Ken Fallin, Broadway Artist-Episode #249

Jun 20, 2023 | 0 comments

Ken Fallin began his career creating witty pen and ink caricatures for the long-running satirical revue, “Forbidden Broadway”.  Intended as an homage to the legendary theatrical caricaturist, Al Hirschfeld, this concept was so successful that Ken continued to design artwork for the show’s phenomenal thirty-year run.

Ken’s instantly recognizable, intricately detailed pen and ink celebrity portraits have been published internationally by such diverse and distinguished publications as The Wall Street Journal, InStyle Magazine, The New Yorker, The Hollywood Reporter, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Politico, and Barron’s.

Ken has produced stylish and eye-catching art for major ad campaigns, posters and specially commissioned corporate gifts for HBO, Showtime, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Opera Company, American Express, CBS News, Walt Disney Productions, and Microsoft.

A TV commercial that animated Ken’s drawings for CNBC’s “Squawk Box” was nominated for an EMMY Award. Several original Ken Fallin posters are in the permanent poster collection of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. A number of his original pen and ink drawings now hang in the venerable Players Club.

As a regular contributor to Playbill.com and BroadwayWorld.com, Ken has chronicled the New York Theatre scene for over ten years.

Private collectors of Ken’s work include: Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Darren Criss, Matthew Broderick, Bradley Cooper, Sarah Paulson, Frank Langella, Sir Patrick Stewart, Warren Buffett, and Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

Ken Fallin Websites:

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Read the Ken Fallin Podcast Transcript

Steve Cuden: On today’s Story Beat…

Ken Fallin: I came across Forbidden Broadway. Like a fluky thing, I saw an article in Time Magazine about the production, and I had an idea that I wanted to share with them. My idea was that the actors would be on stage and suddenly they’d start discovering ninas all over their body and they didn’t know what to do. I thought it was a brilliant idea. So I sent it to the man that wrote the show, Gerard Alessandrini. He wrote me back but did not mention my idea. Oh, I sent him some samples of my work along with the letter and to show him that I could maybe help with the costumes if they needed somebody that could draw like Hirschfeld. So he wrote me back, invited me to come see the show, did not mention my idea, and said, we’re redoing our ad campaign, and we want you to do the poster.

Narrator: This is Story Beat with Steve Cuden, a podcast for the creative mind. Story Beat explores how masters of creativity develop and produce brilliant works that people everywhere love and admire. So join us as we discover how talented creators find success in the worlds of imagination and entertainment. Here now is your host, Steve Cuden.

Steve Cuden: Thanks for joining us on Story Beat. We’re coming to you from the Steel City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My guest today, Ken Fallin, began his career creating witty pen and ink caricatures for the long running satirical review Forbidden Broadway intended as an homage to the legendary theatrical Caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. This concept was so successful that Ken continued to design artwork for the show’s phenomenal 30-year run. Ken’s instantly recognizable intricately detailed pen and ink celebrity portraits have been published internationally by such diverse and distinguished publications as the Wall Street Journal, In Style Magazine, the New Yorker, the Hollywood Reporter, LA Times, Washington Post, Politico and Barons. Ken has produced stylish and eye-catching art for major ad campaigns, posters, and specially commissioned corporate gifts for HBO, Showtime, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera Company, American Express, CBS News, Walt Disney Productions, and Microsoft.

A TV commercial that animated Ken’s drawings for CNBC Squawk Box was nominated for an Emmy award. Several original Ken Fallin posters are in the permanent poster collection of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. A number of his original pen and ink drawings now hang in the venerable Players Club. As a regular contributor to playbill.com and broadwayworld.com, Ken has chronicled the New York theater scene for over 10 years. Private collectors of Ken’s work include Barbara Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Darren Chris, Matthew Broderick, Bradley Cooper, Sarah Paulson, Frank Langella, Sir Patrick Stewart, Warren Buffet, and Sir Cameron Macintosh. For me, this is an exceptionally great joy to welcome to Story Beat an artist I’ve long admired, the spectacularly talented Ken Fallin. Ken, thanks so much for joining me on the show.

Ken Fallin: Thank you. It’s very nice to be here.

Steve Cuden: So let’s go back in your history a little bit. When did you first start to draw? How old were you?

Ken Fallin: I’ve always drawn. I can’t even remember a time that I didn’t draw because I loved the Sunday comics and I used to copy them and watched cartoons on TV, and I just found that I could copy all these different styles and so forth.

