Heller, creator of the Mukluk cartoon, has a wide variety of
talents. These abilities range from playing a violin, which he
has been doing since he was about twelve years old, to teaching
drawing classes at Bucks County Community College.
"Creative Productions" is the name of Robin Heller's
business. This man draws the cartoon named "Mukluk and Honisukle"
which presents a humorous view of life in Alaska. But don't be
fooled, Mr. Heller also can also play the violin; in fact, he
goes to schools and performs on the violin for kids and also
teaches kids how to draw the characters Mukluk and Honisuckle.
When I asked Robin Heller about the profits of this business,
he said, " it's supposed to be a profit making business,
but sometimes it feels non-profit. I think that's the way it
is with free- lancing, you have some years where you make a lot
of money and people you know just look at you in awe when you
add up how much is that a year? In other years you make very
little. Just like the most popular comic strips - the least amount
of money cartoonists make will be from the newspapers."
Mr. Heller works in a studio that is located on the entire top
floor of his house, but his clientele is located as far away
as Fairbanks, Alaska .
The business itself is composed of only Mr. Heller. You might
think that this would be fun and that you could just do whatever
whenever you wanted to, but for him it does not work that way.
He keeps a schedule of what is happening that week and what will
be coming the following week. He keeps this schedule in three
places to make sure that he will see it at some point and remember
what he has going on. He is a very well organized person it seems.
Mr. Heller has had his cartoons published in book form. The process
for publication is not as long as you might expect. First he
draws the cartoons for the newspaper and then he selects the
strips to put in the book. The only original artwork needed to
do is for the cover. So he can put together a book within a weeks
effort. However, if you are talking about putting a book together
from scratch it may take months, and really it has taken months
if you add up all the time spent on it. His books are sold when
he goes to schools for the programs he does. In Alaska Robin
Heller's books can be found in the stores.
To get his comic strip in the newspapers he uses direct mail.
He sends around a package to let the editor sample the comic
strip and he also explains a little about his background. He
will also explain a little of what his comic strip is about since
you can't really tell by reading four or five strips. Lastly
he sends a response card to them and if they are interested in
knowing more then they can respond to him. Newspapers usually
like to get about six months worth of cartoons free for a test
period so they can decide whether they want to carry it or not.
Then, after several months of publishing the strip, the newspaper
decides whether they want to carry it or not.
Robin Heller's school presentations began after attending a presentation
by a folk singer at his children's school.; he went and saw the
program and thought that it looked like a lot of fun. Mr. Heller
started doing school programs with his fiddle. Soon a teacher
suggested that he do a program with his comic strip because that
would probably be a lot of fun for the kids. He continues to
do both types of presentations for schools.