Dog’s Bedroom serves as creative zone for Rubes cartoonist
January 2, 2009
Leigh Rubin likes to look at the world a little differently. Applying his creative mind and his artist’s hand, he has drawn thousands of Rubes cartoons in his twenty-some years as a full-time newspaper cartoonist.
To laugh is to live well. To laugh a lot is to live even better.
I got to know Leigh after seeing one of his cartoons online – Rudolph’s Revenge. According to Leigh, that is one of the most copied cartoons he’s ever done. Over sixteen years old, that cartoon reminds us all of what it feels like to be bullied by all the other reindeer in the neighborhood.
Animals offer us a great opportunity to laugh at ourselves without feeling the alienation of actually being laughed at. There’s something about animals, not to mention animal cartoons, that makes it safe for us to feel what we do.
With Leigh Rubin’s cartoon series, Rubes, he addresses the lighter side of life.
“I take every day experiences and capture them in one frame,” he told me during a Skype session the other day.
“I’m not an editorial cartoonist, but rather a sit-down comic,” he admitted. When asked if he ever suffers from drawer’s block, he revealed that he typically does after taking longer trips. “Drawing is like working out. The more you do it, the better shape you’re in.”
Astoundingly, Leigh can draw just about anywhere. A few years ago his son had an operation in San Francisco. While waiting in the hospital cafeteria, he whipped out his block and started drawing. “I also use cheap tape recorders as a second memory bank to help me capture ideas,” he said. Even if it’s just the grocery list.
His talent spans beyond the 400+ newspapers in which his cartoon is syndicated. He has also penned the opening credits of Moola (directed by Don Most, best known as Ralph Malph from Happy Days’ fame). Most recently, he put together a calendar entitled Zoo in a Box. If you want the lion’s share of his funnies, the calendar is available online here.
Leigh works mostly from home in his ‘dog’s bedroom’ when he’s not on the speaker’s circuit encouraging others to live their dreams and not be put down by rejection. A regular dad with three kids, Leigh reminds us all that to laugh is to live well. To laugh a lot is to live even better.
If you want to be a hero, call the managing editor or features editor of your local paper and ask to have Rubes come to your local rag (more info on the syndicated comic here). You can make a difference to an entire community with a single phone call. Laughter is the world’s best medicine!
**Images used with permission by the artist.