My Motto: Think'em, Draw'em, & Send'em!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Good Grief!

Here is a toon I made with my son when we were working on RESET. I realize it prints small within the confinements of this blog, so if you click on this link, it will bring you to the Game Lemon web site where you can read it in a more viewable size. Feel free to browse the more than 130 RESET comic strips on the Game Lemon site.

This next one was published, in color, in one of last years Woman's World Halloween issues. They are a weekly publication and so have multiple issues around all the holidays.

Until next time, ...have a Spooky Toon Filled Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Here are a couple more Halloween cartoons for your viewing pleasure.
As you can see, they are Jack-O-Lantern themed.

Hope you get a chuckle.
See you soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shop Early!

As promised, here's another Halloween cartoon. This guy seems to have waited just a little bit to long before he went out to buy his Halloween pumpkin for carving. Probably thought he could get a really good deal if he waited until the last minute. His girl does "not" look happy with this. Lesson to be learned? Shop early! Don't let this happen to you!

Stay TOONED for more Halloween toons.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Halloween Cartoon

As we get closer to October 31st, I though it would be most appropriate to have some Halloween cartoons. Here is the first. This cartoon was published in Woman's World last year. I actually had three toons picked up by Woman's World that year with a Halloween theme. It was a good month for me. Can't say I was as lucky this year. But, there's always next year.
As always, the folks at WW do a very nice job in coloring the cartoons. You might have even noticed, if you happen to regularly browse the cartoons in Woman's World, that all the toons on the same page, most always, have the same color theme. Makes the page very pleasing to the eye.
As for more of my Halloween cartoons, I hope to put up a few more as the month goes by.
Well, until next time...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Gag Cartoon; From Start to Finish

I thought you might enjoy seeing the steps I use to take a funny thought and bring it completely around 360 degrees to a completed gag cartoon ready for sale. From the design and pencil sketch to the inked and computerized completion. And so, without delay, here they are:

First I have to come up with a funny idea. In most cases, that's the hardest part. Once I have the (funny) idea, I work on how the gag line should read. I toss around in my mind various ways the line could read and decide on the one that seems to work best. Although, many times that still ends up changing by the time the cartoon is finished. Then I begin the sketching of the gag.

When I have completed the sketch to my liking, I bring it over to my light board to trace it in ink. I don't have a standard store bought light board. I built my light board myself with instructions from a very old "how to" book called "Animation by Preston Blair". I have seen newer versions of this book still floating around in print. Mr. Blair animated in a number of Disney movies such as Pinocchio, Bambi and Fantasia as well as the MGM cartoon "Red Hot Riding Hood". (Sorry, not to get side tracked.) I then tape the pencil drawing to the light board and place a clean sheet of 24lb., 96 brightness paper over the sketch and tape that in place too.

I do most of my inking with either a Micron Pigma pen or a Staedtler pigment liner of various sizes ranging from 0.3 to 0.7. In the past I had done the majority of my cartoons with a 0.5 tip, however, lately I have started working more with a 0.7 tip. It seems to give a better line after being shrunk down for print as with all magazines . The odd looking glove you see me wearing is to allow my hand to slide on the paper and glass without sticking to them.

Once I have finished inking the cartoon I then scan it in to my computer. I use a basic Visioneer OneTouch 7100 USB scanner. It was extremely cheap but does a really nice job. I scan my inked cartoons in at a resolution of 600 dpi and they are saved as bit maps.

Once scanned in, I open the cartoon with Photo Shop 7. ( I know that's an old version of Photo Shop, but for my use, I really don't need anything more sophisticated.) I then change it to grey scale and adjust the threshold to about 128. This changes the lines to a nice solid black. I then use the Unsharpen Mask function (twice) to smooth out some of the jitter in my lines.

Then I simply work on it a bit and clean up any lines I feel could be better. I use a drawing tablet monitor called a VisBoard. It is similar to a Wacom Cintique monitor but without all the bells and whistles that the Cintique has. However, it was about one fifth the cost of a Cintique. It does a pretty good job for the price.
As you can see I blow it up very large so I can see and correct all the imperfections before you can see them in the final cartoon. This usually consists of erasing some small mistakes and\or adding some extensions to a few of the lines. I may fill in some area that I want solid black like the inside of an open mouth or the shoes on the lady here. Actually, while doing this I forgot to fill those areas in with black and had to do them with one of my pens later. However, I really don't do to much here. Once the picture is as I like, I then add the text by using a layer of text. My final step is to save it as a JPG.
I then print out a couple of copies in preparation of mailing one off to a prospective editor\publisher for their review.
And, there you have it! A gag cartoon from start to finish!
I hope you enjoyed my little walk though.
Until next time!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Couple of Sick Cartoons!

