NOIS to showcase Outside the Lines creative duo
Denise Reynolds was a former journalist who became a corporate communications writer. Jenny Campbell was a onetime reporter who gave up newspapers to be a cartoonist. About six year ago, the two met through work at an animal welfare group, and a partnership was born.
Outside the Lines Creative Group aligns Reynolds’ writing and business savvy with Campbell’s skills at the drawing board to make workplace benefits packages more appealing. “We’re a cartoon communications company,” Campbell says.
The two will present at the Northern Ohio Illustrators Society’s fall speaker’s meeting Nov. 1 at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Campbell is best known for Flo & Friends, the syndicated comic strip dreamed up by Cleveland-born writer John Gibel in 2001. Campbell and Gibel collaborated until his death in 2005. Campbell has continued on her own, producing daily strips for about 35 newspapers.
“I’m an extremely lucky duck, because I get to do what I love every day,” Campbell says.
Reynolds was working for a company that created corporate benefits materials. She found that employees don’t pay attention if the information is dry. Reynolds had been looking for ways to make the materials more interesting. Cartoons might do it, she thought. Everyone loves cartoons. Then she met Campbell. “So,” Reynolds said. “You’re a cartoonist?”
Their first big client was Jergens Manufacturing, a multinational corporation that makes widgets and fasteners. Campbell turned some of their products into characters for comics panels that go to employees twice a month.
“Chip is a Kwik-Loc pin, and he’s the straight man, he makes sense. He knows the right thing to do. He saves his money and does what he’s supposed to do. Then there’s a flange named Scrap, who’s sort of a doofus, and he does everything he’s not supposed to do,” Campbell says. “The characters got so popular with the employees that we started hearing from people who wanted a female character.”
Other clients include Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Farrow, Libby Glass Company, and, their biggest, Akron Children’s Hospital.
As an artist, Campbell says she has learned that “when people tell you that you can’t make a living as an artist, it’s not true. You can.”
But it’s also true that hard work is required, she adds. “It takes a tremendous amount of perseverance. You have to be very stubborn. It’s a horrifying, terrifying thing that you have to walk out there and tell people how terrific you are. I don’t think that comes naturally to 99 percent of artists.”
Northern Ohio Illustrators Society present
Jenny Campbell and Denise Reynolds
7 PM Nov 1, 2016
Cleveland Institute of Art
11610 Euclid Ave.
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