Drawing

Here’s a drawing I did while in Boston this past Spring. Saw this gentleman near Boston Common and he immediately caught my attention with his big smile and face full of tangled beard. After a few minutes of quick sketching his essence before moving on, I realized that this man is blind. Interestingly he has an uncanny ability to talk and interact with people in the direction they are walking – a skill honed from years on the street, no doubt. He seemed in very good spirits about living on the street and was very honest about his intended use of donations:) I did not embellish the spelling here, folks – this is what he, or someone, had written on his sign. Being blind, I only assume he knew what it said.

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FIRE MUSEUM VISIT

Spent yesterday afternoon at the Ft Wayne Firefighter’s Museum. Thanks to brother Jason Wyss for taking the time to talk about Ft Wayne’s rich fire history. Beautiful old rigs (including their 1890’s steamer) and ol’ station 3 is amazing! If you’re in the area, please stop by and pay them a visit – it’s well worth your time!

THE FIRE LINE: First cartoon!

5,4,3,2,1… Ready? Launch!!

Welcome to the inaugural “The Fire Line,” folks!  I’m extremely proud to introduce a fun project that will hopefully bring a grin and maybe a snort or two — this one’s just for laughs! Almost everyone is familiar with my biting editorial cartoons, but I’m often inspired to draw something just for fun. No preconceived opinion or point, “The Fire Line” is to be silly for the sake of being silly.

Why this title? In one respect, a fire line is a barrier between us and the general public – a special zone where only we operate and only we understand. It’s more than a stretch of barrier tape, it’s a firefighters only domain. These comics aren’t for everyone (though all are welcome to enjoy), they’re for you, the Brotherhood!

So, to light this candle I am throwing my very good friend Chief Billy Goldfeder under the bus! Sorry, Chief!  This cartoon was created last year and was intended to accompany the Chief’s introduction for my book “Drawn By Fire,” but was unfortunately left on the cutting board. However, in light of Chief Goldfeder’s appearance this morning on CNN’s Headline News, it has risen from the depths of cartoon purgatory. My friend, my mentor, my brother, truly is EVERYWHERE!!

…and we thank him for his dedication!

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AUGUST FIRE ENGINEERING MAGAZINE EDITORIAL CARTOON

Humor is a powerful drug! We use it on a daily basis without even knowing it, and it’s a medicine with healing and regenerative effects. At times, the things we talk and joke about in the fire service would seem crass and inappropriate to the general public, but it performs the job of defusing stressful situations in a way that can’t fully be explained. Generally playful and good-natured, other times dark and sarcastic – either way, it allows us to expel stress in a way that doesn’t show vulnerability. Laughter is contagious, therapeutic, and necessary for our health, station morale, and home life. Laughter can’t solve every issue, but it’s an effective first response that may mitigate the problem.

SAFETY ILLUSTRATION



Here’s a poster I just completed for a major railroad company here in the States, showing the sometimes deadly consequences of not labeling containers. Logos had to be removed for this blog’s use, but you get the idea:)

Had a blast with this one and am pretty happy with the final result. Wish I would have had more time to add details, especially in the snake.

REAL AMERICAN HERO

We Americans love our Hollywood heroes and icons, and Marvel’s latest addition to this culture, “Captain America”, fits the bill perfectly. Set in the 1940’s, he battles his evil Nazi foes with all the swagger and chiseled abs tensile-town can muster. And being a superhero movie junkie, I watched my favorite childhood comic book hero kick some bad-guy ass with delight.

Is it a fun movie? Yes! Can I draw comparisons to today’s fire service? Oh, you bet your three-quarter boots!

It is difficult to watch the public (and media) fawn over an imaginary Hollywood hero created to represent the “best” in American heroism and courage. Want to see a REAL American hero? People need to look no further than their local firefighter or police officer (or soldier, for that matter)! And our REAL public service heroes are under attack from forces much more powerful than the ominous Red Skull and his Nazi thugs.

Fire has historically been portrayed as the fireman’s arch enemy, but reality is much more sobering. Budget shortfalls, shrinking tax revenue, partisan politics, pension cuts, layoffs, station closings, increased call volume, internal strife, light-weight construction,… our enemies are many and growing in number!

Hollywood heroes are stoically courageous under special effects fire – but put them on an understaffed first-due engine responding to a heavily involved light-weight structure fire with possible victims and let’s see how brave they really are. The bullets we face in today’s fire service are relentless, and they are not CGI. They are very REAL and can kill – regardless of your chiseled abs!