Monday, 1 December 2014

Making notes

Several months ago, I picked up Sunni Brown's book The Doodle Revolution. She encourages the melding of verbal and visual elements for personal note taking. I tried her approach (sort of) at a recent seminar and must say I found myself more engaged with the speaker (she was truly dynamic in her own right) and think I remembered more of the presentation because I let myself take notes in a way other than outline form.

Doodle Revolutionaries also are using some of Ms. Brown's techniques in meetings and presentations. The idea is that the person writing on a large poster or whiteboard uses simple "icons" and words so that ideas become both more clear and attached with emphasis and feeling.

I think I'd like to learn more about how the technique works. Maybe I could offer new found skill at meetings I participate in and also use it in my own personal notations.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Making Test Faces

One fine day at the craft store I decided to test some colored pens

The paper providers asked that we keep our scribbles to a minimum

Let's not get carried away

My work here is done

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Harvest Faces a special guest artist
Lest you think there is only one person in our household who's handy with the Sharpie, we offer this photo. My wife drew this delightful picture. Could it be that all my doodling is beginning to rub off? Maybe. My special guest artist is talented in many fields including weaving and spinning. She also has done a lot with card making and other paper crafts.

Mrs. Bartster celebrated a birthday yesterday and continues to find outlets for her considerable creativity and love for life. I'm one lucky blogger!

Monday, 24 November 2014

"I am unanimous in that"

Maybe you remember the 1970's era Brit-com, "Are You Being Served?" The matronly salesclerk, Mrs. Slocum,(whose beehive coiffure changed hue and color in nearly every scene) would often emphatically state, "And I am unanimous in that."

More recently, a witty colleague in reporting a meeting spoke of the tenor of the discussion as "nearly unanimous...wait, you can't do that." Of course I had to scrawl a bit of commentary...;

It appears we are half way unanimous here

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

After the month-long hiatus

Zoe and Greta---coupla years back
The last blog post was a month ago today. Interrupted internet service (nearly three weeks) and a "fried" hard drive were among the impediments to posting.

Last week our surviving doxie, Zoe joined Greta "at the Rainbow Bridge". We were sad to have to let go of our friend, yet we didn't want to prolong her suffering or pain. Zoe seemed spry for a sixteen year old dog, yet we saw signs of aging. In the last few weeks she seemed short of breath and it turns out she had a tumor growing near her heart and lungs.

Today's picture harks to days when both dogs were still playing fetch (or Zoe's variation, which more closely resembled keep away). At the time of this picture, the games were shorter than they were when these two were puppies, but they still loved to play!

As I begin to get back to blogging, I am thinking of some format changes. Preparing daily drawings (that can be posted) proves to be quite a task. Amazing that Gary Larson and Bill Watterson could churn our sheer genius every day for years! My sights are set at 'mildly amusing' once in a while....hmmmm a working title?

Monday, 15 September 2014

No way I'm tall enough to ride THAT emotional roller coaster!
I heard a teenager say these words recently and thought they were brilliant! She says she thinks she might have heard someone else say them. Seems like a very healthy viewpoint to set one's boundaries and keep clear of other people's drama.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Flag day

Marv's retired military
Someone once asked me if my cartoon ideas begin with the words and concept or with a visual. My experience has been a bit of each. This toon started with the little uniformed guy. I decided to draw him saluting...a flag. Then the idea to make the flag a golf flag just popped into my head. The bystanders were a late addition so there would be someone to supply the commentary. Presto.

Bonus points if you spot the "oops" (which when I saw it decided the error was quite funny).

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Throwback Thursday-1994

Christ the King Lutheran Church, Tigard, Oregon September 11, 1994
Twenty years ago, I, a newly married, recently graduated person was ordained into the Lutheran Church (ELCA). There, now you know something about my day job.
    Actually, I can't compartmentalize too much as my notes, phone message pads, and even sermon manuscripts are populated with all sorts of little cartoons. It's also true that there's quite a bit of fodder for drawing and commentary doing what I do.
   Oh the picture...I'm the tall guy in the back wearing the red poncho thingee (a chasuble, for you liturgical purists).

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

School's in

Welcome to the first day of school, kiddies
Maybe I didn't have the most positive of attitudes about school starting back in the day. Not being in school or having school age children, I harbor some schaudenfreude this time of year.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Leave it to mugsy

So I'm experimenting with putting little animals onto the handles of mugs. The idea is to get the figure to integrate with the handle, sort of. If nothing else, I get a big laugh out of making these, and perhaps that's worth something.