Steve Cuden: As a cartoon style?

Ken Fallin: A cartoon style. It was just something I did like some boys played baseball and I could draw, and I didn’t even think about it that much. I would just do it, and everybody knew that I did. So if they needed a drawing or something, they’d come to me, and I would just do them. I enjoyed it. I never thought of it as a career. It just never crossed my mind. I wanted to be in the theater. I wanted to be an actor. So that just wasn’t in the program.

Steve Cuden: Do you feel like you act through your drawings?

Ken Fallin: In a way. In a way, I’m very lucky because I am associated with the Broadway theater now.

Steve Cuden: Indeed.

Ken Fallin: I get to see just about every show. A lot of people know me. A lot of creative people know me. It’s a nice feeling to go in as an illustrator as opposed to an unknown actor because they know me and it’s very nice.

Steve Cuden: You treat people respectfully. You don’t make fun of them or mock them. You give them some kind of an edge or some kind of difference, for you are a caricaturist.

Ken Fallin: Right. I’m not a cruel caricaturist. There are artists that do that, and I actually admire them, but they’re very mean and that’s their angle. All I really try to do is to capture the essence of the person in line and shapes and somehow, I can pull it off. I’m not always sure how I do it, but I sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper, and I just start. I just start. I can start with an eye, a nose, the forehead, and I keep working it and within probably five minutes it starts to look like the person in my style.

Steve Cuden: Are you looking for some form of odd characteristic in order to latch onto?

Ken Fallin: I’m looking for a characteristic. It doesn’t have to be odd. It doesn’t even have to be extreme. Some people have piercing eyes, flaring nostrils, that type of the way their mouth settles when they’re just posing. I usually go for one of those. If I can usually get the eyes right off the bat, it’s going to be an easy trip for me drawing.

Steve Cuden: Alright. So there’s a big difference. I spent years and years writing animation, so I’ve dealt with lots of artists over time. There’s a big difference between drawing cartoon characters and drawing the caricature of a real living person.

Ken Fallin: This is true.

Steve Cuden: When did you think to yourself, I’m actually really good at drawing caricatures of people?

Ken Fallin: Well, I would say in junior high school I discovered Mad Magazine. They had some really good artists in that magazine and good caricaturists. Again, I was sort of copying the style. Also there was an issue of Life Magazine that came out around the same time and there was an article on Hirschfeld. In the article they showed four caricatures that he drew. I did not know any of the people that he was drawing, but I was fascinated by the style. For one thing, I think there was a, a drawing of Helen Hayes and it looked like somebody I knew. Gee, I’m going to just try this. I started doing that. I started drawing people that I knew. Some of them did not appreciate it, but it was like a hobby. It was just fascinating.

Steve Cuden: So you have no formal training in doing this?

Ken Fallin: For caricature? No. I’ve gone to art school. I did not graduate and then I took some special courses at Parsons. I studied cartooning. There was a period that I thought I might be a cartoonist and I also studied LP covers and book covers. That’s how old I am and how to do it and then move on.

Steve Cuden: You and me both.

Ken Fallin: Right.

Steve Cuden: I know you’ve designed caricatures and covers for CDs and albums and stuff like that, right?

Ken Fallin: Yes. Yes, I have.

Steve Cuden: So what did you do once you realized that you were good at being a caricaturist? Was there something that you then did to try and become a professional at it? Or did it come your way somehow?

Ken Fallin: Well, I put an ad in one of the trade papers in New York to make money. I thought I would do caricatures and I was charging $35 a drawing. I didn’t make a fortune, but I was getting work. Then one summer I was doing summer stock in Connecticut, and they paid very little and I started drawing all the actors in the company and charging them $5. It was because they didn’t have any money, but it was sort of a sideline. Again, that’s all it was to me. It was just something to make money. I continued doing that until I came across Forbidden Broadway. Like a fluky thing, I saw an article in Time Magazine about the production and I had an idea that I wanted to share with them.

My idea was that the actors would be on stage and suddenly they’d start discovering ninas all over their body and they didn’t know what to do. I thought it was a brilliant idea. So I sent it to the man that wrote the show, Gerard Alessandrini, and he wrote me back, but did not mention my idea. Oh, I sent him some samples of my work along with the letter to show him that I could maybe help with the costumes if they needed somebody that could draw like Hirschfeld. So he wrote me back, invited me to come see the show, did not mention my idea and said, we’re redoing our ad campaign, and we want you to do the poster. That’s how it started.

