I grew up in a small town called Kankakee, Ill. It was rated the worst place to live in America a few years back. Kankakee is the exact opposite of Sanibel.
The gangs at the school I went to had a certain respect for cartoonists, so I only got beat up every other day.
What brought you to Sanibel?
My wife Diane interviewed for a job at Lee Memorial Hospital. Her boss took her to Sanibel for lunch and she fell in love with the island.
Later on, my brother (Lee) and I bought Sanibel Print & Graphics, produced a comic panel and the rest is history.
What do you appreciate most about the islands?
It's unlike any other place I've been. I think everyone knows what I mean.
It's a wonderful island. The only thing that would make it better would be to have a Chinese-food joint and a bowling alley. OK, scratch the bowling alley.
We hear you are a cartoonist. How did you get into that creative line of work?
I worked with Hallmark cards for years. Then we moved to Florida and approached the newspaper with our tourist/wildlife concept.
The big surprise to us was that they actually published it! Wa Haaa! suckers! Now the cartoon is published in island newspapers all around Florida, but Sanibel was the first.
What is your favorite cartoon? Why?
"Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson. He's a genius.
Also, "Peanuts", I am a member of the National Cartoonists Society and I met Charles Schulz at an annual meeting. It was a great experience until he borrowed $20 from me and died a year later.
You have some pretty funny, clever cartoons. Where do you draw your inspiration?
This is the most asked question of all cartoonists in the cartoon world. I only have two words for you... Diet Coke. (I can't believe I gave away the, secret.)
What do you hope to accomplish when you draw cartoons? Is there a message you try to get across?
My first hope is to make people laugh. Second I hope that people will get the joke. I've been told that I have a distorted view of life. I guess that's a nice way of saying "You're Sick!"
How does someone break into the cartoon world?
Never give up. Perseverance.
Did you dream of becoming a cartoonist when you were a child?
Yes. My mom says I was drawing cartoons on everything in the house from the time I was born. My dad was a college president so I had plenty of fancy letterhead paper to practice on.
What do you do when you are not creating cartoons?
I play terrible golf, worse tennis and I run half marathons at a snails pace.
I also teach cartooning classes to kids on Sanibel. As I have gotten more popular, young people seek me out mainly to ask, "Do you know the guy who draws Sponge Bob?"
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I'm 45 years old, but I read at a 47 year old level.
I jumped off the highest bridge in Canada. I was once featured on David Letterman. I have cat-like reflexes and the strength of 10 men. (Only half of these are true.)
What is your family life like?
I've been married for 21 years to Diane (a pediatric dietitian) and have three children, Nicole (15) Genevieve (12) and Alexander (6) Basically I'm a chauffeur, a cook and an ATM machine.
What are your long/short-term goals?
Long term: I would like to get nationally syndicated.
Short term: I need to clean the cat box.
You appear to be a pretty happy, easy-going fellow. What do you attribute your joy of life to - your inner happy cartoon character if you will?
I have many great friends, customers and a nice family that keep me in good spirits. I like to relax by taking long walks on the beach, as long as a giant squid doesn't grab me and pull me out to sea.
By ELLA NAYOR, firstname.lastname@example.org