Monday, February 16, 2015

Meeting Gigi Edgley

 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!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Meeting Caroll Spinney

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.




Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kenny Durkin on Tall Tale Radio

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: 




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Muppet Performer Series: Frank Oz.

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.


You can see where I'm going with this.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Muppet performer series: Caroll Spinney.

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.

Friday, January 09, 2015

We want MORE Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge!

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. The winner 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.
Please be sure to like the page at We Want More Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge, and give them your support. Thank you!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

WBSD radio interview

Author Tom Ryan and I were interviewed recently by WBSD Community Focus host Matt Nie about our book Peeve, My Parents' Pet. It's my first in what I hope is many more interviews to come.

Friday, November 21, 2014

AT-IG

Strange ideas fill my brain, and every once in a while I have to let them out. Here's the latest, the IRON GIANT riding an AT-AT while visiting Hoth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ChordBuddy Jr. Duck Commander edition NOW AVAILABLE!

A while back, I was contacted by Travis Perry, Shark Tank success story and musician/entrepreneur to do some Duck Commander artwork for his ChordBuddy Jr. guitar line.

 It's just been announced that the guitars are now available. Check out this video from Travis:


Here's a bonus video of Travis with Willie Robertson of Duck Commander playing the ChordBuddy:



 You can order yours ChordBuddy Jr. Duck Commander edition by following the link here:



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Peeve, my Parents' Pet is now available!

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."

You can purchase it here on Amazon.com:

Friday, October 03, 2014

Bridge to Healing


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


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kenosha Harbor Market September 27th. DON'T FORGET!

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!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

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!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Live caricature entertainment.

In addition to the studio illustration I do, I also draw carictures live at events like company parties, birthdays, picnics, Holiday parties, etc. I've been doing it since 1999 and I love it.

Here are a few recent examples of my live caricature work:

This fun young couple wanted to be drawn as zombies!

 A fun guy at a company event.


 This one was amazing. I drew every member of a 61-person family at their reunion on one sheet of paper. So much fun!


This was from a super-secret caricature "gig" at Catalano Square in Milwaukee today. I was hired to draw ONE picture, but a very special one. I was to set up in the park as if I was drawing caricatures for the public, and when this gentleman came by with his girlfriend, I would offer to draw them. Little did she know, he was using the caricature as a means to propose to her! She was surprised when I showed it to her. I've done these many times before when i drew caricatures at Disney World and they're always fun. Oh, and by the way, she said "yes".

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Caricature Commissions

As a freelance illustrator, I have a constantly changing and diverse workload. One day I'll be creating a logo, the next, designing a toy. One request I get a lot is for caricatures. Here are a few recent ones:
The illustration above is an example of a "traditional" caricature. I use ink and watercolor. This particular one is 20"X30".

These next ones are "digital" caricatures. I draw them in pen and ink, scan them, and color them digitally. Then the client gets the digital file to print however they want. 


 Sometimes I get requests for celebrities in the person's caricature. The one above wanted John Wayne, the one below wanted Tom Hanks.

 This one was done for a "Buddy Run" t-shirt, based on the Dr.Seuss book Oh the Places You'll Go.
 The one above is intended to be for a tattoo.


If you would like to commission me for a caricature, please contact me at kennydurkin@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards wrapup.

I'm still riding the wave that was the 2014 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards. The weekend was held May 23-25th in San Diego. I can't begin to tell you how amazing it was, but I'll try to do my best.
Caricature by NCS President Tom Richmond

After an early flight out of Milwaukee and a quick changeover in Phoenix, I arrived in San Diego at around 10 a.m. Friday the 23rd. After a short shuttle bus journey I arrived at the Omni Hotel. It's located next to Petco Park and is just a brief walk to the San Diego Convention Center. My room was up on the 7th floor. I was travelling sans wife and kids, so I had the whole place to myself. 
Here's the room.

I only slept on one bed the whole time and through force of habit, only on one fourth of that bed.

When I opened the shade to see the view, I saw a paratrooper entering Petco Park. Must've been game time!

Here are the seven dollar waters that were in the room. For seven bucks, they should render you invisible or give you the ability to fly (or at least have alcohol in them).

I went downstairs to the registration desk and got my name badge. These were to be worn at all times and came in real handy. At first, I was reluctant to add the "First Timer" flag to my badge, but I was glad that I did. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, they would cross the room to shake hands and introduce themselves if they found out you were a "newbie". I was blown away by the hospitality.

In addition to the badge, I also received my "goody bag", which was filled with books, pamphlets, art material samples and all kinds of giveaways and treasures.

After dumping everything off in my room, I ran back downstairs to meet up with some dear friends.
Yep, that's Keelan and Barbie Parham.

I worked for them drawing caricatures for Caricature Connection in Disneyworld for 13 years before moving back to Wisconsin. I love these two, and it was great to get caught up with them. They were always nearby, checking in on me throughout the weekend, making sure I was taken care of. Some things never change!