Steve Cuden: For those who don’t know, because there may be listeners that don’t know who Al Hirschfeld was. Let’s be sure we lauded him because he was absolutely spectacular. Al Hirschfeld was known as the Line King. L-I-N-E. Line King. He was the great Broadway caricaturist for I don’t know how many years, 70 years or something like that.

Ken Fallin: Close to 80 years.

Steve Cuden: Yeah. That’s incredible. So you were already an admirer of his from seeing an article on him?

Ken Fallin: Oh yes. Oh yes. I actually saw my first original Hirschfeld at the New York Public Library for the Arts. They had a big exhibit. That was around the first time I came to New York, and I’d never seen an original. I was mesmerized by this. Then the Margo Feiden, which was on East 10th Street at the time, I used to go in there about once a month and spend an hour or two just looking at the drawings. They never bothered me. They knew I wasn’t going to buy anything, but they knew I wasn’t going to steal anything. At that time they didn’t even have them in plastic sleeves. They were just the actual drawing board.

Steve Cuden: Oh wow.

Ken Fallin: Humming through and it’s like, they’re right there in my face.

Steve Cuden: With the white out on it and everything.

Ken Fallin: Oh yes. Oh yes. Everything. That’s what he did. If he made a mistake, he painted over it with white paint. Much later he learned the trick that we all use now, mostly is a razor blade and we scrape the ink off. It leaves a little bit of a scar, but it doesn’t pick up in the reproduction.

Steve Cuden: You brought up Ninas. For those who don’t know Hirschfeld was famous for incorporating his daughter Nina’s name into the drawings where they were sometimes hidden in a way you couldn’t find them. But most of the time you could find them by looking hard.

Ken Fallin: Right. He did that when his daughter was born. He just wanted to announce to his friends into the world. He put a little Nina in a circus poster. It was about a circus. The musical was. Up in the corner it said, Nina the Wonder Baby and that’s what started it. He always says that it was just insane because he had to do it forever. He had to always put that in. It was very clever though, actually, because people would study the drawings while they were trying to find the Ninas.

Steve Cuden: Sure. It drew people in just to look for the Ninas.

Ken Fallin: Right.

Steve Cuden: I’ve been following you for some time on Facebook and I know from looking at what you say on Facebook that you have an incredible sense of humor and a great wit.

Ken Fallin: Thank you.

Steve Cuden: I think that comes through in many, if not most of your drawings. So I’m wondering where did that come from? Have you always been a funny person?

Ken Fallin: My mother’s side of the family. She’s from a huge family. Twelve children and every one of her brothers and sisters were naturally funny. They were just natural funny people without even trying. They’d say things and everybody else would be laughing. It was wonderful. My mother was that way. I think that’s where I got it really.

Steve Cuden: So that then when you finally get attached to Gerard Alessandrini and Forbidden Broadway, that is something that’s clearly humorous and is intentionally designed to be mocking of, somewhat, of Broadway. So I assume that that made it a little easier for you to incorporate a sense of humor into the drawings.

Ken Fallin: Oh yes. That’s what they wanted for the Forbidden Broadway. It was supposed to look all, be happy and fun because that’s what would sell the show. So sometimes they let me put a frown on a face if it was somebody that would never be smiling anyway. You wouldn’t recognize the drawing if they were smiling. But yes. It was a lot of fun. Gerard was very particular, and he would come in and change certain things, but I was just starting out. I couldn’t even be annoyed. I was so excited to be working on these that I was happy to make whatever changes they wanted.

Steve Cuden: Well, obviously he liked what you were doing because you weren’t drawing straight unhumorous pictures. You were making the show seem to come to life.

Ken Fallin: Well, that’s a nice way of putting it. Yes.

Steve Cuden: Well, I think that’s exactly what it is, is that you’re giving a life to the life of the show in something that’s inanimate. A drawing. So where do you get your best ideas? Is this just from having subjects or do you think about someone that you want to draw because you have a concept about them?

Ken Fallin: Sometimes that happens, but I do enough work that I really don’t have the energy or the time to just draw on my own. I always say the meter is running the minute I put the pen down. That’s only because it became my income. I start with a photograph. I work from photographs. I do a lot of work for the Wall Street Journal. I’ve been with them since 1994. In the beginning they used to send an errand boy with photos that they pulled from—there was a photo library. I would do a drawing and I would fax the sketch over to them and then they would make changes if they wanted to. Then I would do the finished drawing and they would send another errand person to pick up the drawing and deliver it to the Wall Street Journal.

