"Snoopy's Christmas" is one of my favorite guilty pleasures (a close second to the Monkees, but that's a post for another day). The first time I remember hearing it was way back in the mid 60's when I was in elementary school... somewhere between first and fourth grade. It's message of peace is shared by so many other Christmas songs, but it's jangly Rickenbacker-ish (for all you guitar nerds out there) 60's garage rock vibe is what makes it so enjoyable.
Performed by The Royal Guardsmen in 1967, a six-piece from Ocala,Florida, and signed to Laurie Records. Almost 50 years later, "Snoopy's Christmas" enjoys oldies Christmas Rock status. A followup to the Royal Guardsmen's earlier "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron", the song is about how Snoopy had fought the Red Baron in an ariel battle on Christmas Eve during World War 1, and is forced to land behind enemy lines. Instead of disposing of our hero, the Red Baron offers Snoopy a holiday toast instead, and salutes Snoopy with a "Merry Christmas my friend !"
The song is based on a legitimate historical event. In 1914, "The Christmas Truce" was initiated by German soldiers as a good will gesture to the English troops that they were fighting with in opposing trenches. the truce varied in length in close by different locations, some as brief as Christmas Day and some as long as the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Small accessable gifts were exchanged across the lines, between the opposing sides. " - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snoopy's_Christmas & http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=4085
I'm digging into my archive of designs for this edition. The rapidly approaching Christmas season is having me scramble on many fronts, as I'm sure it is for all of you, so I'll keep this edition brief. I'm posting one of my personal favorite original designs, which was actually inspired by a classic rock song. This particular holiday season, the song's essential message seems especially appropriate as well. I hope you enjoy...
Recorded in 1971 for his Teaser and the Firecat album, Peace Train would become one of Cat Steven's ( aka Yusuf Islam), most popular songs. One of numerous "protest" songs during that era, Peace Train offers a vision of hope and promise, for a time of war and uncertainty. It's only call to action is to believe in, and pursue peace. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an end of times when that vision isn't needed. Despite whatever side of the fence your beliefs and situation find you, perhaps you can find hope in the song's lyrics "For out on the edge of darkness, There runs the peace train"
Peace Train would reach #7 on the Billboard charts during the week of October 9, 1971, becoming Stevens' first US Top 10 hit. -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Train
THE DESIGN: This was done completely in Adobe Illustrator over a period of several months. I can't remember the exact details, but I think it started just as a random sketch, and it grew over time, working on it here and there as I had time. The train imagery came first... I think at the time I was focusing on creating art that would be appropriate for really young children. The design has a very obvious Peter Max influence, which is on purpose. I love Peter Max's style and I just let that happen. Oddly, I added the Peace symbol to the train while in Peter Max mode, and the Peace Train connection just hit me. It was a Homer Simpson moment.... DOH !
As always, I hope you like it, and if you know any fans of good music and fun art inspired by said good music, please share this with them. I'm going to try and squeeze one more edition out before Christmas, a special Christmas edition, featuring one of my all time favorite "rock" Christmas songs... it's vintage, it's classic (in my eyes), and I'll bet you'll never guess what it is, but I guarantee it'll bring a smile to your face.
In closing, let me leave you with a video of the man himself performing Peace Train at his induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, in 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HExjPn547Z0
The Martytoon Newsletter
The Thoughts, Designs & Process of Marty Qatani aka MartyToons.
Hi and welcome to the first blog post / newsletter of the all new revamped MartyToons website. Where to start ? I suppose a quick intro is in order for those of you who may be unfamiliar with me and what I do. I'm a cartoonist / character designer/ humorous illustrator. That sounds like a lengthy title, but none of those by themselves seems appropriate enough by themselves to describe what I do.
If I call myself a cartoonist, people tend to think I create a comic strip.... not true. If I call myself just a character designer, it seems a little limiting to me. I like to think I do a little bit more... make people think... wake people up, help someone remember a happy thought.... maybe even put a smile on people's faces.... hopefully. Calling myself just a humorous illustrator, just doesn't seem to have any "punch", "pizzazz", "sparkle"... you get the picture. I do like the sound of "Creator of Visual Enhancements for Artistically Challenged and Cartooning Impaired." It has a pretty cool ring to me, but it's a little hard to fit on a business card and still look cool.
What can you expect here ? How's a little doodle sound ? A little peek into what goes on in my working process and maybe even in my thought process ? That's my plan... I hope you enjoy. So let me dig into my archive, maybe shed a little light on happened and then invite you to comment. Sounds good ? Good... then lets get to it.
This is an early sketch of one of my favorite designs I'm working on. It's inspired by one of my favorite music artists, Cat Stevens, who know goes by the name of Yusuf Islam https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens . Check him out if you get the chance and are a fan of 70's "Soft" Rock, and especially if you're a fan of songs about being positive, hopefullness, and becoming a little wiser.
Music is playing more and more a part in my designs. I love many styles of music and I always have it playing in my studio while I'm creating. Alot of times I let the music direct what I'm going to sketch when I intentionally sit down to sketch, sometimes I'm not planning on sketching at all, but I hear a song and an image will just pop into my head, and I have to get it down on paper. I believe that's what happened here, but to be honest, I came up with this sketch several years ago, and I can't remember the exact circumstances that gave birth to this.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy it. Got any questions ? Feel free to comment below.