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Drawing Inspiration with Leigh Rubin


The problem with creative people is they get more ideas than they can use in their regular line of work. Cartoonists are no exception.

It was seven years ago this month when Leigh Rubin got the initial idea.

Now, most of Rubin’s ideas get channeled into “Rubes,” the cartoon panel he creates that appears daily in this newspaper and on more than 400 media outlets worldwide. But this idea was different: He was thinking about reality TV shows.

“All these reality shows are on TV,” he said, and they cover all sorts of different topics and delve into the lives of interesting (and sometimes, not-so-interesting) people.

Yet there was a gap in these shows, fertile ground left uncovered. It was an injustice, really.

“No one’s done anything with a cartoonist,” Rubin thought. And he knew exactly what to do about it.

Or, rather, he knew whom to contact about it.

Rubin, who lives in California, is friends with Ryan Johnson, the proprietor of NewRuleFX, a company in Van Nuys that specializes in making props for movies and TV productions.

Rubin shot Johnson an email pitching the idea. Johnson was intrigued, but thought that the idea needed considerably more work, and gently called Rubin’s attention to a sad truth about cartoonists:

“To be really honest,” Rubin said, “a cartoonist’s life is not really that exciting.”

Eventually, though, the idea morphed into something a little more exciting: Rubin and Johnson set out to tell stories about creative people and how they get inspiration. “That’s way more interesting than my life,” Rubin said.

So Leigh and Ryan set out to produce the series, with the pilot featuring themselves.
That episode has the pair “cartoonifying” a cow for the San Luis Obispo Cow Parade.
The Adventure Cow” installment of Drawing Inspiration is available on YouTube.




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