Then the original was returned to me two days later by mail. But it all changed with the computer. The art editor told me. They said you’re going to have to learn how to draw on the computer because we’re going to be set up. That’s all we’re going to use is electronic art. I thought, I got to go back to art school. No way. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Fortunately, the scanner came into being. An affordable scanner and that changed everything because I could. I started getting work all over the world. I did drawings for the Wall Street Journal in Asia, and I did work in Europe. I could just send them a scan and it was instant. That was the other thing. The time that it took to get to them. So I have mixed feelings about that because the internet also killed print publications.

Steve Cuden: It did indeed.

Ken Fallin: Great deal. There are very few places that use illustrators anymore. Now, I guess you’ve heard about that computer that can draw. They have a program that draws.

Steve Cuden: AI.

Ken Fallin: They don’t have to pay for that. So I’m sure that that’s going to take over. Fortunately, I’m sort of at the end of my career. I enjoyed the wonderful years of all of it. I call myself a dinosaur because I was back, I was with the Boston Herald for a while, and I would have to go into their office. They had a morgue. They called it the photo morgue. You’d go in. It was this big warehouse of a room with all these battered file cabinets. I’d have to pull photos of the people that I was going to be drawing, go back home, do a pencil, bring it back for the editor just to look at to approve, go back home, ink it. Then I had to deliver it. So it was back and forth and back and forth. I didn’t know any better. So it was fun to me. It was just a fun thing to do.

Steve Cuden: Now you don’t have to leave the house.

Ken Fallin: Don’t have to leave the house and never has to leave the house. I never have to worry about things being misplaced or damaged.

Steve Cuden: So you are saying that when you go to see a show and you’ve been either commissioned or whether you’re doing it on your own and you’re doing drawings based on an existing Broadway show or characters in it. Hirschfeld famously used to do little sketches in the dark where he wasn’t even looking at the paper. He was making sketches just by staring at the stage and sketching on paper. You don’t do that. Right. You look for photos.

Ken Fallin: No, if I tried to do that, it wouldn’t look like anything. But he had a visual shorthand. I’ve actually seen several of his sketchbooks at Harvard. They have a collection of original Hirschfelds and including his sketchbooks and the little pads that he used to draw in his pocket. It’s really hard to tell what any of it is, but it made sense to him. It was a show that he used. Then he also used photographs. He would go see the show and then they would give him the same thing that I get. Production photographs and draw from that.

Steve Cuden: So I think of the most challenging storytelling, really. If you’re going to write a novel, you may spend years writing a novel. That’s hard to do. But I think the most challenging thing to do as a writer is to write a really great short story. What you are doing is you are telling a story in the shortest form possible. A single panel.

Ken Fallin: Right.

Steve Cuden: Do you think of yourself as a storyteller?

Ken Fallin: I guess in a way, but the story’s already there. I guess I’m just sort of showing my version of it with the drawing.

Steve Cuden: You’re making a caricature of the existing story.

Ken Fallin: Correct.

Steve Cuden: Which is the character or characters in a show.

Ken Fallin: Right. I’m drawing the characters of the show.

Steve Cuden: How many drawings do you think you do in a year?

Ken Fallin: Well I do at least two drawings a week. So if you multiply that by, what is it?

Steve Cuden: A hundred plus.

Ken Fallin: Sometimes more. Some commissions that I get, mostly corporate or private commissions. I’m working on a drawing now of the movie Dr. Strangelove. I’m doing this for a person who’s a big fan of Dr. Strangelove. I’m drawing most of the characters in there with the bomb and the whole thing. That’s a lot of fun. But all those drawings. It’s a lot of drawings.

Steve Cuden: I would think it would be a lot of drawings. There’s a lot of characters in that movie.

Ken Fallin: Yes. He just wanted the main ones. But it’s fun. Like I was telling you earlier about pricing, I get some drawings that have a lot of detail and then sometimes a single person. Just a drawing like that. But I’m sure that it’s over a hundred and something drawings a year.

Steve Cuden: Do you think over time that you have gotten better at it? That your facility for it has become better and better over time?

