Friday, July 19, 2013

LifeLookLens: Cartoon Artist For Hire in Nashville - Freelance S...

LifeLookLens: Cartoon Artist For Hire in Nashville - Freelance S...: "Into the Unknown" Drawing by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. I've always liked to draw.  When I w...

Cartoon Artist For Hire in Nashville - Freelance Sketch Artist Regina Hodge

"Into the Unknown" Drawing by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

I've always liked to draw. 

When I was a kid, I collected how-to-sketch books. Since then, years went by without much practice in this childhood hobby. Lately, I've been doodling and drawing more by using the Paper app on my iPad. 

Every now and then, I make something I'm proud of but most of the time I don't show anybody. I'm not confident yet in my illustrative ability to show many people my doodles. Doodles are mostly private on my iPad. 

Except for this doodle and all the others that follow. I share them because I drew these pictures and whether or not they are masterpieces or not doesn't matter. 

This one (at the top) took me too much time to keep it to myself. The others posted here are just fun doodles and sketches I like.

 Time passes more quickly when I'm drawing something. I take my mind off things I'm worried about and just keep the pencil- or in this case, my finger, moving. It's a release for me, much like writing is my outlet. 

I draw to express myself, I guess. I draw when I'm stressed, worried, overwhelmed, happy, content, bored, sad-

Basically, I draw when feelings need to get out or when my emotions need to be released so I put them on paper.

I got more confident about my sketches when I showed one little cartoon I made to some co-workers. I think doodling cartoons may be a talent I didn't know I had. 

I draw mostly work-related cartoons or 'Tracie-toons' as I call them. The latter consists of artistic depictions of my sister. She is a perfect candidate for a star cartoon character. I normally draw a Tracie-toon when she does or says something ridiculous, snarky, and funny. 

People probably won't get the humor of those doodles like they should but at least my sister understands the humor. 

Tracie has her own cartoon series, so I'll share a couple quick doodles based on my little sister...

I call this one: "Feta Freakout". 
I drew this after my sister completely lost composure over the way I had opened the feta cheese at our parents' house. I suppose I did not handle the precious feta as carefully as Tracie would have preferred. My shredding open of the container prompted abrupt opposition from my sister, who shouted warnings of a disaster I might create..."spilled contents". Now, I agree that feta cheese is important and one should not go about opening a package of it in a way that may risk losing any delicious salad toppings. I just didn't expect such a strong reaction. Also, the wording of Tracie's warning cracked me up when combined with a screeching tone of seriousness and concern. After all, who says 'contents' instead of 'cheese' in this scenerio? It could only be Tracie. That's why she makes an excellent cartoon character who stars in her own Tracie Toon series. :) 

Tracie wasn't feeling well on the day I drove to Ashland City to see her. She is a sickly being in this toon, plagued with sinus allergy problems that required a heavy dosage of over the counter medication(s). Nonetheless, Tracie was kind enough to make her famous spinach dip for me. She also assisted me with my laundry. Here, Tracie's antihistamines have affected her communicative ability. One nonsensical phrase after another, she had me laughing hysterically. I got to the spinach dip in time, before it got cold. Then, the feta cartoon event happened. I drew several Tracie toons on this day, taking advantage of her medicated state. :)

Tracie confessed that she had eaten "an entire bag of M&M's" that day. I hear the remorse in her voice, so I assure her that it's no big deal. She replies, "No, Regina. You don't understand. It was a really huge bag and I ate ALL of them...I just...couldn't...stop." My sister's love for chocolate inspired this Tracie Toon. I call it: "Confession."

"Electronic Accusations" Tracie Toons, Cartoon by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

I can't remember what was "screwy" with the microwave, but Tracie would not stand for it. 

Her patience was particularly short on this illness-plagued day, keep in mind. One temper tantrum had already taken place, based on the preciousness of feta cheese. 