As Fall rolls around, so does Flu season. Last year at this time the medical and news media industries were spreading the word that the swine flu could be a pandemic problem. There was a panic as to who could and who could not get swine flu shots first. Not to mention the fact that there were no flu shots available when there should have been. Many folks were frightened to death that if they did not get the H1N1 (swine) flu shot first, or at the very least soon, they would perish from the pandemic flu. That is where this cartoon idea came from. However, as it turned out, it wasn't as bad as they all predicted. Unfortunately, some people did loose their lives from this serious flu and that definitely effected all of us, not to mention their family and friends. We are all saddened by this fact. So, the cartoons above and below are to not make light of the seriousness of the flu, but are simply to add a little humor to the every day stress of these situations.

This one is obviously based on the constant advisement by the medical industry to use some form of alcohol based "sani-hands" to fight off germs. This mother seems to have solved the problem for her child.
Let's hope that this coming flu season does not bring the possibility of another pandemic as with last year and that we get through it with little, or better yet, no loss of life.
Until next time, continually wash your hands with "sani-hands. And, when you're done, do it again!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fall Is In The Air Cartoon!

With September now here, it is essentially Fall. And so, with fall in the air, that always brings to mind camping and campfires. Not that I'm big into camping, but I have done my share. This cartoon is one I especially like. I can just picture a group of kids gathered around a campfire and out comes the story-teller. They're expecting some scary and spooky stories but the next thing you know the story-teller starts his\her mime routine. I can see their faces. Their mouths drop, their eyes widen, and a feeling of bewilderment fills their souls. I did a take off of this with kindergarten students sitting in a circle at story-time and out comes their teacher in her mime clothing. I'm not sure which one one I like the best. Although, if I had to choose, I'd go with the camping toon over the kindergarten toon.
On a different subject; if you haven't yet taken the time to click on over to ,you should. Roy Delgado and Peter Plum have been hard at work with their joint venture of the comics Plum Loco and Buljert. They have sent off the Plum Loco comics to the different syndicates in hope of becoming, well..., syndicated and have been getting back responses. Check it out to see how their doing. Also, they are in the process of creating a substantial number of Buljert comics in preparation of sending to the syndicates. Take a look them, fresh off the presses. I think you'll like them.
So, until next time, if there's something you've always wanted to do, but didn't think you could, get to it! You can't accomplish what you want, if you don't first attempt it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

New "NEW" Logo

At the top of the blog you can now see my new "NEW" logo. Based on some friendly advise from long time cartoonist and owner of a sign company, Roy Delgado, I took the word "cartoons" off the top of the logo and added back the "star" I had on my original logo. He thought that repeating "toons" as in ZELLTOONS and cartoons, didn't work as well as it could. I agreed with him and thus the change was made.
Hope you like it.
Until next time!

Back In Business Cartoon

I know it's been a few days since my last post, however I have a good excuse. I took a few days to "get away". You may be able to tell by the cartoon below where I was for those few days. Take a look and see if you can figure it out.
This cartoon was from the web comic my older son (Mike) and I did for 2 1/2 years. It's name was\is RESET and you can still read them all on line at . This was a weekly comic about roommates and video games. My son did the writing and I did the illustrations. It was a weekly comic which both my son and I really enjoyed working on as well as working together. However, after 2 1/2 years and not having a really strong following, we decided to bring it to and end. Actually, it ends rather abruptly right at the beginning of a new storyline. We both felt it was time though. Well, if you have a moment, take a look at it and let me know what you think. One thing that has always bothered me about this comic illustration was that I had the train speeding down the track but the smoke stack of the train gives the appearance of the train standing still. I was thinking about correcting it for this post, but chose to let you see it as it was originally uploaded.

Good to be back in business.

Stay "tooned" for a new NEW logo thanks to some much appreciated input from my good friend and mentor Roy Delgado. In fact you can see his comment and my reply on the posting from August 17th introducing my new logo.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wet-Day Cartoon

We've been having so much rain the last couple of days that I thought I would upload a "weather" appropriate cartoon. I think this guy has the right idea. As Eric Idle from Monty Python would say, "Always look on the bright side of life, ta-toot, ta-toot, ta-toot, ta-toot!" (envision little musical notes floating up and around the text.) And, with days like these The Three Stooges wouldn't have been able to say:

Moe: "Excuse me partner, is that the sun up there?"
Curly: "I don't know, I'm a stranger in town."

I think we can all learn something from this little guy, "always keep a good positive atti-toon"!

Until next time. Stay dry!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Cartoon of the Week!

