Kartoon Caricatures by Dian & Pete Wagner - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Specializing in Drawing Comic Cartoon Caricatures at EVENTS as Entertainment

Welcome to Pete Wagner's Blog. My Mantra:
"COMIC First, ART Second"


This blog is all about drawing performing caricaturing at events as an entertainer, and what it is like to be and work as a caricaturist, cartoonist and comic artist. I have drawn caricatures, cartoons and comics all my life, professionally for more than 45 years now, as a way of entertaining people, and as a way of using entertainment to inform, educate and persuade people, as well.

I have performed comedy on stage and worked as a caricature artist on TV as a featured regular on a morning news show in Minneapolis. I think of caricaturing as more closely related to COMEDY than to VISUAL ART. I think to be really good at it, a caricature artist has to draw in a way that is more like what a COMEDIAN does (except that for the caricature artist it is done mostly with a marker or stylus on paper or a digital drawing pad rather than into a microphone) than like what a VISUAL ARTIST or ILLUSTRATOR or PORTRAIT ARTIST does.

Caricature is basically a type of COMIC art. Comic as in “HA HA” funny comic. And COMIC FIRST, ART SECOND. The comedy is the main thing.

Portraiture, illustration and other forms of visual art are basically STRAIGHT art. Even when they are done with the intention of being humorous, the humor is secondary to the art.

I have done a lot of teaching and theorizing and philosophizing about these topics (I've gone so far as to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree and a PhD-abd) and have developed some rather carefully thought-out ideas and detailed opinions about how they work best for an audience and guests at events. For anyone who is interested in the subject, I hope this blog may provide some ideas and knowledge worth taking a look at.

"HOW DID YOU FIRST GET STARTED DRAWING CARICATURES" Part II


"HOW DID YOU FIRST GET STARTED DRAWING CARICATURES" Part II


When I graduated from high school and headed for college, I had no intention nor desire to attempt any kind of a "career" that was in any way, shape or form related to art or drawing. I started out with a major in psychology but quit that after I found out I would be required to kill rats as part of my studies. I was against killing animals. Had I stayed with psychology, I would most likely have ended up as a hypnotist and made about 1,000 times more money than I ever made as a cartoonist/caricaturist/comic artist/illustrator/publisher/comedian/author/etc.

I took no art courses in college, ever. I had taken just a couple of art classes in high school in my sophomore year and hated them. I thought art was supposed to be original and creative and disliked the way they directed everyone to basically follow a template. The worst thing was how humor was not just frowned upon but they graded way down for it. I remember an assignment to do a postage stamp design. I drew a gila monster with the text "Everything is Beautiful, In its own Way." It was a song that was currently near the top of the charts. The teacher, Mr. Gifford, ignored that it was well designed and drawn and gave me a "D" saying "Art isn't supposed to be funny."

My best friend from high school, Tom McCormack, was attending the same university (UW-Milwaukee) with me and we happened to be in a few of the same freshman classes together so we ended up seeing a lot of each other that first year. Early on, he suggested I do cartoons for the UWM Post student newspaper. I waved off the idea, saying, "Nah, there's no future in it. I'm not interested in that."

But he kept persisting. "You should do cartoons for the paper here like you did for the high school paper!" he insisted several times more. I finally thought, well, maybe, and decided to go ahead and try working up a couple. One was on farmers' use of DDT and the other was of the U.S. Congressman, Clement Zablocki, who represented the district Tom and I lived in.

I took them into the offices of the Post without any appointment, just dropped in and luckily the editors were all there. They seemed like hippies to me, all in their early to mid-20s, long hair, beards on the men, and Marie Rhodie, the editor in chief, reminded me of Janis Joplin. I was only 17 when I was a freshman--that entire year. So I was really just a kid. They crowded around me and were immediately going nuts over the cartoons, laughing and calling everyone in the offices over to look at them and acting very excited about them. Then John Houde uttered those famous words that resonate through my memory banks and which changed my life forever:

"CAN YOU DO THREE OF THESE A WEEK?! WE'LL PAY YOU!!!"

Those were the magic words. "You'll PAY me?" I thought. I had no idea I could get paid for this. The amount they offered was more than I was making working part time as a janitor cleaning office buildings in downtown Milwaukee four or five nights a week, working four hours a night. I agreed to give it a try.