Here, another outburst happened when Tracie insulted the microwave. Approaching the appliance with skepticism, she examined the device to arrive at a puzzling conclusion. This toon may be one that is just funny to we sisters. I assure you that you'd think it was hilarious if you'd been there to witness this kitchen epiphany of our star toon character. 

The microwave is fine, by the way. Tracie's current state is unknown. I'll follow up to check on her but this behavior is common. :)

Okay, even I don't get this one. 
I mean, I understand the cartoon but the caption is just weird. 

Tracie and I have impeccable memories, when it comes to all things Disney. We quote Disney movies in common conversation all the time. Most people don't catch it. We always do. Working movie quotes into daily life is something we only do when we're together. I don't know why...we It comes naturally and only my sister understands. 

I say all of this to clarify that the caption above is not a quote from a movie (that I know of, anyway). 

Keep in mind, Tracie is 'heavily medicated'. 
She got on her laptop to search for some Disney songs that we could sing in harmony together. We are humble about our musical inclinations, for the most part, but our ability to harmonize with each other in song can be incredible at times. 

This was not one of those times. 

Congested and stuffy, Tracie's voice did not sound like the angelic tones in which I am accustomed to hearing from her. So, Tracie decided she could sing a song more accommodating of her symptomatic, prohibitive-of-harmony-making, condition. 

She created the caption above when she decided she'd sing like Sebastian, from Disney's The Little Mermaid. 

Tracie preceeded "Under The Sea" with:
"I'm 'bout to get all Sebastian up in here!" 

Thus, another Tracie Toon was created to capture the humorous weirdness that is my sister. :)

 I'm fairly certain that by combining cheese and garlic powder, one will not create spinach dip. 

Tracie's either keeping her recipe a secret or her medication is keeping her from giving me crucial details of how she makes such an awesome compliment for chips, bread, and anything else you want to dip into everything she cooks. 

Our little cartoon star is a regular Betty Crocker. 

This toon was inspired by my sister's vague answer to the question,  
"How do you make that spinach dip?" 

Grumpy and secretive Tracie's reply? ...

"Cheese and garlic powder."

Now, there are obviously more steps to making spinach dip. 

I had hoped to learn them from my better-than-I-am-at-cooking sister.

 Just by watching Tracie in the kitchen on that day, I noted that stirring is involved. I probably missed other key steps that are needed to replicate her spinach dip of awesomeness. 

I'll have to ask again when her system is free of Benadryl.

Now, this one I drew after initiating a stupid argument with my sister. 

We had both said some things we regretted, via text message and late night phone conversation. 

We always work out these sisterly disagreements, so I drew how we both felt during our dumb little spat. 

This one is called: Rivalry Reaction.

 I love Tracie. She loves me. We argue and fight very rarely since we've gotten older. Tracie is my best friend so even the little quarrels inspire some toons in the Tracie Toon saga. 

We can laugh about the silly arguments we have because our bond is ultimately unbreakable.


"Training Completed" Cartoon by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

I work at a foster care/adoption/child placement agency.  That said, I am required by state, private provider, and licensing requirements to complete a trillion hours of training in various topics. For whatever reason, I began contracting every illness that comes in contact with me at the office. Communicable disease training is one topic in which I've exceeded credit hours of completion.

"Hesitant to Return" Cartoon by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

 The paperwork involved in social services is insurmountable. If you work in a cubical, you don't have room for the stacks of files and papers you have to hoard. Because of this- and my tendency to be messy, in general- I hate my cubical. I did what I could to spruce up that drab little cage of walls, hanging pictures and placing about decorative accessories. My efforts complicated the already overcrowded space and I drew this cartoon when I realized one day that my hatred for chaos prevented me from returning to my crazy workspace. 

