Exciting news! Father of the Brood, my semi-autobiographical online comic has been compiled in a new book, now available! Father of the Brood – The Brood Awakens is a collection of the first 130+ strips as they appeared online. This specially annotated edition, including the “story behind the story” features the cartoon for the first time in print.
I will be travelling to Portland, OR May 26th 2017 for the annual National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards Weekend.
In addition to the usual seminars and activities, we will also be drawing for patients at the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Cartooning for Kids Day on Friday, and many of us will be participating in a public signing event Sunday, May 28th at Hilton Portland Executive Atrium Ballroom from 1p.m.- 4p.m where I will be debuting my new book Father of the Brood: The Brood Awakens!
A few years ago, I started drawing cartoons that depicted my family. They were mostly for my wife and I, as a light-hearted therapeutic break from the stress and frustration we were feeling as parents of a baby. I shared them online and called them "Durkin's Droppings". I did about 40 of them, and they were received well. Then life got in the way. We moved, had another child, and the cartoons were put on hiatus. But I kept writing them in the hopes of bringing them back someday. I'm happy to say the cartoon has returned. It's been renamed "Father of the Brood" and I've redesigned the characters to something more appealing and I've been redrawing the first batch of cartoons to reflect the change and hopefully be more consistent looking from panel to panel. For those of you who have seen "Durkin's Droppings" I apologize. You will be seeing some cartoons you've seen before. But once I get caught up, it will be all new. I hope to post three a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I'll have them here and on the website fatherofthebrood.com. I'm still working on the site, there's a lot of bugs and issues, but I'll get it all sorted out. Be sure to go there, poke around, check out the blog and ask questions. I don't know where this journey is going to take me, but I appreciate you joining me on the ride!
Dave Goelz began his work for the Muppets in 1973 as a puppet builder, but over time, he began to puppeteer exclusively. Although he has operated a few minor characters on Sesame Street, he's primarily known for his work with the Muppets, performing such characters as Gonzo, Bunsen, Zoot, and Beauregard. He performs those characters to this day. He also took over the role of Waldorf after Jim Henson's death. Dave also performed Boober on Fraggle Rock and Figment in the "Journey to Imagination with Figment" attraction at EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World.
Today's Muppet/Sesame Street Performer: Kevin Clash
Kevin Clash was born in Turner's Station Maryland in 1960. He began his puppetry career in the early '80's on such non-Henson projects as Wake Up with the Captain and The Great Space Coaster. He officially began working on Sesame Street in 1984 performing Hoots the Owl and his breakout character, Elmo.
He became one of the main performers on The Jim Henson Hour, where his character Clifford emerged as a major cast member.
Kevin performed for the next two decades for both Sesame Street and with the Muppets, until he resigned in 2012.
The next Muppet/Sesame performer in my series is Richard Hunt.
Richard Hunt was born in 1951 and began working with Jim Henson in 1970. In 1972, he was hired full-time as Sesame Street, mostly performing background characters. Soon he began performing more high-profile characters like Don Music, Gladys the Cow and Forgetful Jones.
For the Muppets, he quickly moved to the forefront with characters like Scooter, Janice, Sweetums, Statler, and Beaker, and his beloved antics both on and off camera delighted his fellow performers.
Richard Hunt left us in 1992, but his characters live on in the capable hands of the current Muppet performers
From the "Never made it past the developmental phase" file, here are several illustrations used for a client who was pitching a trading card series centering around caricature depictions of NFL players. This is an example of the many projects that an illustrator can do work for that never make it off the ground. The client gave me the players and ideas and I was allowed to embellish on my own a bit. I figured with Troy Polamalu retiring, this would be a perfect time to share these.
This is Troy and his trademark hair...
...Adrian Peterson playing no matter how injured he gets...
One of my wonderful repeat clients is Rick Kiesling. Rick is an attorney out of Texas who makes cornhole boards on the side. I've provided him with graphics numerous times over the past few years. He asked me if I could do a special set for his daughter, who was getting married.
I did one of the bride and a separate one for the groom.
The next Muppet/Sesame Street performer is Martin P. Robinson.
Martin P. Robinson began working with The Jim Henson Company in 1980. Although he assisted on many Muppet performances, he's best known for his contribution to Sesame Street.
He's been performing the character of Snuffleupagus (the front half and voice, that is) and Telly Monster as well as other characters since he started at Sesame Street in 1981. He still plays a vital role in the cast to this day.
Today's Sesame Street/Muppet performer: Fran Brill.
Fran began working with Jim Henson in 1970. Although she did some puppetry for the Muppets, she's best known for her work on Sesame Street where she performed Prairie Dawn, Little Bird, Zoe and other characters.
She's also acted in numerous television shows and films. In 2014, she announced that she was retiring from Sesame Street.
Throwback Thursday: These are photos from a gig I did last December. It was for an office party. They had requested that I draw a few of the coordinators in advance to use for the invitations to the party. When I arrived at the event, they had also used the caricatures for the balloons and light-up souvenir cups!
