoon that was 25 years in the making.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Driven to distraction

We had planned to do a series of cartoons in which the Blue Fairy explains to Pinocchio in order to become a real boy Pinocchio was going to have to get a real job. I thought people might get tired of hearing the same Pinocchio intro song every time, so I composed this song to play over the same visuals. Unfortunately, Dreamworks abandoned the project. The only one that got produced was Bride of Gingy, by Claire Morrissey. It ended up as part of a Shrek Halloween special.

banana song

I love writing songs about bananas, any fruit really. This ditty was composed for something called Dreamworks Sidekick Shorts. The idea was to make up little cartoons that could play on Iphones and ITouches to keep Dreamworks movies on the public's radar between movies. It was one of the most enjoyable times I've spent in the animation biz.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 Bad Chickens

This was the first book I thought I might go commercial on. Then I remembered my day job. Still, there was something about Madame Clopinette and her farm that speaks to me... in FRENCH!!! ( "a j'eon de suis, a t'ois de soire..." as Steve Martin used to say.)

3 Bad Chickens Eat Lunch

We actually had three chickens. And they actually looked in through the kitchen window every morning that I made my kids' lunches. One morning I narrated what I thought looked like what they were saying. And that was the inspiration for this book for my two sons, Zach and Avery.

Monday, July 11, 2011