I drew this cartoon for Laura, our office manager. Laura is the most organized of our scattered little work crew. She keeps us informed of where we are supposed to be, what's going on, and what we need to know on a daily basis. With all the data, meetings, appointments, home visits, deadlines, and other information she keeps- Laura makes a spreadsheet. She is the spreadsheet queen. I bow down to her Excel abilities and hang my head in shame when I compare the lack of organization I have to her mastery of this skill. Laura saves our butts a lot. In meetings, when the bosses inquire about resource home progress or any number of our other million tasks- Laura says, "There's a spreadsheet for that." Problems solved. Laura saved my butt so many times in the past few weeks that I owed her several 'certificates of awesomeness' so I drew a cartoon for her instead. Though she doesn't know it, she's given me much more confidence in my creative abilities. Since she first saw a cartoon I made about writing home studies, Laura has praised my drawings. No one in the office knew I liked to draw until Laura showed my bosses and co-workers the cartoon that started them all... I owe her another awesome certificate for that, too!


"Home Studies In Progress" Cartoon by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.
The market for this cartoon is slim, pertaining to the few people who will think this drawing is hilarious. 

Writing home studies makes you CRAZY. 

Anyone who writes them is fully aware of that. 

At our agency, we still practice S.A.F.E. (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) home study writing. 

To understand the cartoon above, you must understand the exhausting process of a home study...

The process involves intrusive interviews with foster and adoptive parents, a psychosocial evaluation of historical and current factors, and countless hours spent typing a family's life story. References are obtained from work professionals, birth relatives, and friends of the applicants. Medical reports and documentation of past surgeries, illnesses, and current intake of medications are required for home study inclusion. History of abuse, neglect, and trauma are reported and evaluated to determine what, if any, current parenting abilities are inhibited by any of the applicant's life experiences. 

Criminal, driving record, child protective services, sex offender, felony offender, and fingerprinting background checks are completed. Interviews are required for all of the applicant's children- adults included- even if they don't live with the applicants. Home safety checks are completed, smoke detectors are checked, evacuation and disaster plans are made, contingency plans are discussed, motivation of the applicants and evaluation of financial stability must be reported in the home study. 

Some Documentation required for your poor, exhausted worker/home study writer:

-  birth certificates for all family members
- driver licenses for any transporters of children
- Declarations pages for policy coverages on all vehicles, home or renters insurance, medical insurance (for adoption)
- Social security cards for all family members
- CPR/First Aid certifications
- Medication Administration certifications
- 15 hour training certifications in child-specific, therapeutic topics (prior to child placement)
- Immunization records of children
- Physician's releases and medical reports for all family members
- Proof of income (most recent tax return or one month's proof of total income received
- Vehicle Registration for all automobiles
- current marriage certificate
- final decree of divorce (for all previous marriages of both applicants)
- final adoption decree (for all adopted children)
- death certificates (for any immediate family member of applicants)
- High school and college diplomas (or GED/verification of highest education received by applicants)
- Proof of current rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats
- Anything and everything else that your writer or I ask for you to turn in. (list varies)

To get all of that information, along with the endless list of other verifications needed for a home study, the writer must become an investigative reporter and detective. Social work requires many hats. None of them are made out of dollar bills. 

Be nice to us

We are writing more home studies than just yours, dear and sweet little family. We are trying to keep up with a billion things for each 13-25 page report we're working on so we can send you that neat little packet that narrates your life story. 

 Now, the cartoon above should make more sense to the people who don't write home studies. This cartoon shows what your worker looks like when you're done with your interviews and the pressure is on to get you approved as a resource family. 

This cartoon shows me, in all my crazy glory, working to finish a home study. 

You are welcome, my fellow SAFE home study writers! This cartoon was made by me... just for you.  Hang in there.
You're not alone in your insanity. :) 

 "Typing Away!" 
Cartoon by Regina Hodge.
Copyright 2013

"Coffee's the Key" Cartoon by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.
Sketch by Regina Hodge. Go ahead- take this one. Just please give me credit as the artist in any of the others! :)
"Tiny Dancer" Doodle by Regina Hodge.

