Posts Tagged ‘cartoon strips’

Cartoon wisdom from Karl Stevens appears in this week’s print edition of The New Yorker

February 1, 2021

When I saw this wise cartoon by Karl Stevens on his Twitter and Instagram feeds I had to share it. I posted comments on both and Karl replied. Turns out there’s a TM connection. See our conversation below.

The New Yorker Cartoons have now also posted it on their Instagram.

I was so taken with this cartoon, I had to share a comment on Twitter and on Karl’s Instagram: “Love this! So funny and so true!!”

Surprisingly, Karl replied to both! Here’s a compilation: “Thanks, Ken! By the way, (You know) I’ve been doing TM for the past 7 years. Completely changed my life for the better! Thanks for all our work.”

I’ve been doing TM for the past 7 years. Completely changed my life for the better!

I had a suspicion this may have been the case when I saw a page from Karl’s forthcoming book, Penny, A Graphic Memoir. This colorful graphic novel features the philosophical and existential musings of a cat named Penny. It’s due out Apr 13, 2021.

In this frame on his Instagram, Penny says: “No, true transcendence comes from within. There is an oasis of happiness inside of me waiting to be unlocked. I just need to find the right key.” The second frame shows the cover of this new book, his fourth.

I had asked Karl if I could post his cartoons and he replied: “You can absolutely use that Penny comic for your blog. I’ve been meaning to be more vocal regarding my TM practice. Use the links for the Penny graphic novel in my profile, and my IG and Twitter handle,” which I’ve done.

I looked up Karl Stevens’ books on Amazon, and Time Out Boston wrote on the back of his book, Failure, “Karl Stevens may be the closet thing to a Charles Bukowski equivalent working in comic art. Except Stevens is way classier….” I mentioned it to Karl and told him that Charles Bukowski had learned TM later in his life. Karl was excited to learn about this. He said when he was working on Failure, “I was struggling with alcoholism which I think was where the comparison lies. I stopped drinking a couple months before beginning to learn TM. Obviously the practice was crucial to helping me focus on living a cleaner life.”

I stopped drinking a couple months before beginning to learn TM. Obviously the practice was crucial to helping me focus on living a cleaner life.

Karl Stevens is a Boston-based comic strip artist. He’s written four graphic novels, and his comics have appeared regularly in the New Yorker, Village Voice, and Boston Phoenix. His comic strips appeared in the Boston Phoenix between 2005 and 2012. His work has been well received all around, and The Lodger was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.

Find out more about Karl Stevens at https://linktr.ee/karlstevens, and follow him on Twitter @KarlStevensart and Instagram @karlstevensart.

UPDATE: After reading this blog post my niece found a cartoonist profile on Karl and sent it to me. He mentions his TM practice further down under Misc. It was posted May 22, 2019 on A Case For Pencils. The blog, created/edited/run by Jane Mattimoe, is a peek inside the pencil bags and minds of New Yorker cartoonists, where they talk about their art supplies and drawing process.

Cartoonists sit and concentrate on drawing for long periods of time. In that profile, Karl describes the benefits of exercise and TM. He says:

It’s important to take breaks during the day, especially exercise. At the risk of sounding like David Lynch, I would also recommend learning Transcendental Meditation. I’ve been doing it for five years, and have never felt more creative. Slacking off twice a day for 20 minutes each really does help your mind and body recharge.

Karl also recommended The Winner, published May 23, 2018. He did it after he started TM. He said, “It’s on the lighter side, basically a love letter to my wife Alex.” I took a Look inside at the book preview on Amazon and it’s beautiful! Some of the panels are like miniature paintings. I can see why this book garnered rave reviews.

When I asked Karl what or who inspired him and his wife to learn TM he said that a friend of his had started six months before they did. He also said, “it was because of David Lynch. Well, Howard Stern too. We were/are regular listeners and would hear about the benefits from him too.” I sent him a link to a conversation Howard Stern and Jerry Seinfeld had about their TM practice.

Speaking of slacking off twice a day for 20 minutes to meditate, Jim Carrey, in his 2014 Commencement address at MUM/MIU mentions a similar thing at this point in his talk. Very funny!

Mark Wooding animated some highlights of Jim’s wise advice to the Class of 2014 for his After Skool site, which I’ve also posted, with links to the full talks and news coverage.

Here’s another post on cartoonists: Good cartoons teach us a lot if we’re willing to learn and laugh at our little foibles and neuroses.

Rick Hotton and Holy Molé make us laugh and learn “what is essential is invisible to the eye”

January 12, 2011

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Copyright © 2011 Rick Hotton. All Rights Reserved.

Look familiar? Is this how you see reality—only what’s in front of you on your computer screen? Technology may be an extension of our senses to more effectively interact with the world, but it can also be what cuts us off from it. Sometimes we need a little humor to break this mistake of the intellect and make us see the light of day!

Rick Hotton, creator of the award-winning cartoon Holy Molé, opens our hearts and minds with insightful humor. His characters make us laugh and realize there’s more to life than meets the eye.

To find out how Holy Molé was born and to uncover the path of creator Rick Hotton, a dedicated martial artist turned math teacher and now cartoonist, read Behind Holy Molé’s Rick Hotton by Danielle Hope Hier.

Danielle describes the characteristics and spiritual significance of a mole as the main character in Rick’s cartoon and compares it to his outlook on life. She encapsulates his approach in this paragraph:

Through martial arts, math, and Molé, Hotton has captured the essences of working the body, the mind, and the spirit. The quest for knowledge is the thread that ties all three of these forms together, in what might otherwise appear as three completely separate entities.

Danielle asked Rick why he chose a cartoon as a way of expressing elements of his own spiritual journey. I love his answer.

He replied, “But for me, if I could get people to laugh, even if just for a moment…” He paused before rephrasing his next thought: “Being joyful is a state of grace.”

The January 2011 issue of Edge Magazine published an article by Randy Moore on Rick Hotton and the Mindful Art of Holy Molé. It’s interesting to note that both Danielle and Randy are also martial artists and writers.

If you like Rick’s sense of humor, visit www.holymolecartoon.com to sign up and have cartoons delivered to your Inbox. Also follow him on Facebook, Holy Molé Cartoon, to see his photo stream.

Speaking of a common thread that’s invisible to the eye, see William Stafford—The Way It Is. Twenty-five years ago I wrote Seeing Is Being, a poem about a more enlightened way of seeing the world.

This post is very relevant to the theme of how social media cuts us off from the world shown in the Holy Molé cartoon: Two innovative creative videos remind us how social media can destroy not build relationships.


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