At home at the kitchen table, I sat working on trying to come up with ideas for cartoons and sketching. My father came in from work and razzed, "Ha, ha. Peter thinks he's going to be a cartoonist now." He warned, "I dunno, Peter. I wouldn't quit that janitor job if I were you." He kept asking me when I was going to get a "real job" until April of 1975, so that was about two and a half years later, when TIME Magazine and the Washington Post reprinted one of my cartoons.

The UWM Post was fantastically supportive of my efforts. They genuinely appreciated my work, to the point that they frequently ran two or three of my cartoons in a single issue, so I was often doing five or six or seven a week instead of three. They used a number of them FULL PAGE on the front page, which was quite encouraging to say the least, and unexpected. One time I opened up the paper and they had used one of my cartoons double-truck across the entire middle two pages, making it into an enormous poster sized print.

Within a few months, I was syndicated to 300 papers and my cartoons were also being used by the student paper at Marquette University. I also tried my hand at a very weird, offbeat little comic strip called "Groontrock." There was an omlaut over the o's. I think it meant "green rock" in Swedish, which I was trying to learn from a little Swedish language book I had found. That went nowhere. Later I did do another strip called "The East Side Brain Trust." The Madison Daily Cardinal at the University of Wisconsin published it regularly and the editors really liked it there, but I didn't put that much effort into getting it into other papers and wasn't that excited about doing a strip. I liked concentrating all my attention onto doing the political cartoons only at that time.

East Side Brain Trust comic by Pete Wagner

By 1974, I wondered if I could find a college daily where I could try doing five cartoons a week for a single paper under a regular daily deadline. I looked at ones in Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota and ended up making a trip to Minneapolis to meet Bob Harmon, editor of the University of Minnesota Daily, in June 1974.

I gave him and Mark Fitzpatrick, the editorial page editor, a sales pitch saying they should create the position of editorial cartoonist, which they did not yet have at the time. Almost no college paper did. I believe the only two other aspiring young college cartoonists in the nation were Mike Keefe and Dan Lynch. The three of us were the first to seriously pursue a goal of editorial cartooning. There were 300 or more positions at daily newspapers throughout the US, but there was almost no turnover. You had to either wait for an old cartoonist to die or retire before a position opened up, and that did not even happen once every five years.

The Daily editors were excited about the idea and hired me on the spot. They had me begin sending cartoons in to them by mail for the summer editions, which were three per week. I moved to Minneapolis in August. From then until two years later were probably the two most exciting years of my life.




That first day I arrived in Minneapolis to meet with the editors at the Daily, I had saved up and bought a plane ticket rather than take the Greyhound Bus as I did after that first trip, and the airport limousine made a stop right in front of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspaper offices. I was carrying my big pack of loose cartoons (never heard of a "portfolio" yet, with my art-school-free background), and thought, "Gee, I think I'll stop in and see if I can meet their cartoonist." I didn't even know they had two or what their names were.

I went in, the guard directed me upstairs and I was welcomed by Scott Long, the Trib's cartoonist. He was a sweet, wonderful guy who was great to visit with and he immediately took me in to introduce me to Harold Chucker, the editorial page editor at the Minneapolis Star. Chucker began looking through my cartoons and I wasn't sure why he was doing it but he took every few cartoons and set them aside in a separate pile. After he had gone through all of them, he said, "I'll take all those!"

The last thing I expected was to have a major daily paper start running my cartoons when I was still in college just getting going, but here it happened. The Star ran my cartoons, usually three a week, and kept doing so while I was at the Daily. This is something I knew would never happen in my home town, Milwaukee, which was about twice the size of Minneapolis then and whose newspaper editors at the Milwaukee Journal were very stuck up about who they would consider hiring or running material from. At home, I was viewed as "just some kid" even though I was friends with Bill Sanders, the cartoonist at the Journal, and Tom Curtis, cartoonist for the Milwaukee Sentinel.

I was so totally focused on and engaged in my role as a cartoonist and it was such a great adventure to move away from home and strike out on my own in a totally new place, I was completely absorbed in the cartooning.

You have dreams where you find yourself forgetting to go to class and then wake up later and think, "That would never happen in real life, of course. It couldn't happen." But it happened to me all the time during those two years. I was so devoted to my cartooning, I would actually find myself at my drawing table in the Daily offices lost in work on my cartoon for the next day and suddenly look up and realize, "Oh my gosh! I was supposed to go to a class two hours ago!" It happened all the time.