"Fairytale" Drawing by Regina Hodge. Copyright.

"Guess the Disney Princess" Sketch by Regina Hodge. Copyright.

"Crazy Eye" Bird Sketch by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

"Dreamer" Sketch by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

"Weeping" Drawing by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

"She is Wise" Drawing by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

"Feminine Beauty" Sketch by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

"Vanity" Drawing by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013. 

I feel like this cartoon needs some explaining- because it's strange, right? Who draws a bathroom stall, anyway?, I do. 

Not all the time so no need to worry about me. This is the only bathroom drawing I've done and I don't expect any to follow. I just start drawing sometimes and whatever happens...happens. 

Most of the time when I sit down to draw, I don't even know what I'm going to draw. It isn't magic that a picture is created, but I think something does just take over me and my hand moves without much thought. 

I can explain this weird little stall sketch but not why I drew it, exactly. I don't know why I doodled this one day but I know what prompted it...

I had to transport three little kids across Tennessee for work. I stopped at a restaurant to get those bitties some lunch. (bitties are small children, in case you wondered.) Anyway, I took them to the bathroom. They had to go and I had to juggle three kids for a few hours that day. I will only have two children. It is decidedly so. Unless I grow an extra arm, that third kid will throw everything off in my day-to-day routines. Even something as simple as taking kids to a public restroom takes 30 minutes, otherwise. 

One of the kids with me liked wearing my sunglasses. It was the cutest thing in the world and the glasses covered up the kid's entire face. For whatever reason, the kid wore my sunglasses to the restroom. The child realized we'd forgotten the glasses only when I'd managed to round up the other bitties to take them outside and be on our way. I was instructed that we must go back to get them. My other pair of glasses would not suffice to replace the abandoned bathroom specs. I had a strong feeling that a tantrum would take place right there in the parking lot if I did not act quickly. 

I regretted that I only had two arms as we trekked back inside to retrieve the glasses that had fallen off the kid's head to land on a germ-filled floor, next to the commode. 

I disinfected the glasses as best I could while simultaneously monitoring the other two kids, who- thank God, were behaving rather well for me. 

I was a supermom that day. I was obviously not used to balancing the tasks that are necessary for three kids, but observing adults looked at me kindly as we journeyed back outside. I think most of them had been where I was and they could totally relate. 

Cleaned glasses back on the kid's face, we hit the road again. I was instructed by the kids to sing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Old McDonald Had A Farm".
..over...and...over...and...over...and...over again on the ride back home. 

So, I did. They liked it. I did for the first ten times I sang the same songs. The rest of the times I repeated their favorite tunes, I felt a little crazy. Their happiness and giggles were worth it.

So, all this being said explains why I ended up drawing a completely different type of cartoon that day! :) 

"Perspective" Sketch by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

"No Vacancy" Cartoon by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013.

I drew this one for my husband. He is about to begin his third year of pharmacy school. 

The hours that Mr. Hodge spends studying when he's in school makes my head spin... they make his head spin even more. 
I am aware that this cartoon has a bad word in it, Mom. 
It's art, though, so that kind of thing is acceptable. Probably not to my mother or to others who share her prohibition of bad language, but don't blame the artist. 

I draw not to offend. 

Besides, Mr. Hodge is the one who said what's drawn on the book he's holding in this cartoon. 

He was stressed out that day. He had several tests and when I asked him how his studying was going, he responded worriedly with, 
"I don't know. I just have so much (, stuff- yeah, stuff...that's what he said, Mom :)... to learn." 

I monitor my husband when he is in 'study-mode'. My observations have resulted in an ability to notice when Mr. Hodge needs to take a break from the books. A time-out from cramming for tests is needed when Mr. Hodge has but one sock on his feet. Neither of us can figure out why or when he removes the sock. It's one of the weird quirks about him that makes no sense. However, when Mr. Hodge is at the height of stressed-out-study-mode, one sock disappears from his feet. He doesn't notice when this happens. I don't know if one foot gets hot or if there is any logical explanation for why he doesn't ever notice when he does this. 