Ken Fallin: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s the practice thing. Even learning new techniques sometimes accidentally. But yes, I definitely feel. I did an exhibit about 10 years ago in New York, and they wanted to use some of my drawings from the Boston era. I was a little ashamed of them. But people were admiring them. The nice thing about the art editor at Boston was that they let me try anything. That’s where I really grew as an artist because I knew I could try anything.

Steve Cuden: Well, Ken, everybody’s got to start somewhere.

Ken Fallin: That’s true. But yes, to answer. Absolutely. I feel I’m better this year than I was last year.

Steve Cuden: All right. So let’s talk about your actual physical process. How methodical are you? Does every drawing begin to take shape in the same way? Or do you do each drawing as a unique experience?

Ken Fallin: Basically the same. For the drawings that I do for the theater, I actually just take a piece of scrap paper and do circles for heads to place them to know where they’re going to be placed. Then I use illustration board and I do a pencil drawing of the whole thing. Once I’m happy with that, I ink it. I go over with a quill pen, the one you dip in the ink.

Steve Cuden: Really?

Ken Fallin: Hirschfeld did. But I started doing it. I can’t not do it that way because I’ve tried mechanical pens. I’ve even tried drawing on the computer. It’s just not the same.

Steve Cuden: What is it about the quill pen that makes it so wonderful?

Ken Fallin: It’s actually very easy to control it. Once you learn how to do it and you feel it. You stick the thing in and it’s a very sharp pin and you’re scraping it across the board. You feel the drawing. Whatever textures or whatever you’re doing, you’re touching it, you’re feeling it. That means a lot to me. I really enjoy that.

Steve Cuden: So how much roughing in do you do prior to inking?

Ken Fallin: It varies, but I do the finished drawing in pencil. Stanley, my husband has said to me, I think some of your pencils are better than the ink because it’s spontaneous and everything. But I do it all. I mean, if there’s a pattern or anything, I have to do that in pencil first to see how it’s going to balance that.

Steve Cuden: Do you then look at things and make changes and erase? Do you actually use an eraser? What do you do?

Ken Fallin: Oh, yes. Yes. I have two different types. I have the gum eraser, the one that you stretch and pull. It’s like puddy. I use that. Then I have a very strong white eraser that really does a good job. I wait until the ink is dry and then I get rid of all of the pencil marks and still don’t get all of them. Sometimes by the work, they actually like that if they see there’s a pencil.

Steve Cuden: Like Stanley, I am a big fan of drawings that are loose and sort of look like they’re rough. I like those too, as well as I like finished pieces as well. So I understand his thought process on that. Maybe someday you’ll do a show where it’s just your roughs?

Ken Fallin: Yes. Oh boy. I have to tell you a quick story.

Steve Cuden: Sure.

Ken Fallin: When I was doing the cartoons, is about 40 years ago, I was hired by this man who owned a publishing company, but he was retired, and he lived in a penthouse in the village, and he was assembling a joke book, and he was looking for somebody to illustrate this book. So I went there. A whole bunch of artists, we went down, and he chose me, and I did all of these drawings, but I would do roughs and mail them to him. So when the book came out, he published the roughs and not the finished drawings. I think that was an accident. I don’t think it was on purpose.

Steve Cuden: So your medium is paper and ink. Pencil, paper, and ink. Correct?

Ken Fallin: Correct.

Steve Cuden: Do you work in other mediums as well? You say you work on the computer a little bit. What do you do on the computer?

Ken Fallin: I don’t know how long ago. The Wall Street Journal was always black and white. Then when Murdoch bought it, they decided to go color. That was not my strong suit, but I figured, I’m going to do it anyway. So I did. I had fun. I was using a watercolor wash-colored pencils and I really enjoyed it. But it took a lot of time. A friend of mine that works at Disney said, well, you’ve got to get Photoshop. I thought, eh. Again, a mechanical thing. It’s because I like having the original. So there will be no color original because you do it on Photoshop and then it comes out in the scan and so forth. But it saves so much time and you don’t spill anything or mess it up. You can correct everything, and you’ve got this drawing. So I am a Photoshop devotee now.

Steve Cuden: I am too. I love Photoshop. It is different than actually putting some form of paint or ink to a paper. But at the same time it is a lot. Doesn’t have a smell to it. It’s nice and neat and clean. That’s what I like about it. Do you do other kinds of art in your life as well? Do you ever paint just for giggles and grins or not?