During the summer my son likes to wear Hawaiian Shirts. His place of employment has what you would call a "casual dress" Friday, so he started wearing his various Hawaiian shirts each Friday. As time went on a number of his co-workers picked up on the trend and they too began wearing Hawaiian shirts on Fridays. Well, not everyone joined in though and that is when I came up with the above cartoon idea. I actually made him a t-shirt with this very cartoon on it which he wears proudly.

I hope you get a little kick out of it. And, don't forget to wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt this Friday. What, you don't have a Hawaiian shirt?! Well, get to it. You have plenty of time to get one before this Friday rolls around.

Until next time! Aloha!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Logo Design

I just replaced my old logo (see below) with the "NEW" logo above. I've always wanted to use "ZELLTOONS" as part of my logo and finally decided to do it today. I think the word "ZELLTOONS" just flows really nice and has that "cartoony" ring to it. So I played around with a number of different designs and with the help of my wife and younger son decided on this one. I had wanted to keep the star in it (see the old design below), but it just didn't look right no matter where I placed it. Both my wife and son thought it looked better without it. So now it is ZELLTOONS Cartoons by Gary Zeller.

I hope you like it. If you feel compelled to tell me whether you like the new logo or not, please be my guest. Who knows, you may yet see the star return.

You'll probably notice that I changed the entire look of my blog too. It may change again and again over the next few days. I didn't like the plain blue background and so I am going to look at different styles and looks until I find what I like best. Hopefully I will find one I do like.

Stay "tooned"!

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Try, Try Again!

A while ago I created the above gag. It never sold. It "almost" sold to an environmental magazine, but at the time they had an overstock of cartoons and decided they would have to pass on it. None of the other publications I submitted it to seemed interested.

Well, I thought it was a pretty good gag (as most cartoonists think about all our gags). So, I decided I would rework the drawing, but keep the original gag line. I then marketed it to an entirely different group of publications. And, what do you know, this time it was picked up by the SUN. Here it is below. The SUN did change the gag line a bit on me, as you can see they took out the word 'nuclear". And, they also changed my name a bit, as you "can't" see, by cropping it out entirely!

The moral of the story. If you think you have a good gag, (as most cartoonists think about all our gags) don't give up on it!

Until next time.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy 50th Rich!!!

We just celebrated my Brother-In-Law, Rich's 50th birthday today. What a milestone! That's half a century old! So, I wanted to do something special for him that I thought he would get a kick out of so I tried thinking, "now what does he really like to do". Well, then it dawned on me. "Texas Hold'em"! He thoroughly enjoys playing Texas Hold'em Poker. He goes to many of the local tournaments in his area throughout the year and really gets into it. So with that in mind, I began thinking of different types of play on words involving Texas Hold'em and I finally came up with "Texans Hold'im". All I could picture was a room full of cowboys grabbing all the incoming unsuspecting entries and holding them in headlocks while other cowpokes took turns paddling their rear ends. Weird? Yeah, maybe, but I couldn't stop laughing to myself while I was picturing it in my mind. Thus, the finished product is what you see now. It isn't exactly how I pictured it, but I wouldn't be able to fit all the extras and it would have taken more time to complete than I had available. (I had to put the second coat of paint on the kitchen this morning before we could go to the party.) I'm not extremely fast when it comes to my cartoons.

It was penciled in around 20 minutes during part of my lunch hour this past Friday. Then early this morning, I got up and (after working on some bills and household accounting items) I inked it on my light board. It had to be ready by late this afternoon (and I still had plenty of painting ahead of me) as his surprise party was a dinner party, so I had to work fast. I used for the first time a set of Staedtler pigment liners ranging from 0.1 up to 0.7. I mostly worked with the 0.5 & 0.7 but I did use the 0.3 for some small detail lines. I then scanned in the inked product and brought it into my Photo Shop program to touch up the inking. I have a VisBoard Tablet Monitor. Not nearly as sweet as a Cintiq Wacom tablet monitors, (none of the bells and whistles) but only a 5th of the cost. It's so much easier than using the mouse. Also, I draw left handed, but I use the mouse with my right hand. So, drawing gets extremely difficult when trying to use the mouse. This monitor works great for me. Some things I use with the pressure-pen in my left hand and others I use the mouse in my right hand. I then added the color and the various text. In most of the web comics I had done for 2 1/2 years with one of my sons, (he was the writer and I was the illustrator) I usually used shading on my comics. However, for this gag I thought I would leave the shading off to give it a more "cartoony" appearance. All-in-all I think I used 7 different layers.