Anyway, I drew this cartoon when I noticed the one-sock sign that means my husband's brain is about to explode if he doesn't take a study break. I call this drawing, "No Vacancy". Mr. Hodge likes this cartoon and his praise for this drawing makes me want to doodle more of the awesome (sometimes weird-quirky) man in my life! :) 

"Mr. Hodge" Sketch by Regina Hodge. Copyright 2013. 

 Mr. Hodge likes my drawings. 
Do you? 

Does anyone how do I go about getting any cartoons or doodles published?

Advice will be appreciated and feedback is truly welcomed. 

Thanks for visiting!  
 ***All art featured in this blog post belongs to the artist, Regina Hodge.***
PLEASE NOTE: All drawings are copyrighted and all rights are the ownership of Regina Hodge. Permission should be obtained by individuals, corporations, publications, and all other entities, from Mrs. Hodge. Permission from Mrs. Hodge must be granted in written form from the artist, to authorize the re-posting, downloading, printing, publishing, or any other use of all works featured by the artist on this blog ( To request the rights for any form of publication, whether online or in print, Regina Hodge may be contacted via email at: Mrs. Hodge does not think she will be a famous cartoonist. She does not think she's that great at drawing and she is not conceited but, rather, is hopeful that people may wish to print her work. Mrs. Hodge understands that, by posting to a blog, her hours of doodles may be stolen. Mrs. Hodge just requests that you write her a quick email before you do that, okay? That's if you even like her cartoons in the first place. Mrs. Hodge may be adding all this fine print for no reason. Mrs. Hodge adds fine print anyway because she thinks it makes her look more official and professional. Mrs. Hodge sometimes uses third-person when she adds fine print because she doesn't really know what she should include in 'the fine print' since most people don't read it anyway. :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July Fourth Independence Day in Tennessee

My sister and I made it to our family's Fourth of July celebration in Lenoir City this year. Independence Day has always been a favorite for our family and my Aunt Tina's party planning is second to none for this particular occasion. She and David throw the best holiday parties for our family and the work that goes into making each one a success is tremendous. Thanks to them, I will never enjoy eating wings from a restaurant again. The food is always delicious but this year, they out-cooked themselves. Aunt Tina's cupcakes are better than the last ones she made, which were also delicious. They always are. The boys put on a fireworks show and they didn't have any neighborhood competition this year since we had our party earlier than the fourth. Not that there's ever anyone who bests us in the firework show department, mind you. Our patriotic contribution is made by a highly coordinated setting off of fireworks every year. Our show is always the best.

This year, The Fourth of July bore a sweet sadness that we all expected. Papa was not with us this year and we all thought of him as we made the best we could of the holiday he had enjoyed so much. About a month had passed since we lost Papa. The efforts of Aunt Tina and David to continue our family Fourth of July tradition were more necessary than ever this year. Our heavy hearts, our worries and cares, and our feelings of loss were eased by the continuance of our yearly family celebration of patriotism. We needed to celebrate the Fourth of July. We needed to laugh, to watch fireworks together, to talk of memories cherished and to slowly heal.

Aunt Tina and David,
Thank you for honoring this tradition this year.
Because of you, we found joy among our shared sorrow.
Because of you, we shared laughter and happiness.
Because of you, we honored the holiday that Papa loved so much.
Because of you, we kept the memories and celebrations alive.

For my family and for all who love Papa,
there is still hope.
There is still happiness.
There is still joy.
There are still beautiful memories to make.
There are still holidays to celebrate,
for Papa
for ourselves
and for his memory...

Thank you for sharing all these things with me on this Fourth of July.
Thank you for helping me heal.
I hope I can do the same now,
by capturing the moments we shared together.

I love you all.

These times we share are my favorite...

