Six-Year-Old Horse Thief (2001)

(G; Childhood Memoir) A personal story, from a time when there were no cellphones, no iPads and only one Starbucks. At six years old, I tried stealing a horse from the Catskill Game Farm.

Story Notes

dave with wacom and powerbook g3
Me working on "Six-Year-Old Horse Thief" at a Starbucks in 2001

You read that correctly: at six years old, I steal a horse from the Catskill Game Farm. In the background, it's a period story of growing up in a rough part Springfield Massachusetts in the late 1960s. My neighborhood wasn't as bad as other American ghettos, but things were noticeably worse than other parts of the city.

As an cartoonist, there were a lot of "firsts" in this story: my first attempt at drawing children, horses in action and first historical period piece. My recreation of 1968 is entirely subjective, combining researchable facts with personal — if somewhat imperfect and fading — memories. For instance, I can still remember my living room, but had to look up period details like the television and stereo.

After a 10-year layoff from drawing comics, this was my maiden voyage in a completely digital process. This was in 2001, when how-to demos were rare. Other stories done this way include "Shower-Powered", "Dead by the Pool", "Zip's Last Day", and "The Null Device.

Check out the 2012 full-color analog version of this story, and a side-by-side comparison of both versions. There's also a blog about my homespun digital art process, and an incomplete step-by-step demo of how the first page was built (a lot of the assets are gone).

David Marshall, sadly reporting that The Catskill Game Farm closed on Columbus Day 2006, ending its 73-year run. Its owners attributed the closing to mounting financial difficulties and dropping attendance.

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