Then I caught a few seminars. The first was Eddie Pittman who does an online comic called "Red's Planet". 
Eddie was hysterical, and when he started talking about Star Wars and Indiana Jones, I knew we were cut from the same cloth.

Next seminar was Chris Houghton. Chris is the National Cartoonists Society 2009 Jay Kennedy Scholarship Award winner and between his comic book, illustration and animation work has accomplished more in the twenty-something years he's been alive than most cartoonists do in a career.

The last seminar I attended Friday was Greg Evans. Greg's comic strip is "Luann", and his seminar was peppered with anecdotes about failed concepts and screw-ups during the strip's 29 year (so far) run. I always like hearing stories like this. They reinforce that even highly successful artists are prone to setbacks and mistakes.

I had to go back to the room to change for the New Members Reception, a private event for newbies like me, and as I moseyed up to the bar on the Palm Terrace I was immediately greeted by seasoned members of the NCS who shook my hand and asked if there was anything I needed, or anyone I wanted to be introduced to. I was moved by the acceptance and generosity. The New Members Reception morphed into the Welcome Party, where the rest of the members joined us for dinner and cocktails.

I had been travelling all day and was overwhelmed and had a bit of sensory overload, so I skipped the late karaoke party, my head buzzing with excitement and inspiration.

The next morning I was first in line for the NCS Buffet Breakfast. I shyly sat alone at a table, but soon I was joined by my new friends Wayno and Kim, and we talked about art, freelancing, music and life. 
Wonderful people and I'm proud to call them my friends.

Next up was the business meeting, then lunch. I checked out Sanda Bell-Lundy's seminar and went back to the hotel room to rest up for the banquet.

I managed to get my tux on, with all my buttons intact and my bow tie straight and headed down to the awards banquet. 
   I was seated at what seemed to be the farthest table from the stage, but that meant I was also closest to the restrooms, a fact that I took full advantage of. 

The awards ceremony was a top-notch production, emceed by Emmy award-winning comedy writer and cartoonist of "The Doozies", Tom Gammill. It was funny, irreverent and highly entertaining.

One of the highlights of the Reubens for me, was meeting the winner of the A.C.E. award (Amateur Cartoonist Extraordinaire). The award is presented to a celebrity who wanted to be a cartoonist but ended up following a different career path and becoming famous for another reason. In the past, it's been given to such people as Carol Burnett, Jackie Gleason, Orson Bean, Ginger Rogers, Al Roker, Denis Leary and Morley Safer. It's not awarded often, so I was lucky to witness this year's recipient, Weird Al Yankovic.  Al was as wide-eyed and grateful to be there as everyone else and I've never met a famous person more patient and giving when it came to taking pics and signing autographs.
Me and my close, personal friend, Al.

That would have been enough for one evening. But then table-buddy Jack Pittman introduced me to one of my heroes, Sergio Aragones. I've always loved his "marginal drawings" in MAD magazine and I followed him over to the comics with Groo: The Wanderer. He's one of the world's fastest and funniest cartoonists.
Me and Sergio Aragones. I could have sat on his lap and listened to him tell stories for hours.  


A few more from the evening.
Me, Barbie and Keelan Parham. We clean up nice.



Keelan and I. 



At the after party. Me and one of my heroes, Stephen Silver.

I didn't sleep at all that night. I was so thrilled with spending a day with such remarkable people, and looking forward to what lied ahead.

Here's where I'm most proud of being a member of the National Cartoonists Society. On Sunday morning, a group of NCS members drew for Wounded Warriors at the Naval Medical Center. Then even more artists went to the USS Midway and drew for the public in two shifts.
 I was in the first shift, but was having so much fun that I stayed for the second shift as well.
For the first shift, I drew next to Kenosha's own John Hambrock and MAD legend, and reason I got into caricatures, Sam Viviano. 
This is me next to Sam.

I mostly drew caricatures. I would've been happy drawing anything though.


For the second shift, I sat next to Wayno. 
I was delighted when he gave me this caricature that he drew of Sergio from memory.

When the event wrapped up, we piled into our shuttle and went back to the hotel. We had a bit of time to refresh and then we went back to the USS Midway for a private event just for us on the deck.

What a wonderful opportunity. We had the place to ourselves!

Hanging out with my NCS "sponsors" Keelan and Steve. I couldn't have become a member of this remarkable organization without them.

It was the NCS's  last night together, and I went from being intimidated in the beginning to being inspired and accepted. We finished out the night with one final after party at the hotel and then it was off to the airport for most of us the next day.

What an amazing weekend. It truly changed my life. It was one of those magical moments in time where you know you are on the right track. I returned home refreshed, energized and ready to succeed and thrive as a cartoonist.  I have nothing but admiration and affection for the NCS, and I'm grateful for President Tom Richmond and the rest of the officers as well as the members and everyone involved with putting the whole thing together. You've made me a better artist, and a better person.

Next year the Reubens will be held in Washington D.C. I'm already planning my trip.