4 Things I’ve Learned from My Boss, A Cartoon Character

My boss is a character.
No, not in the loud, gregarious “can’t-believe-he-just-said that!” way. He is a character…literally.
Meet “DAVE”.

“DAVE” is a nationally-syndicated comic strip created by Back40’s founder, Dave Miller. “DAVE” ran from 1992 to 1999 featured in over 160 newspapers world-wide, including the Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner. 

Dave and “DAVE” don’t have a lot in common anymore; the cartoon “DAVE” was a twenty-something “everyguy” for the 90’s, struggling to find his way in a world that seems to promise more than it can deliver, while Dave spends his days making decisions, attending meetings and owning/running a 13-year web design firm. I think that “DAVE” would be proud of what Dave has become.

I grew up reading the Sunday Funnies with my grandpa. I’ve become acquaintances with “Cathy”, “Dilbert”, even “Marmaduke”. But now I can say I’m friends with “DAVE.” He gets me. And both Daves have taught me a lot.

4 Things I’ve Learned Working with a Cartoon (or at least a Cartoonist):

1. Meeting notes are much better when drawn out.

Dave can communicate both verbally and visually. During a brainstorming meeting, it’s normal to glance over at Dave’s sheet of notes to find a small, cartoon version of him, perhaps with a light bulb over his head. Eureka! “Dave’s got an idea!”

2. Just because you’ve been a nationally syndicated cartoon doesn’t mean you have great handwriting.

Complexity of a popnt dissoned at this phase Fosnt schope my clergy. Got it.

3. Drawing is hard.

Dave makes it look so easy. Minutes after a meeting, Dave resurfaces from his office holding a perfectly drawn, exceptionally witty cartoon, humorously communicating the essence of a client meeting.

After seeing Dave produce these comics time and time again, I thought I would try to illustrate the daily struggles that I face as a recent college graduate. First, I knew (thanks to Cher) that all characters have a short, memorable name. Meet MAG.

As you can tell, my artistic aptitude never quite developed.  After settling on my fifth draft, I’m going to leave the drawing up to Dave.

4. Dave gets the business of design.

Not only was he a cartoonist, Dave worked as designer in ad agencies, the animation industry, toy industry, and in automotive design studios. That’s a lot of designing, and that experience directly relates to the success of Back40 Design. He hasn’t just assembled an expert web team, from designers to project managers to developers, but has a hand in each step of the process. If our senior graphic designer has a question over the layout and navigability of one of our custom designed sites, she and Dave can sit down together as designers and sketch it out together. When a client needs help marketing their company’s mission and services on the web, he can translate that vision into a reality.

See more of “DAVE” comic strips.

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