I managed to squeak by in my first year completing a number of courses but ended up in my last quarters there signing up for only one or two one-credit courses, which was all that was needed to remain eligible to work at the Daily. I took karate and gymnastics in my last year.

What really made it fun doing cartooning at the Daily was all the controversies my cartoons generated. I was proud of the fact that I received more hate mail than all the rest of the staff combined. In the second year, I found it increasingly tense trying to work with one editor, who was always resentful of my easy success as a cartoonist. The morning I discovered my cartoon in TIME magazine on the way to the office, I tossed my copy onto the big round copy editing desk in the middle of the office and said to him, "Take a look at Page 63." (Or whatever page it was.)

Pete Wagner cartoon in TIME magazine, 1975

He opened it, thumbed through, found the page and his face turned beet red. Instead of congratulating me, he fumed and spat out the words, "F**K YOU." The editors at the Daily were altogether no fun at all. They were the opposite of the editors at the UWM Post, where I felt like we always had one anothers' backs.

The first big controversy over one of my cartoons in February of 1975 brought local TV news crews on campus to interview me, my editors and those who were on my case for doing a couple of cartoons they disliked. That spring, there were several more instances where my cartoons created a stir. I defended them with guerrilla theater tactics which people can read about in BUY THIS BOOK, my first book, published in 1980.

Buy This Book by Pete Wagner

On one visit back to Milwaukee, I stopped in at my high school alma mater to help out with the cross country team. It was a tradition for graduates who had been on the team to come back and help coach the current team. When I was walking through the school to get to the gym, who should I see but my old art teacher, Mr. Gifford. The anti-Good Humor man.

"Hey! Mr. Gifford! How are you doing."

(Sneery look on his face, as usual. No real reply.)

"You know what? I'm a cartoonist now! My cartoons are syndicated to 300 papers and have been published in TIME magazine and the Washington Post and I just won the Society of Professional Journalists national award as "best cartoonist. Isn't that funny? And you used to give me C's and D's in art class.

"You were always JUST a cartoonist," was Mr. Gifford's reply.





After two years at the Daily, I moved back to Milwaukee to finish up my Bachelor's degree at UWM. Again, I had no intention to resume cartooning, at least for awhile. I determined I would take a huge load of credits to get my degree over and done with in one year plus summer school. I took 21 credits a semester! Almost a double load. The editor of the Post, Bill Milkowski, a very amiable, laid back young man, happened to be in one of my classes. He approached me about coming back to do cartoons for the paper again.

"No, no," I told him. "I'm just trying to get done with my degree, I have no time at all." He informed me I could actually get credits for working at the Daily. So I went back and did a couple of cartoons a week and ended up also becoming the editorial page editor.

That spring, I got a call at the Post from HUSTLER magazine. It was Dwayne Tinsley, the cartoon editor. He told me Larry Flynt had seen a cartoon I had done attacking the judge who found Flynt guilty of "criminal" activities for publishing the magazine. It was captioned, "Patently Offensive" and showed a judge as a centerfold in a magazine and some reader looking disgusted and nearly barfing over it. Tinsley said Larry liked my cartoon and wanted to see more of my work.

Tinsley told me Flynt was planning to hire an editorial cartoonist and they were considering a number of candidates and would I send them a few of my cartoons. I did and they chose me out of something like 150 professional political cartoonists from around the country who applied. I had a regular spot with the title, "DRAWING FIRE BY PETE WAGNER" but I quit after only nine months because Flynt was going through his religious conversion stage but planning to keep the magazine explicitly a skin magazine and I didn't see myself wanting to try to fit into that whole strange scene.

Meanwhile, I was moving to Madison, Wisconsin on the advice of my new friend, Herb Block, the legendary political cartoonist for the Washington Post, whom I had reached out to by sending some of my work and asking if he had any suggestions for me regarding looking for a job at a big daily. He told me I should move to Madison, where there was a daily paper big enough that he thought it should have its own cartoonist on staff, but did not. He suggested I work on them to try to get in.

Well, the minute I arrived in Madison, the papers went on strike! So I just concentrated on HUSTLER and attended graduate school in Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison while I waited and hoped the strike would end so I could go in and try to schmooze the editors. Instead, the strike dragged on and on. In January, when I quit HUSTLER, my departure was covered by all the big news outlets including Newsweek, AP and UPI. The striking employees of the papers by this time were starting up a new strike paper to pressure the editors to settle.