The third in my Muppet/Sesame Street performers series is Jerry Nelson.
Jerry Nelson was born in 1934. He began working with Jim Henson in the mid-1960's and started on Sesame Street in 1970. There, he performed such characters as The Count, Herry Monster, Sherlock Hemlock, Mr. Snuffleupagus, The Amazing Mumford, and Grover's frequent foil, Mr. Johnson.
For the Muppets, his main characters were Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Robin, Uncle Deadly, Dr. Strangepork, Crazy Harry and many more.
In 2001, Jerry slowly handed his characters over to other performers, although he did occasionally provide voices for them until August 2012, when Jerry passed away.
I got to meet host of Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge and Farscape actress Gigi Edgley. She signed a bunch of my artwork and took tons of pics. What a sweet and generous soul. I'm sure our paths will cross again!
Recently, I had the good fortune to meet the legendary Caroll Spinney. We talked about Muppets, art and life. He was very generous with his time and even signed the caricature I did of him. He's a kind, and wonderful person and I'm fortunate to have met him.
I was a guest on the most recent episode of Tom Racine's Tall Tale Radio. On it, I talked with the panel of other dad cartoonists, which included Tom Racine, Lucas Turnbloom and Justin Thompson. about Muppets, television and being a dad. Takes an hour, but it's a good listen and I had tons of fun. Check it out:
Here he is, the second entry in my Muppet Performer series. This time it's Frank Oz.
Frank Oz began working with Jim Henson in 1963 when he was 19 years old. On Sesame Street, Frank performed such characters as Grover, Bert and Cookie Monster. Currently, his characters have been adopted by the next generation of performers, with Frank occasionally stepping in when his schedule permits. For the Muppets, Frank's main characters were Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Sam the Eagle. Frank began to distance himself from the Muppets in the mid-1990's to continue his directing career. His characters have been taken over by other performers since. Frank Oz is one of my heroes, not only for his contributions to Sesame Street and the Muppets, but for his other work as well. He's directed movies such as The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and What About Bob?. He's acted in one of my favorite movies The Blues Brothers, and he voiced and performed one of the most iconic characters of our time, the Jedi Master Yoda from Star Wars.
This is the beginning of a pet project of mine that has been on my artistic bucket list for as long as I can remember. I've always wanted to showcase the Sesame Street/Muppet performers by drawing a caricature of each of them with a few of the characters they are best known for. I'm going to focus first on the original performers, then move on to the current group. This is strictly a labor of love. I want to highlight these talented people who have inspired me so much over the years, and who sometimes don't get the credit and recognition they deserve. The first one is of 81 year old Caroll Spinney, who has been performing Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird on Sesame Street since the show debuted in 1969.
Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge was a remarkable show that ran for only one season last year on SyFy. It was a reality competition show, where the contestants created puppets and animatronics and were eliminated one by one every week.Thewinner received prize money and a contract to work with Jim Henson's Creature Shop for a combined total of $100,000.
The show was received well, and garnered a large amount of fans. But it was never renewed.
Recently, I came in contact with Russ Adams, one of the contestants from the show who runs the Facebook page We Want More Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge. I created this image to contribute to his campaign to bring the show back for a second season.
Peeve, my Parents' Pet is a new book, written by author Tom Ryan and illustrated by me, Kenny Durkin. The book, aimed at 3-6 year olds is among my latest jobs, and I'm quite proud of it. In the book,
"A young boy is determined to hunt down Peeve, the mysterious and mischievous pet his parents talk about so often. Although his parents' pet is apparently quite small, Peeve certainly causes a lot of trouble. Peeve leaves chocolate finger prints on the piano, toys all over the house, water on the bathroom floor, mud on the carpet, and crumbs on the couch. What kind of unusual pet is Peeve? And why do the boy's parents let such a wild pet live in their home? Both children and adults will relate to this humorous story, which will likely lead to a discussion about their own pet peeves."
Bridge to Healing is a wonderful organization that will be of great benefit to my youngest children, Jett and Oliver. They provide a Matching Gift Program, which matches up to $1,000 for donations made through Bridge to Healing. Your donation will go toward vital therapy and treatment for my sons, so they can grow and thrive. Learn more here
The Kenosha Festival of Cartooning begins today and runs through September 27th. I'll be attending every event possible, with the exception of a few hours on Saturday. From 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. I will have a booth at the Kenosha HarborMarket. I'll be drawing caricatures and selling some of my stuff. Come on out and bring your wallets!
This weekend is the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning. It runs from September 25th-27th. In addition to attending as many as the events and seminars as possible, I will also have a booth at the Kenosha Harbor Market on 2nd Ave. Spot #35 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. I'll be drawing live caricatures and will have my books available, as well as limited-edition stickers and prints of my artwork, original art and Zombie Garden Gnomes that I've designed. Come on out and spend lots and lots of money on my stuff!