Well, that's it for now. Happy Birthday Rich!
So, "toon" in next week.
Same Gag-Time, same Gag-Channel!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Cuttle-Cartoon

Cuttlefish are actually not fish at all. They are mollusks. They can change their color and patterns to suit the environment in which they happen to be. Cuttlefish live it tropical areas in shallow waters. They are a very smart species. They are related to the squid, but not nearly as fast. They are carnivorous and great at using their 10 arms to capture their prey. Cuttlefish, like the squid, can eject a dark cloud of ink when attacked that can allow them to escape from their attacker.
Looks like this little guy above could be in for a big surprise!!!
Until next time.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Night Summer Cartoon

Have you ever been camping and wondered how some folks can create roaring fires in no time at all, while others can't seem to get past lighting the match? Or, lighting multiple matches. Well, now you know the secret, "belly-button lint".
Actually, this gag was inspired by a different type of lint. Both my boys were in Boy Scouts and the secret to lighting a fire quickly on campouts was "dryer lint". Yes, that's right. If you are planning on camping this summer and want to start your campfire fast and easy, just add some dryer lint to your stack of twigs and small sticks. Also, if you want it to really catch on fast, place your twigs in a teepee design and place a handful of dryer lint smack dab in the middle of the teepee. Light your match and touch it to the dryer lint. The dryer lint will ignite immediately and quickly spread to the sticks and twigs. Works every time. So save that lint you pull off from your dryer lint screen and put it to good use the next time you go camping. Better yet, prior to going on your campout, make a bet with your friends as to who can create a fire the fastest. With dryer lint, you'll win every time.
I thought it being the middle of a steamy hot summer, this gag would be most appropriate. I hope you get a chuckle from it. If you feel up to it, let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"One of the Funniest..."

Well, it's official. I am now "one of the funniest people around". It's true! Jump on over to Eli Stein Cartoons web site at . I have won this weeks "Cartoon Caption Contest!!!"

This has been a great week, "cartoon" wise, for me. First Roy Delgado becomes a follower of my blog and now Eli Stein names me "one of the funniest people around". It must be a sign! After a few months off from cartooning, I need to get back to thinking funny, creating cartoons and mailing them out to prospective publications. So then, off I go. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cartoon Of The Month

Well, it has been a while since my last post. I won't bore you with the reasons behind it, I will simply say' "It's good to be back!"

More important is the fact that I now have two additional followers. And, the best thing is that my very first follower, (other than myself) is none other than one of the masters in the gag cartoon industry; Mr. Roy Delgado! Welcome Roy, and thank you for becoming the very first follower of the Cartoons by Gary Zeller Blog. It is an honor and a privilege to have you as a follower. Roy has had his cartoons published in just about every magazine you can think of. Ah..., well, there is one..., but he's still working on that. And, from what I can see, I'm sure he'll get there too.
When I'm browsing through the magazine racks at the local bookstore, (looking for recently published cartoons), I can identify his cartoon style immediately without having to check the signature on the gag. Roy it truly a master at gag cartooning. He has inspired me many times with words like, "It takes persistence, a lot of hard work and you must go after it with the zeal of a crusader, never thinking or giving the thought to the possibility of failure, or defeat." Or words such as, "Socrates said, You learn to play the flute by playing the flute. Draw, Draw, Draw. And in time, you'll do it." Or his truest words to me, "Remember this: If you want ( really want ) to become a successful cartoonist, you WILL become a successful cartoonist."
Thank you again Roy for being my blogs first follower and especially for the inspiring words! You can see Roy's work on his newest cartoon blog, "Plum Loco Comic". Check it out. He's got some great gags there!

I also want to thank my second follower, Ricardo Agusto or Guta Dias Cartoons. You can find his cartoons at Check him out. He's a very talented cartoonist living in Southern Brazil. Welcome Guto and thanks again for following my blog!

You may have noticed the "Cartoon of the Month" just above. This was published by Woman's World last year just about this time. I thought it was an appropriate toon for this time of year with back-to-school just around the corner and me back-to-my-cartooning-blog. I hope you enjoy it. If you can, please take a moment and leave a comment to let me know what you think.
See you soon.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cartoon of the Week

This toon is the very first cartoon of mine that was ever published. It was published, a number of years back, by a publisher of a magazine for children entitled R.A.D.A.R..
You'll see as I post more of my cartoons that my style has changed over time. I hope you enjoy it. The fish obviously do!

Friday, March 19, 2010

First Cartoon of the Day

I thought I would start off with a cartoon I did based on the medical term of "hurry cases". Hurry cases are the emergency cases where you need to act fast. First-Aid cases. I would say these two fine young men have acted fast! Hope you get a chuckle out of it!