Ron McCrea, the editor of the new paper, The Madison Press Connection, called me up and said, "We didn't know you were right here in Madison! Why don't you come to work for the Press Connection?!" This ended up being my dream job. I don't think I ever enjoyed serving as a staff editorial cartoonist more than when I was at the Press Connection. I was especially honored to be the only one they hired who had not been an employee at the papers they were striking.

Again I enjoyed a great deal of controversy for my cartoons. In fact, a number of subscribers cancelled in protest of several of them and I was fired after just the first week! But the staff got together and demanded that I be rehired. So I don't think I even missed a single day, I did five cartoons a week til late summer, when the paper was winding down and they installed a new editorial editor who had zero sense of humor nor appreciation for the value of cartoons to attract readers and interest in newspapers. I decided to quit and head back to Minneapolis.

There, I had quite a struggle for a couple of years, drawing cartoons for tiny neighborhood papers and political activist papers and newsletters. I began doing whatever kinds of illustration work I happened into. My main outlet was MPIRG Statewatch, which hired me for $50 a month to do a few cartoons and illustrations for each monthly issue. That was actually enough to pay all our utilities and buy considerable amounts of food back then, in 1978.




In 1979 after leaving TV Guide magazine, where I had been an editor for a few months, I wrote, produced and performed a one-man multimedia comedy show that attracted a packed house at Coffman Memorial Union at the U of M on my birthday in late January, and then two nights later a crowd of about 750 at the West Bank Auditorium there. It was centered around a slide show of the political cartoons I had done for the Daily from 1974-76 but also included a lot of storytelling and chalk talk. I had no idea whether anyone at all would even show up for it. I had been gone from Minneapolis for two years and doubted anyone would remember me. But my old housemate, Virgil, pushed me to do it. In fact it was he who urged me to move back to Minneapolis, insisting I hadn't been forgotten yet.

The other thing that made me think maybe I should move back was that when I was sitting in the living room of my parents' home when I went back to UWM in 1976-1977, one day he looked up and said to me, "I bet if you went back to Minneapolis now, nobody would even remember your name. I'll bet everybody there has completely forgotten about you by now."

"MM-hmm. I think you're probably right,"
I answered, eating my favorite snack at the time, cold vermicelli.

But a few weeks later I happened to take a trip up to Minneapolis and while I was walking across campus, two different students came up to me and asked, "Aren't you Pete Wagner, the cartoonist?!" They asked what I was doing now and seemed genuinely interested and said they hoped I was back to stay.

And just by chance, in the Letters section of the MN Daily, there was a letter to the editor from a student asking whatever happened to Pete Wagner and saying how the cartoonist who replaced me was "pretty Sad Sack." I couldn't make this stuff up. Between things like this and Virgil's support, and as the Press Connection unfortunately was waning, by August 1978 it felt right to move back and take the chance.

It took less than a year for me to decide I had made a big mistake. I took out my frustrations in the form of MINNE HA! HA! "The Twin Cities' Sorely Needed Humor Magazine." I drew and wrote what I thought was a scathing put-down of the uptight culture of the region which I entitled, "IT CAME FROM SCANDINAVIA." But everybody thought it was a laugh riot and the next thing I knew, I had a successful humor magazine on my hands.

We published six issues of Minne HA! HA! in 1981-82. "We" were the 1985 Brain Trust, a street theater gang I organized to do political guerrilla theater activism. We put out the magazine bimonthly as part of our whole project. We invited local cartoonists and artists to participate and reached a circulation of up to 40,000 for each issue. We had great support from the readers and the advertisers. That was an exciting time. The Brain Trust's escapades are covered in my second book, BUY THIS TOO (1987).



Caricature of Walter Mondale by Pete Wagner 1984
In 1982, City Pages, the alternative weekly newspaper of the Twin Cities, ran an ad saying they were looking for a cartoonist. The editors had courted me a little, invited me to lunch and we met and I did some freelance illustrations for them including a cover with Jerry Falwell as a piggy bank. After I submitted an application, they hired me on Friday the 13th, August 1982. I was their staff editorial cartoonist from then until late March of 1992. Most of my political cartoons had a strong caricature-focused basis, like the one above of Vice President Mondale as another Minnesota boy, rock star PRINCE. Fritz Mondale was having difficulties in his run for US President with warming up to the media, so I gave him a suggestion via this cartoon caricature.

THIS is where my PROFESSIONAL caricaturing "career" really began.