Thursday, 28 August 2014


Keepin' it classy, there bartster
Here is proof positive that middle age men revert to humor from the third grade.Some middle age men? OK one who keeps a blog of sketches and doodles. This toon goes back about six or seven years ago when I first started experimenting with ink washes. Now I notice some compositional choices that that would clarify the joke. Live and learn.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Friday, 22 August 2014

Whom can you trust?

"You've reached the Ringee Dingee Phone Company.
Our number is no longer in service."

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wedding Anniversary Wednesday

August 20, 1994
  Those kids look so young! I remember the morning of the wedding. Almost every morning, I'd go for a nice long walk. That morning, I remember walking and each step all but suffusing a deep sense of contentment and well being. It surprised me that I didn't feel nervous or anxious about the ceremony and the momentous nature of the wedding day.
   I'd be hard pressed to come up with another day that rivals this one as my "happiest day". I will say I'm quite happy with my bride's return from a road trip this week and that we'll get to be together on our wedding anniversary.
Love to our families and friends. We still think about how so many made our day (and the ones following) joyous and filled with possibility.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Thursday, 14 August 2014

TBT-Fret naught

It was the mid sixties and I had my first guitar
I think it's funny that I didn't use the fret board and simply strummed the strings. It's more likely I held the guitar and told stories than actually played. I've had guitars since and present have two (plus a ukulele and a nose flute). My style is more with finger picking, plucking, and thumping and not a lot of strumming. Truthfully, I never got the hang of maintaining a constant rhythm while strumming. Because of acute stage fright when playing, I limit my audiences...for a while opinion was divided; one dog would stay and listen and the other would leave the room.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Thick brow humor

Right, I'll get the thinning shears
So why is it that my beard is thin and wispy, yet  my eyebrows(not to mention--I just did-- cilliae from my nostrils and ears) produce tresses worthy of a shampoo commercial? And they say God lacks a sense of humor.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Dog Days

   My friend (a REAL-live very accomplished potter, drawer, gourmet and animal whisperer) Gary does fun sculptural animals on his pots. I have two mugs by Gary that have pups on the handle, one beagle and one doxie that me made special for me. Gallons of coffee, iced tea and water have gone into these, my favorite mugs. Check out his work at Gary's Third Pottery Blog.
Recently I thought I'd give the animals on the pottery a whirl too. It seemed like it would be fun to blend the animals into the mug handles and to peer over the rim. I'm now working on version 2.0---some things I'd do again, others I'd do differently.

What's in the mug?

Here's looking at you

The animals don't mind if you rest a thumb on them...
disregard the way too loopy handle.

Handy thumb rest.
So I haven't come up with a mug design I totally love yet. I do have ideas for more animal and people handles and for some drawing on the sides...There are lots of ways to make faces.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Back to the drawing pad

The astute and regular viewer will notice the sketch versions of some recent blog posts. Astute and regular as you are (sorry that might be a bit too personal) you'll notice some experimentation with style. I tend to go back to Robin Hall's work and style and try to riff on that. The simplicity appeals to me beyond its intrinsic quality  because I think when it's done well (an elusive goal for me) ideas sparkle with additional clarity and 'oomph'.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Wedding Whoops

Who warned you of the wrath to come...sorry-- wrong text.
I've had my share of oops moments over the last twenty five years (counting seminary and practicum experiences). Happily I have yet to have the particular moment our little nebbish in this toon is having.

Interestingly, there are people who believe that one can open sacred texts at random and derive immediate inspiration or guidance. Seems to me the least injurious result would be embarrassment. A professor we had liked to tell a story about a young person seeking guidance for his love life. His random turn to scripture took him to a passage, "you shall go out with joy". I wonder if Joy thought that serendipity was such a good thing.

The dark side to all of this is that plenty of times, we misinterpret, misappropriate, and otherwise distort sacred texts and lose sight of their basic trajectory. Uh post is morphing into a sermon....better hit the 'eject' button.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Throwback Thursday

Musician (l) Cartoonist (c) Real artist (r)
 Circa 1964?
Enjoying a summer splash. Summers in eastern Montana proved afternoons followed by evening thunderstorms, followed by humid "hard to sleep through" evenings. Having the pool was a nice respite. As I recall, the pool didn't last long because the liner tore under the weight of exuberant water games. Thankfully, a community pool with boardwalk, pier and diving board was a bicycle ride away once we got a little older.

