|The Cartoonist at Work|
An artist all of his life, and pretty darned serious about it when he hung out with other talented classmates in the 6th Grade, he finally accepted that he is a cartoonist. Dogs, however, are obviously his passion, even when he was packing the car and driving to Art Shows far and wide.
In 1979, when he and his wife, DeDe, moved he got a job at a shipyard. It lasted a year before he was laid off. With a wife and two children, he knew he had to find an immediate way to earn a living. In 1991 he began drawing caricatures of people for $4. (If you're reading this and have one of those, I want to know about it!) at Festivals. After more than 25 years there are still people who remember him from those days. Other work during this period included a brief time drawing animals for a greeting card company and another drawing designs for a bar napkin company.
The dog cartoons had their roots with his mother and her Great Danes. He drew Great Dane cards for her birthday and Mother's Day. His mother suggested he come to a Great Dane show she was attending and draw caricatures.
"I thought I was going to draw the people but they wanted me to draw their dogs instead," he recalls. "All of a sudden they wanted shirts, they wanted mugs, they wanted anything with their breed on it." At that point, he knew he had something. The McCartneys attended an all-breed show where someone asked, "if I could draw a Whippet. I didn't even know what a Whippet was."
It became a family business. The first product was black and white cards. He, DeDe and their kids, Butch and Stevi, cut costs by sitting around the table folding and packaging cards. He about started with learning about more breeds and then had to figure out which breeds were more popular and would sell more cards. The business grew from there with DeeDee handling the business end. Today he has wholesalers all over the world.
Seeing one of his shirts on someone at the top of a mountain in Washington State, he was surprised but all he said was, "Nice shirt."
You don't have to go to a dog show to buy his wonderful cartoons on an array of items. Just visit his website, McCartneysDogs, and surf around. You can choose by Breed (or Mutt) to see the items available in what may be more than one cartoon design, or you can choose by item. They make great gifts for dog loving friends of all stripes.
I've usually picked up some items in various breeds to give as holiday or birthday gifts. Now you don't even have to leave the house to buy some great items.
"I have yet to see all four corners of my website," he told me.
Always inspired to start new projects in the future, finding time to carry them out will probably take a bit of doing!
Thanks, Mike McCartney, for sharing all of your wonderful dog cartoons with us.
* All cartoons shown here are Copyright Mike McCartney. You may share the entire blog post but NOT the individual cartoons. Thank You.