Here’s another illustration that was commissioned but didn’t see print for one reason or another. It’s a shame, too — I put a lot of work into it and was looking forward to sharing it with the world. A detail of the illustration headlines the post; the full illustration is below.
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of drawing it was dropping in a couple of Easter eggs. One will be obvious to the Old Timers. The other one is in the upper right corner: I drew myself and my wife Gail, N2ART, in our little turquoise Honda Fit. In the back seat are our cats, Bones and Geordi. I resisted the urge to draw them wearing headphones.
This cartoon was designed to showcase different types of mobile operation. What’s your preferred mode of operation?
As a rule, I normally won’t create a QSL featuring a well-know copyrighted character — but there’s an exception to every rule.
Over the years I’ve drawn dozens of licensed characters, and I’ve found that most of their owners are protective, often litigious, over their property. Why court trouble by drawing one without their permission? I say as much on my website.
That’s why Gary, KC3PO, practically apologized to me when he wrote to request a custom QSL. “After reading your FAQ, I fear my dreams may be crushed,” he wrote.
What did he want on his QSL? Well, look at his call sign.
I deliberated over this one. I even asked professional colleagues for their take on it. Several suggested I draw a parody of Star Wars, something that called it to mind without actually duplicating it.
Problem was, Star Wars was tough to parody without coming so close to the source material that I may as well just draw it outright. I found it impossible to draw something that looks enough like C-3PO to be identifiable without actually being C-3PO.
But then I thought about what artists typically do at comics conventions: They draw favorite characters for fans. Representatives of the rights holders are usually in the same building, and they don’t care — as long as it’s for a fan. And who could be more of a Star Wars fan than somebody who manages to work “C3PO” into his call sign?
Once I relaxed about it, this one was fun. Gary likes to operate from parks, so he wanted C-3PO operating from a picnic table. I drew a few walkers in the distance. The font was obvious. And after tweaking the background colors into a warm-to-cool gradation, Gary was happy with the results. May the Force be with you, indeed.
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.
I’ve been licensed nearly 43 years but have a shameful confession to make: I’ve been stuck at General for about 42 of those years. The good news? A recent project finally inspired me to go all the way to Extra.
Last year I was commissioned to create new illustrations like this one for the latest Extra Class study guide by master instructor Gordon West, WB6NOA (along with my friend Eric Nichols, KL7AJ). Well, the new question pool just came out — and so did the book. And the book is so readable I now have no excuse not to upgrade. I plan to take the test before the year is up. All it took was this nudge.
For your own copy of the new study guide, you can order online at the W5YI website or by calling 800-669-9594. Or you can visit your favorite local ham-radio dealer where amateur-radio study guides are sold and pick up a copy.
This cartoon QSL was fun to draw. Pete, K0BAK, operates a lot from the road and wanted an all-purpose card usable for any activity from any QTH. Because it’s best to operate from as high as possible, I placed him and his Honda van on top of a plateau. Maybe the mountain goat on the other plateau knows how he got there.
Shawn, KG7PKA, is a new ham who says his primary station will be in the Jeep Rubicon he drives offroad, so he wanted the vehicle with a map of Washington behind it on his QSL. It was an easy card to compose and fun to draw. I used to spend hours as a kid drawing cars. Can you tell?
I drew this cartoon some years ago to advertise a phone-patch-related product marketed by j-Com. It sure brings back memories of the way hams used to connect with the phone system. Does anyone still use a phone patch or an auto patch? For that matter, does anyone still use a landline phone?
Nathan, N7NAN, wanted a QSL that showed both his sons and his longtime profession as a police officer, so I came up with the idea of making his call sign into a badge. Nathan is also big into emergency communications and is president of the National Tribal Amateur Radio Association.
When John, W7SAB, told me he wanted a picture of his 1929 Nash hot rod on his QSL, I knew immediately how I would play it: His QSL would be an homage to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, creator of Rat Fink and king of the hot-rod cartoonists.
Drawing this card presented three challenges: Getting John’s likeness right, getting John’s car right, and making it look as if Roth might have drawn it. I think I got close.
John’s reaction when he saw the finished product: “Awesome!!!” This one was a lot of fun to draw.
Raymond, KB8ILD, is a long-haul trucker who wanted his semi — not just any semi, but his semi — on his QSL card. Easy, right? Well, sort of. While there were plenty of reference images on the Internet to help me get the the general dimensions correct (and he did send me a picture of his truck), a rig like this doesn’t easily fit onto a postcard. To balance it out, I moved the call sign above the trailer rather than placing it on the trailer itself. I also hand-lettered the entire card, something I do from time to time. I worked for years hand-lettering comic books for Marvel, Dark Horse, First and other publishers, so I’ve had plenty of practice.