Little James.
Kaycie and Katie. To me, freedom is reflected by the excitement, joy, and carefree spirits found in these two little cousins of mine. Their giggles make us all smile and watching them have fun this year was simply wonderful!
The swimming pool is probably the safest place to watch our fireworks show. Should a rocket misfire, one need only dive beneath the surface to ensure safety. We don't have stray fireworks often, but even the best shows have potential for crazy mishaps. Of course, my cousins opted for the safest vantage point this year. Had I any sense at all, I would have joined them. :)
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air...
I snapped this photo of a candle torch against the flaming night sky.
David made these awesome torches that surround the swimming pool.
I'm totally going to copy his genius, crafty idea!
I love the angle of this shot-
Our firework show finale is unrivaled!
Kaycie and Katie sometimes put on rehearsed dance performances for our family. Both coordinated, talented little girls, these two entertained us by combining synchronized swimming with their performance.

My cousin Rachel and her dog, Britain. Pet portraits are tricky but I really love this one of them! 
Josh, James, and Layla. Layla jumped in the pool last year. She made several attempts this year but none were successful. Here, James looks worried she may take a plunge! :)

My sister, Tracie. My Fourth of July road trip buddy and fellow croquet-loser-friend. :)
My uncle David and Jessica's Josh. My Josh was upset that he had to work this year and miss out on our family's party. Here, the boys are formulating a strategy. Croquet is all about placement, aim, and alliances. This was my first time playing the game and I really enjoyed it!
I love this one of Rachel and Britain. Catching her in a candid moment, I snapped this picture after the dog licked her face and she giggled. Yeah, this one is super cute to me!
Meet the family! From left to right: Rachel, little James, big James, Jessica, me, Jessica's Josh (because we have 2 Josh's), Kaycie, and my sister Tracie. We played croquet and to everyone's dismay, Jessica won.

Here's the thing about Jessica...

Although she is beautiful, funny, smart, and fun,
she has a competitive quality that is well known among our family.

Now, we all like to win.
 Jessica lives to win.
 Winning is probably her favorite thing, apart from her husband and children.
"Winners have more fun," to quote my dear cousin.
She's right about that.

To understand this philosophy, one must assume that the opposite is also true:
Losers have no fun.
That part applies more to some than to others, as some are more graceful when defeated by an opponent.
Jessica exhibits no such grace or sportsmanship attributes, however, when she loses.
That is why it is best when she wins.
Jessica won when we played croquet this year.
How she won was a combination of natural skill and the meanness of a rattlesnake.

One should not allow one's croquet ball to land within inches of Jessica's...

for she capitalizes on this offense, making the most of her opportunities to send opponents in a ditch upon their next turn.
I say all these things not to offend dear, sweet, lovable Jessica.

I say them so that we all learn from our croquet mistakes.
As badly as we all tried to beat Jessica, it is best that we did not.

For our own safety, happiness, and well-being,

For monopoly boards everywhere,
I hope that Jessica always wins.

 (Note: Jessica is a sweet, kind, and giving person. She is also a great mother. I love her and hope she will not be angry with me for revealing her deep-rooted needs of winning at everything. I am a croquet loser, Jessica. There, I said it. I suck at croquet and you are the best at it. Now, we are even. :)
Even in the summer, bonfires are awesome.
Aunt Tina gets crafty with the kids and they make all kinds of awesome projects together. Kaycie and Kaitlyn made these patriotic candles as decorations for our party. Aren't they cute? :)
I got fixated on taking a picture of the wine bottle torch against the sky. Some turned out and some didn't but I like the end results, for the most part. Jessica's husband called me out on taking pictures for my blog on these shots. He was right- posting these was always my intention. I sometimes forget that my family reads my blog. Therefore, they know what I'm up to when they see me crouched in weird positions with my camera!

Sparkling Skies

Swimming Spectators
For My Family, in celebration of fun and freedom that is always found at our Fourth of July celebrations.