Sunday, 27 July 2014


"I dunno--Doesn't that make us sound sort of, you know--NEEDY?"
Sometimes our congregations talk about wanting new members. Why? What do we have for them? All too often "it" surfaces---we need more bodies, more people to help fund the building's upkeep and the parson's salary. Hard to imagine people wanting to sign up if that's all we're about.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Who's new?

I like this little guy! The challenge is that as simple as the lines are, he's tough to capture in various angles and attitudes. Some toons will feature attempts (including tomorrow's). We'll see where this road leads--

Friday, 25 July 2014

Making Fish Faces on Friday

Circa summer 2014
This fish aren't designed to 'do' anything. I guess they could be made into something functional. For now I make them because they make me laugh.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Throwback Thursday

  I've always liked drawing large noses and attaching people to them. Really. Always. Drawings I did in preschool feature the prominent proboscis. Some things never change.

A short throwback....July 2013
The etymology of 'proboscis' is interesting by's root from a word meaning 'to feed' in a manner like butterflies and mosquitoes do through a tubular structure.

Friday, 18 July 2014


"This guy's 'caps lock' key is permanently stuck."
Before comment sections in news articles and before email tirades, who knew that using all caps meant one was yelling?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Proudly Presenting....

    I feel a bit how I imagine Stephan Pastis(Pearls Before Swine) felt when the legendary Bill Watterson did "guest appearances" in his comics.
    I'm not sure our guest cartoonist expected anybody to find his work. Here's the amazing part... he puts together a very witty and 'tight narrative' in three panels of clean lines and flowing action.  Does this cartoonist labor away cloistered in contemplative solitude, assiduously hunched over a drawing table? Not today!
   In between games, crafts, science demos, and a snack during our church's Vacation Bible School he produces this gem and then off to the next activity! I just happened to find the toon sitting on a table. I read it and thought it was brilliant. Later, I learned the identity of the artist and Kevin(and his mom) graciously consented to letting it appear in today's blog. I have to say it--the guy draws well and shows a keen sense humor and comic timing doesn't he? Considering this cartoonist has a couple of years before junior high school, I say he could have a long career ahead of him.

"My cue to shoe" by guest cartoonist Kevin

 Not incidentally, he has been co-starring in a series of skits all week in which he is a co-anchor of a news show. He delivers the lines with aplomb and his knack for
 improv. is impressive.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Wayback Wednesday: Zoe edition

Zoe has lived with us for sixteen years now. In people years she'd be 80 as of July 16.  She and Greta (two days older) had been constant companions until Greta's death in March of 2013. Zoe's slowing a bit, yet can be energetic and spry when treats or a little outdoor walk are in the offing. Having these two around has been a significant part of making a house a home.

Puppy Zoe striking her tough dog pose
Greta (left) and Zoe (right) having a puppy meal. Circa 1998

Inspired by Zoe's antics

Monday, 14 July 2014

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Making the weekend rounds

Maybe the weather will cooperate for a lap around the links (for those so inclined). For the rest of us maybe a nice stroll or bike ride is in order.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Is it crowded in here?

I get a kick out of drawing crowds (ala the Mad Magazine guy Sergio Aragones). It's fun to try to shape the people in relation to those adjacent to them. There's probably a metaphor in all of that about how we're all interconnected. I'll leave that  task of metaphorism to someone with more energy and time.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Throwback Thursday-Caption This!

What caption would YOU supply?
This toon goes  back three or four years when I was trying to get caption contests going. Didn't happen. So we'll simply regard this scrawl as 'retrospective'.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

'Splain, please

So how is it that you get "World Champions"
when teams from only one
country are competing?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Wise Counsel

Recently, I was visiting someone who is well into their ninth decade. Many this age speak their mind with little reticence. The person I was visiting wondered about news from her hometown and I'm not very familiar with the goings on there. My admission of ignorance elicited the counsel you see in today's toon.

"You need to get out more"

Friday, 4 July 2014

Forth Fourth...both work

. When I was a kid, our neighbor used to call Independence Day "firecracker day".  Whatever you call the day, greetings to our family and friends in the States. Hope you have a festive day!