Cartooning on the Other Side of the Mountains
by Georgia Ball
July 6, 2005

On July 16th, CNW welcomed cartoonist Dan McConnell from Eastern Washington. Members were gratified to be introduced to a Cashmere apple farmer who had turned his love for orchards into a cartoon series about rural humor; his ongoing comic Apple Andy appears regularly in the Cashmere Valley Record.

Apples are only one aspect of Dan’s varied career. He’s also a skilled mainstream comics inker. Promotional comics and characters for Marvel were passed around, including the X-Men on a box of Nerds and a premium comic for Tony’s Pizza. Dan had also recently been certified as a scientific illustrator, and brought samples of fish drawings soon to be published in River of Memory by University Press. This certification was the reward for driving twice a week to the University of Washington to study botany and muscle articulation so nature can be accurately rendered in colored pencils. His latest project is a series of trading cards for church youth groups called “Bible Cards.”

But many CNW members know Dan McConnell best as the spokesman for CWAC, the Eastern Washington spin-off of Cartoonists Northwest. Pronounced “Quack,” CWAC began three years ago when fellow members of an artists’ workshop decided to band together and meet regularly to discuss their passion for cartooning. Regular Penstuff readers may be familiar with Dan’s reports on their art show at the Wenatchee Museum.

Dan’s advice for other freelance artists is to solidify contracts with first and second publication rights and get approval on the roughs before finishing. Make sure the client is aware that changes made after that point would cost more. Have it in writing or they won’t pay the max, he warns, while humorously acknowledging that he feels he is not in the fast lane to success. “I’m more in the snail’s lane,” he jokes. Even so, Dan McConnell’s experience in so many different avenues of cartooning left the audience pleasantly overwhelmed with work to admire.

Contact: Georgia Ball

Georgia Ball is a freelance Flash designer and the script writer for the cartoon strip Scooter and Ferret.