I am the third generation of tomboys in my family. My mom won over my father when she was fourteen years old by helping him work on his 1956 MGA and although her mother rarely wore anything but a dress, she was quite content to be knee deep in garden mud, shovel in hand, and freshly harvested potatoes spread in all directions. It has been over a decade, when, at the age of ninety-two, she decided it better be her last season of planting the entire garden, but I can still picture her in her blue housekeeping dress, flowered gloves, and Wellies.
This being said, I grew up doing the same things as my brother – fishing, camping, sailing, helping dad build boats, and work on the cars. Never thought anything about it really and kind of wondered why my friends were always content to play with dolls. Really, how can you be content to play with dolls after catching and cleaning your first twenty-five pound salmon? Or how much pleasure can you derive from watching summer reruns after spending three weeks sailing around the Gulf Islands?
Which takes me to a chance meeting a couple of weeks ago that flung me back thirty odd years to when I was this happy girl child who knew far too much about cars, fishing, camping, sailing, and all things ‘boy’. And no, not much has changed much there.
Two weeks ago, I attended my first WordCamp (and yes, I know I am still on Blogger…) and was introduced to Nelson Dewey, a local professional cartoonist with a career spanning over fifty years. I didn’t realize at the time how much Nelson’s illustrations were a part of my childhood education but when I asked my father if he knew of his work, out came a half dozen books and a stack of comics that I had devoured as a child. Nelson, literally, illustrated my childhood!
Obviously I knew him best for his CARtoons comic books but also spent many hours reading books Nelson illustrated for local fisherman and icon Charlie White. However, not only did he produce a wide variety of his own comic books titles, he also worked as a cartoonist for several newspapers including the New York Times and the Victoria Times-Colonist. He was a writer and illustrator for a bunch of magazines including Hot Rod and Motor Trend and, in the last decade or so, has worked on Scary Movie 3 and 4, the animated children’s show Arthur, and worked for several video game producers.
Nelson is now in the process of writing his own blog that features his work and tossing around the idea of getting back into cartooning after spending time in the movie business drawing storyboards. CARzy, his daily blog that features a strip from his old comic books are entertaining for anyone interested in hot rods, motorcycles, and cars from the 50′s through 80′s. For a glimpse of this man’s incredibly vast career of cartooning and illustrations, visit his website and please pardon the virtual dust, he is in the process of updating some of the layout.