Before this, in the early 1970s, I had drawn caricatures all over the place for fun and to entertain people, but never for money. At least, not ever for money for MYSELF. I recall drawing a big group caricature of all the editors and other workers at the UWM Post in 1973 and how thrilled they all were with it. I didn't think it was that great, but looking back, I do think it must have been quite funny the way I drew back then. I wish I had a copy of that thing.

In 1978 through 1985 I volunteered to draw caricatures at charity events. It never occurred to me to try to make money off of this for myself. Partly because of my self-image as a political cartoonist, I thought of it as something that would be "beneath" me back then. I didn't yet see the "noble" aspect of entertaining people. I think what won me over was when small children loved having me draw them and seeing themselves as cartoon characters, and just had so much fun with whatever drawings I did for them.

When I was at the MN Daily in 1974, we offered my services as a speaker to talk to educational groups about cartooning. I had a blast making those appearances. At one point, a recreation center at a Minneapolis park invited me to come speak. I did a series of drawings on a big sketchpad, mostly of recent US presidents like Nixon, Ford, LBJ... As I finished each one I tore it off and dropped it onto the floor unceremoniously. I thought the drawings were terribly sloppy and quick and of course should be thrown away.

FREE PETE WAGNER poster - MN Daily

But then I thought, actually one or two of them were okay, so it occurred to me to offer: "If anyone would like one of these drawings, you can come on up and grab one." The kids stampeded up and almost knocked me over grabbing for the caricatures. They snapped up every last one, including all the ones I thought were so awful. That taught me a HUGE lesson: not to underestimate the value of a very quick, loosely sketched picture, that a lot of people might find it to be something they would enjoy having.

In 1981, a friend who played in the "Better Than Nothing Dirt Band" at the Little Wagon Bar and Grill in downtown Minneapolis, a real greasy spoon kind of dive at that time, asked me to draw caricatures for the Public Relations Society of America, which he was an officer of. They were having their national meeting in town and he thought it would make for great entertainment. He had seen me drawing them at the Little Wagon. He had me do a cartoon for the PRSA program and I agreed to the appearance to draw caricatures.

Unfortunately, I was such a non-materialistic kid, and so devoid of any business sense, I completely spaced out the event by the time it happened and, busy with my Brain Trust and Minne HA! HA!, I totally forgot about it and missed the gig. DUH. I basically forgot about it, so distracted by our magazine writing, designing, production, printing, distribution, ad sales, etc. etc. etc. etc.

But fate intervened... After taking my drawing pad and marker to probably 100 different parties just for fun and drawing friends and guests at these parties between 1978 and 1985, and even after coming up with the idea of offering FREE CARICATURE DRAWINGS to anyone who purchased my first book, BUY THIS BOOK, which I wrote in 1980 and hawked at bookstores like B. Dalton's Bookseller, I was STILL so dense and lacking any normal level of avarice, I completely failed to think of doing caricatures AS A BUSINESS.Pete Wagner caricature B Daltons 1980

Nobody else was doing it. I had no real reason to think anyone would pay for such a thing.

SO IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1984 that I REALLY got STARTED with doing caricaturing at events AS A BUSINESS. And it was STILL not really my idea.

It was Cecily Farnham, the accounts manager at City Pages, who started my "career" as a caricature artist offering to be hired by the hour to entertain folks with caricatures of themselves at parties and other events.

Cecily had seen me drawing caricatures at parties associated with City Pages. One day she asked me if I would come to a wedding shower for a friend of hers to draw caricatures there as entertainment. I said, "Sure. I'd be happy to!" She added, "I'll pay you." I replied, "Oh, no, you don't have to pay me." She said, "No, I think you should be paid for that."

I think I let her pay me about $25 and thought that was too much but she insisted. Being the bohemian I was, I had no car, so she gave me a ride home. On the way, she said, "That went GREAT! You ought to do this all the time, as a business, I mean." And she suggested I ask Tom Bartel, the publisher of the paper, for some ad space in the back of the paper on weeks when they needed filler. "Do you think he would?" I asked. I never would have thought of that. "I'm sure he'd be happy to," she added.

He was and I did, and from then on I was doing caricaturing at events several times per month in addition to my cartoonist job at City Pages. I was also a part-time editor at City Pages for over eight of the ten years I was there doing cartoons every week and caricatures about a dozen times per year.