Ken Fallin: No. The last time I did that, I was an art school, and it was fun, but it just wasn’t me. No. If I were younger and had more energy, I guess I would be doing more drawings just for myself. During Covid I did about 20 drawings just like that. Just people that I admired, artists and so forth. Not art of characters and movies. But then I’m planning to put those in an exhibit because it’s very hard for me to do something and just put it away somewhere and not share it.

Steve Cuden: Those were just for you. They weren’t for hire.

Ken Fallin: Right. I just did them. Something to do during Covid and I did some really nice drawings. I’m hoping to have an exhibit in the summer at the same place where my work is now at New World Stages. They have a gigantic lobby. Twelve years ago they gave me a show and they had a gallery. After my show, they decided to get rid of the gallery and they asked me if I wanted a permanent exhibit. So what I’ve done over the years, that was like 12 years ago, is I replaced certain things. So it’s constantly changing. But that’s my permanent exhibit and I’ve sold a lot of work from there. It’s been good.

Steve Cuden: Well, that is good. One of the hallmarks I note about your work is that it has emotion to it. It’s not plain. It has some form of feeling in it. Do you seek that out? Is that something you think about?

Ken Fallin: Not really. I think I’m just looking at the photograph. If the person has a certain expression, I try to put that into the drawing. I enjoy drawing frowning people more than smiling people. But that doesn’t always work in certain particular drawings. So I have to do the smile. Because when you frown your face just takes on a whole other dimension.

Steve Cuden: Do you ever get complaints from anyone because you’ve drawn them frowning or in some way they don’t like?

Ken Fallin: Well, I’ve had complaints. It’s usually, it doesn’t look like me. But I sell a lot of my Wall Street Journal drawings because I do CEOs and all these businesspeople and so forth. I’ve had people actually buy the original and they say, well, it doesn’t look like me, but it was in the Wall Street Journal. But that doesn’t happen very often.

Steve Cuden: I’m truly curious about this. Do you own your own work? Do you own your own copyright?

Ken Fallin: Yes. I forget the graphic artist guild went after the publications and said, this cannot be a work for hire situation because you’re taking the work, and you can use it over and over and over again. Mad Magazine is one of the worst actually. They took such advantage of their artist. The artist wanted to work for them. They made these laws now. These rules. The artist owns the work. After one reproduction. Say it runs in the Wall Street Journal once, they have to pay me if they run it again, or if somebody wants to buy the article and print it like a company magazine. They have to call me and pay me something. So that’s why I am not starving.

Steve Cuden: Well I would say you’re also prolific, so that would help you not starve if you’re selling it.

Ken Fallin: So yes. Yes. I have ten fingers.

Steve Cuden: So about how long does it typically take you to complete a drawing from concept to completion?

Ken Fallin: Well, when I started with the Journal, they had a thing where they would contact you by 11 in the morning and they wanted to finish drawing by five o’clock the latest that day. Wow. I learned to draw very quickly and to ink quick. It was exciting because that clock is ticking and under pressure. I work very well under pressure and deadlines. If you don’t give me a deadline, I get very lazy and I keep putting the project over. But now, the Wall Street Journal contacts me on Tuesday, and they don’t need the finish drawing till Friday. So that’s really changed a lot. But I try to finish it as quickly as I can.

Steve Cuden: You don’t then wait till the last minute to give you that pressure. You actually try to get out in front of it. Right?

Ken Fallin: I sleep better when I know that I’ve finished it because they have to approve it. Not only is it getting it, but you have to show them the pencil and they have to like it. But fortunately I’ve been there so long, and the art editors know my work. So if there’s any change, it’s usually in a prop or something, or a background thing. I say 95%, the drawing of the face gets approved right away. They almost know what it’s going to look like before I send it to them.

Steve Cuden: What are the biggest challenges in your world? Is it conceiving of the picture? Is it the selling of the picture? Is it the actual physical drawing? What would you say are the biggest things that you deal with on a regular basis, your challenges you must overcome regularly?

Ken Fallin: Well, I’ll tell you a secret. I am nervous with every drawing in the beginning because like I told you earlier, I’m not really sure how I pull it off. So I put it on paper and I’m thinking, because I know what the person looks like from the photograph. But I show it to Stanley or to my dog, Alfie. If they say, oh yeah, that’s good, that’s good. So that’s actually the biggest thing, is worrying that it’s going to be good and accepted. It’s always that way. It’s been that way. I had a gigantic ad campaign in 1994 for American Express, and it was more money than I could even dream about. All of my drawings had to be approved by the art directors, by the advertiser of American Express, and the person that I was drawing. So I just went in. Because it was so much money, I thought, I don’t care. I’m going to do this. It got to the point that I wasn’t really that nervous when I started doing those drawings.

