My latest cartoon QSL commission is very Australian — and an homage to an Aussie cartoonist I’d never heard of before.
Bob, VK2ADF, recently retired as a military police officer wanted an “outback” theme “like the Ettamogah Pub.” Sounds fun, right? But being an American, I had absolutely no idea what the Ettamogah Pub was, so I had to look it up. That led me to Google, Wikipedia and ultimately to the work of the late Australian cartoonist Ken Maynard.
Maynard, I learned, was also an ex-cop — just like VK2ADF — who made his reputation drawing for The Australasian Post. Maynard’s style could best be described as a cross between Don Martin and Jack Davis; think Mad Magazine with an Aussie bent, and you’ll have the general idea.
The original Ettamogah Pub near Albury, New South Wales. Used under Wikipedia Creative Commons.
The nexus of Maynard’s cartoon universe was the Ettamogah Pub, apparently the place to be if you lived in the outback. Several real Ettamogah Pubs exist today in Australia, Maynard’s work was so popular.
The Maynard connection led to the QSL design: VK2ADF in a military-police car, accompanied by a dog (Maynard loved to draw dogs) with the pub on a hill in the background, repurposed as a shack. Aping Maynard’s style was a challenge but well worth the effort.
Bill, KL7TC, wanted a QSL that said something about Alaska, where he lives. Snow? Check. Mountains? Check. How about a club logo and an ARRL diamond? Easy peasy. And a husky with a headset? Why not?
The northern lights that appear were a little more challenging. Because it’s tough to illustrates with line art, I instead dropped in a free stock photo of the real thing. It works.
After a few tweaks — mainly toning down the typography from bright yellow to subtle blue — the QSL was good to go.
KL7TC’s QSL has one other unique feature: On the back of the card, instead of a dot indicating Fairbanks’ location on the map, I placed a heart, acknowledging the city’s slogan as “The Golden Heart of Alaska.”
Anyone who’s followed my work knows that I just love drawing cute animals. I also like putting headphones on them. (A friend once told me I don’t even need to sign my QSL art any more; if the drawing shows a cute animal wearing headphones, N2EST must have drawn it.)
Given all that, the request by Chuck, KK6DOA, that I draw his pets operating his shack was right up my alley. I resisted the urge to have the station go multi-op with everyone wearing cans; only Chuck’s German Shepherd, Maggie, gets headphones, in this case with a boom mic.
This was a fun one to draw. Want a QSL that shows your animals on the air? Drop me a line and we’ll design it together.
Ted, N7XTM, has two passions: his radios and his rottweilers. My job was to combine them into a single card.
For reference, Ted supplied me with pictures of his dogs and pointed me to his qrz.com page, where there was a photo of his Cushcraft R7000 ground-mounted vertical framed against a gorgeous Arizona sunset. I stitched the two together into a single cartoon. I hope it does the real thing justice.
Some QSLs just kind of draw themselves.
“A beagle calling CQ” is exactly what Tim, K9CQ, wanted when he commissioned me to illustrate his QSL card. “I though it would be kind of neat to have the K9-CQ reference,” he wrote. Tim says he’s owned several beagles over the years, so the choice of breed was easy. Drawing it was easy, too.
The challenge came unexpectedly when I tried to color the hand-drawn illustration and place it on a postcard-sized QSL: The sketchy background that worked nicely in black and white (see below) didn’t work quite as well with color. The other problem was that the illustration didn’t “balance” well in the allotted space, even with QTH info added in the lower right corner to weigh it in that direction. It leaned to the left.
My solution was to delete the background for the printed version, easy to do with Adobe Photoshop. That way, Tim still had an attractive piece of art to hang on the wall of his shack, yet the QSL stayed clean and simple. Sometimes, less is more.
Craig, K4WBF, likes to mix up his QSLs a little, changing them up periodically. He also loves his Italian greyhound Bella, who he says is his official DX spotter.
I wanted to do something different from earlier cards. A previous, excellent QSL by Jeff, K1NSS, showed Bella at the operating position, literally spotting DX like a running rabbit on the rig’s digital read-out. Funny stuff.
Me, I had a more direct connection with greyhounds: I used to keep them and even lure-course them. (That’s running a greyhound in a broken pattern, much the way a real rabbit would run, in an open field.) A sight hound running is truly a thing of beauty, so that’s what I wanted to illustrate on K4WBF’s QSL. That, and headphones on a greyhound, of course.
If you’re interested in having your own custom QSL, drop me a line at N2EST@hamtoons.net. If you’re interested in adopting a retired racing greyhound — the full-size version of Bella, an Italian greyhound — visit this website.
Tim, W3ATB, lives in beautiful New Hampshire and loves to operate outdoors, sometimes accompanied by his German Shepherd Lady. He wanted all those elements worked into his QSL card — along with New England’s colorful fall foliage (it’s his favorite season). Here’s the result. Tim liked it. So did I. I really enjoyed drawing this QSL; Tim was a pleasure to work with.
About that call sign: W3ATB is a vanity call that refers to his Ask the Builder website, devoted entirely to do-it-yourself home improvement and maintenance. If you like building things, using tools and saving money — and what ham doesn’t?— you’ll love this website. I highly recommend it.
My latest cartoon QSL commission was a lot of fun. Margie, KK4AGN, and her husband Gerhard, KF4GGK, travel the country and the hamfest circuit in a Winnebago — that is, when Margie’s not editing the club newsletter for the Anderson (S.C.) Radio Club. That’s why she wanted the Winnebago on her QSL — along with her dog Skipper. (We’re going to assume Gerhard is in the back, operating mobile.) This commission required drawing a specific vehicle in cartoon form, along with likenesses of both Margie and Skipper. I think Margie liked her caricature. If Skipper doesn’t like his caricature, he’s not saying.