Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mr. Ollie and Seven Things That Make You A Mentor

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Tim Oliphant, also known as Mr. Ollie. I ran into him at "Decatur Arts Live" where he was promoting his Young Audiences Cartooning Workshops to schools.

While you may have never heard of Tim, meeting him was like meeting a rock star....or in my case, an American Composer, e.g. Gershwin, Porter.

You see, Tim is a cartoonist. A real cartoonist. He makes his living drawing cartoons for clients, publications, ad agencies and other people banging down his studio doors to get their hands on his artwork. Seriously. They come to him. Not the other way around. That means he spends his days drawing, creating, being imaginative and bringing joy to kids of all ages. An artists dream, really....

Tim's work is classic, solid. He truly is a gifted artist who has been honing his various styles (caricatures, illustrations, dog portraits, more) for a lifetime. When I met Tim, he had a few loose pastel and colored pencil animal sketches on manila paper out on his table. One was a giant duck he probably drew in less than five minutes. If you'd told me Walt Disney or Picasso or Dr. Seuss drew it, I would've believed you. Yes. He is that good. He's been working on his art since an early age, committed to his craft. And it shows in his work.

So, when Tim gave me a thumbs up on Chloe Pink, it was sorta like getting The Seal of Good Housekeeping on my permanent ink marker. Or at least, a reason to not throw in the towel at this point...not that I was going to, but you know what I mean.

Actually, the real reward of meeting Tim is more valuable to me than his compliment of my work. It's knowing that I now have a cartoonist mentor! Sorry Tim. If you're reading this, you'll only be receiving one email a day from me from here on out. (Just kidding!!!!!)

So what is a mentor? Defined by -- it, he, she is: 1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher and 2. an influential sponsor or supporter.

To me, a mentor is:
  1. Somebody you respect because they are doing something you want to do.
  2. Somebody who gives you confidence to strive towards your goal because they have similar goals they've reached already. Thus, showing you it's possible for you to do the same.
  3. Somebody you can trust because they are encouraging and genuine.
  4. Somebody who is totally committed and sets the bar in their craft/industry and thus, instills a higher work ethic in you because of that.
  5. Somebody who feels its worth their valuable time to lend a positive word, to hear you out because.....
  6. And this one is very important if you hope to be or find a mentor someday! Somebody who has compassion and is enriched by helping others. They gotta have the humanity. Gotta!
  7. Somebody who is not there for you to idolize. I'm not talking about hero worship here. I'm talking about somebody who embodies the best of who you hope to be someday.
As I strive to get one single Chloe Pink cartoon published in a newspaper or magazine, I now have a little more strength, a little more confidence, a little bit more feeling of "responsibility" towards "my" craft. Thanks to Tim Oliphant.

Don't forget to check out his work here.

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