A Day In The Life…

I’ve been wanting to do a blog for a while where I chronicle what my typical day is like as a stay-at-home dad/cartoonist. The caveat being I didn’t want to plan it.

I didn’t want to decide what I was going to wear, or what I was going to do, or what day might be the most interesting. That just seemed like cheating. So, I shelved it for a while and figured I’d get to it sometime down the road.

Well, yesterday was the day. It hit me early in the morning after the day had begun and I just sort of went with it.

So, here’s a pretty typical day:

5:00 Alarm goes off. Curse daylight, roll out of bed, and put on my sweats.

5:10 Check email and website/blog stats.

5:20 Walk the dog, drink coffee.

5:45 Shower/breakfast/CNN Headline News/more coffee. (I have an idea for a business cartoon involving a souffle in the shower, but the more I think about it the worse it sounds. I scrap it.)

6:30 Wake up Henry. Get a load of diapers washing. (My wife and I use cloth diapers, so I wash a load just about every other day. It’s not as bad as it sounds. You’d be amazed at what you can get used to.)

6:50 My wife heads to work and I feed the boy.

7:05 This is where I officially had the idea to document my entire day. Track down the camera. (I had to sort of backtrack for the first few hours, but it’s pretty right on.)

7:20 Clean up Henry, take the first picture, and get down to play-time.

Me in the office

Me in my office

8:15 Vacuum the house. I try to get my head in cartoon writing mode, but nothing comes.

8:30 Run to the bank to deposit some cartoon checks. Drop by Krispy Kreme and pick up donuts for my father-in-law. (He’s coming over to watch Henry so I can go to the dentist.)

8:58 I sold a cartoon! An industrial sweeper/scrubber company purchases this cartoon for an upcoming presentation.

9:00 More play-time.

Cowboy Mark

Howdy! (Playing with hats.)

9:15 My father-in-law arrives and we both marvel at Henry.

9:35 The dentist. The hygienist asks why I’m taking pictures of myself. I try to explain, but I don’t think she understands.

At the dentist

I stared at this for an hour.

10:37 Off to Subway to pick up sandwiches for my father-in-law and myself. (I almost always get seafood with lettuce, onion and pickles for those of you playing at home.)


Driving to Subway.

11:00 Chit-chat with father-in-law. Continued marveling at Henry.

11:30 Lunch.

12:00 My father-in-law heads out and Henry and I head outside to, as my Mom puts it, “blow some stink off.”

12:30 Back inside for play-time and stories.

Santa washes the dump truck

Santa Claus driving his dump truck.

12:55 Henry goes down for his nap and my cartooning day officially begins. I waste some time checking my email and surfing.

1:15 Actually get down to work. I usually write first because that part is the most difficult for me. I’ve gotten a lot better over the years, but there’s still no real method. I sit and think about stuff and try to let my brain run free.

1:35 Everything I’ve written is crap sp far. Here are some examples:

Businessman to other – “I’d love to show you my business model, but the glue isn’t dry yet.”

Worker at auto dent removal place to customer – “Sorry, we don’t do pocketbooks.”

Old man to another – “You know what I miss? Nostalgia.”

Grocery clerk to kangaroo – “Paper or pouch?”

I get up and start to walk around to try and jumpstart my brain.

1:50 I get my first decent idea.

Female snail on couch next to salt shaker remarks under breath to another female snail seated across from her – “I’ll change him.”

New Writing

Today’s writing.

1:52 Another decent one.

Owl on couch to psychiatrist – “Anymore I just don’t give a hoot.”

I just need one more idea, but the last one always comes slow. (I try to write as many cartoons as I plan to draw for the day. Today I’ll be doing three.)

2:05 Got it.

Ostrich in emergency room to ostrich with head stuck inside hourglass – “I told you that thing was trouble.”

2:10 Pick out three older gags, get Ed Wood going on the DVD, and sit down and start to sketch my cartoons for the day.

Sketch 1

Sketch 2

Sketch 3

2:25 Sketches went relatively quickly today. I start inking.

2:55 The time I save on sketches I more than made up for in inking. Two cartoons got drawn three times each to get them right. I start shading the final inks.

3:10 Shading is all done and I take a second to check my email.

3:20 Scan in the cartoons, make changes and add captions in Photoshop.



3:30 The mail comes and I resist the urge to jump up and get it.

3:45 All three cartoons are finished and I allow myself to get the mail. (I’m a mail junkie!) There’s nothing good today.

Final 1

Final 2

(In case you can’t read it, one basket says “Frying Pan” and the other says “Fire”.)

Final 3

(Again, in case you can’t read it, one pump says “Fulfilling” and the other says “Self-Fulfilling”.)

4:00 Get Henry up from his nap and give him a snack.

4:20 Margie comes home and plays with Henry. I get some housework done; the sink in the kitchen gets a good scrubbing.

Look at that sink!

Look at that sink!

5:15 Dinner. (Beef stroganoff, Jell-O and some crescent rolls with apple butter. Yum-yum!)

5:55 Upload pictures and get them ready for the blog.

6:40 Dessert!

6:45 Play-time with Henry and Margie

7:15 Margie reads Henry his bedtime stories and I begin blogging in earnest.

9:00 The blog is finished and I’m done for the day.

See you tomorrow...

See you tomorrow…

9:15 Now for some reading and some well-deserved sleep.

5 thoughts on “A Day In The Life…”

  1. It's always interesting to see what a person will include/exclude as worthy of mentioning.

    I liked the idea of "missing nostalgia", and I don't think I have seen your drawings of old men, I'd be curious to see them.

  2. The nostalgia one still doesn't do anything for me, but that kangaroo one sorta made me giggle today… Maybe I'll do that one up…

  3. Sure, the clean sink was impressive — certainly more impressive than the one waiting for me — but what caught my eye was your page of ideas. It looks like the captions fall from your mind like gumballs, essentially complete, requiring only a little chewing over. When I write, the words are more like the ingredients for gum, spread all over the place, and the recipe for making gum only half-remembered.

  4. Oh that I wish it were that easy, Mark. I tend to start thinking of terms, or cliches, or what have you and then let my mind try to turn things on their respective heads.

    For example, the snail one started as a snail thinking about a low-sodium diet (boring!). Then a police investigation of a snail murder by salt (lame!. And then some other weird stuff… I just sort of keep turning and turning until I like what I see. Call it the Rubik's approach.

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