City Pages started letting me do quite a bit of caricaturing in 1985 when Phil Davies, an Englishman, became editor. I had tried submitting a few drawings of movie stars in 1983 and 1984 and some were used with the film calendar. I think the first was one of Kevin Bacon from "Footloose." It was more an illustration than a caricature but from there on I kept working at trying to "crack the code" for what a caricature other than the kind that I had always done in political cartoons might look like.

There were very few role models to look to for ideas about how to even approach caricature. There were no books on the subject that had anything to do with an historical survey of different artists who had drawn caricatures that I could find. It never even dawned on me that anyone might have written anything like Lenn Redman's "How to Draw Caricatures," which came out right around that time.

All I could find at the library was a book of Hirschfeld caricatures. I went through and studied those, but was a bit baffled by what he was doing, for the most part. But I kept looking at them and asking myself what I would do that might be somehow my own counterpart to that kind of vision and drawing style.

Ralph Steadman caricatures

I was most influenced when I was first drawing caricatures and political cartoons for my high school paper by Bill Sanders, the staff editorial cartoonist for the Milwaukee Journal. And then I was influenced by some of the caricaturists and political cartoonists from British culture, like Ralph Steadman, Pat Oliphant and Ronald Searle. Jeff MacNelly also had an effect on my drawing style.

Jeff MacNelly cartoon

Ronald Searle caricatures

Later, at age 20, I found myself revisiting Dr. Seuss, who was totally forgotten and seemed doomed to disappear into the dustbin of history, but I remembered how much of an impact he had on me and when I went to look up some of his books, which were available NOT at all in any book shops but ONLY back deep in the stacks of the Education Library at the University of Minnesota, I was struck by what a profound influence he had had on my whole idea of drawing. I could easily see it in how I drew. I had no idea back then that he had ever been a political cartoonist, himself. I knew him ONLY as a children's book author. So that was uncanny later to discover his early political cartoons.

From all these main influences, my own style evolved. Davies and another City Pages editor, Mike Phillips, appreciated my caricatures and were enthusiastic about using them. I remember when Davies took over as editor in chief and we were all meeting a day or two later and he was outlining his plans. "Well, I'll tell you one thing, we aren't going to keep wasting Wagner like we've been doing." His British background, I think, moved him to place greater value on caricature than was happening in the USA, there was more of a tradition of it being utilized in print media in England and Ireland. And Mike Phillips, the art and entertainment editor, agreed, and began using my caricatures of major celebrities who were scheduled to appear in the Cities on the big double-page calendar section as illustrations. He said he thought the caricatures "classed up" the pages.

For the "Best Of" and "Worst Of" the Twin Cities issues, they assigned me to draw about thirty or forty caricatures of mostly local celebrities and news figures for each of those issues every year for a number of years. And they had me do a few covers, usually ones that called for a large caricature.Pete Wagner City Pages caricatures 1

When I did caricatures of or cartoons about Minnesota governor Rudy Perpich, he always called, without fail, to request the original drawings. I finally met him at an event the state hired me for to draw caricatures at and drew him in person. This time, instead of coveting the drawing, he autographed it and wrote the word "GREAT!" across the bottom and handed it back to me. I framed that and had it up for many years. Later he proclaimed a "PETE WAGNER DAY" in Minnesota in May 1990. City Pages predicted a Pete Wagner Postage Stamp down the road.Pete Wagner Day proclamation by Governor Perpich, 1990

I did one City Pages cover of Louie Anderson when his comedy career was beginning to take off, which was probably my favorite. I took a stab at using acrylic paints for it, but had zero direction from anyone who knew what they were doing with the medium, so it wasn't spectacular, but people including Louie liked it. He wrote to me later and said he had the cover up on his wall, framed, and loved seeing it every day.

From this point on, I was slowly shifting from political cartooning to caricaturing more and more. By 1990, I was swamped with caricaturing gigs at events and freelance jobs drawing caricatures for companies and individuals and organizations. Eleanor Mondale, Vice President Mondale's daughter, who was a reporter for WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul, did a story about me and focused on my moving into caricaturing as my main focus.

In 1992 I departed from City Pages and was a bit surprised that I was able to make a decent living just from caricaturing for a number of years. But as all good things must come to an end, so it was with having the entire caricature market all to myself for so many years, and mostly to myself through the '90s.

The population explosion of caricaturists and artists CALLING themselves caricaturists, though I saw them mostly as non-comic illustrators and portrait artists, was beginning to look more like an epidemic to me than a growth industry. I'll blog about that some time down the line.

Cheers,
WAG



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