Steve Cuden: How does Alfie approve or disapprove?

Ken Fallin: Well, he loves me so much. He always gives me an approval to admit that. He just licks me or whatever. He’s actually right here, right now. He always licks me. My drawing table has a bed next to it. So he is there.

Steve Cuden: You now have a picture in front of you of a character or a subject. I already asked you once, are you looking for some discernible thing? But are you trying to capture an essence of that person? You’re not making a photo realistic drawing of that person? It’s a caricature.

Ken Fallin: I’ve tried to do that sometimes out of frustration and I’m not getting it as a caricature. I’ll start trying to draw it as a realistic drawing and it always ends up as a caricature. It’s like a trick thing. Brain it, and then it works out that way.

Steve Cuden: When you are drawing, do you think about the audience or are you only looking to please yourself at first?

Ken Fallin: I think I’m only doing it to please myself.

Steve Cuden: So you’re not worried about the audience or how they’re going to react. I know you want them to be happy with it and to approve.

Ken Fallin: Right.

Steve Cuden: But you’re not thinking about, oh, this audience wants this kind of a drawing. Or do you think about that? Does American Express want one sort of thing versus HBO wants a different sort of thing?

Ken Fallin: Well, not really because they’re hiring me for the style. Most illustrators now just do one style, because it’s much easier to get work that way. So they know that they want it in that style.

Steve Cuden: That’s also you obviously, because when I see your work, I know it’s your work.

Ken Fallin: Oh, thank you.

Steve Cuden: It’s distinctive. Well, it is. I don’t think that that’s a strange thing to say in your case. It is absolutely. It’s your work. Just like when I see a Hirschfeld, I know it’s a Hirschfeld. When I see Picasso usually, I know it’s a Picasso. It’s that sort of thing. You have a distinctive style. Did you develop that style? Did you think about your voice as you did this over time? Or is it just always been there?

Ken Fallin: Well, basically it was there, and I always drew in that Hirschfeld style. When I did the Forbidden Broadway work, that’s when I started getting commercial art or commissions from design studios and advertising agencies. It was developed. I try to now for many years not to have it look like Hirschfeld. Just more my own. His widow, who’s actually a friend of mine has said that I’ve succeeded. That I’ve made the drawings my own.

Steve Cuden: I think she’s absolutely right.

Ken Fallin: Thank you.

Steve Cuden: I think they’re a hundred percent you. Like I say, when I see your work float across Facebook and other places. I see it on playbill.com and so on. When I see it float across, I say, oh, that’s a Ken Fallin drawing. I know it instantly. It doesn’t require any real deep thought to determine who drew it. What would you say is the easiest assignment you’ve ever had that just came to you in a flash and you were done so quickly?

Ken Fallin: Carol Channing.

Steve Cuden: Carol Channing,

Ken Fallin: Well, for Forbidden Broadway. Her character was not in the original production. Her husband actually went to Gerard and said, you should put Carol in. I did these drawings of her, and she loved them. As a matter of fact, she came to Boston when I was living there, and I was invited to go backstage before the show and meet her. She was great and she was so complimentary and really studied the drawings. I always loved her. But drawing her was so easy because of her features. I watched her put on her lipstick and she just took her hand and smeared it across her face. That was it. It was like a caricature really.

Steve Cuden: She actually put her lipstick on by smearing it across her face.

Ken Fallin: Yeah. Two fingers. She just went top and bottom and she kind of neat it up a little bit. It was amazing. Done it a thousand million times.

Steve Cuden: Maybe a dozen times a day sometimes.

Ken Fallin: Right. Caricatures. There are not that many left, but there are people that are caricatures.

Steve Cuden: I think of them as Muppets.

Ken Fallin: Really? The people in the world.

Steve Cuden: Well, I think there are certain people in the world that are living caricatures. They’re living. They kind of have a Muppet like look to them. They bop around in the world a little bit like puppets. Those people do exist. Especially in the theater where people are producers, I think, are always looking for someone who is distinct in the way they look.

Ken Fallin: Yes, I think so.

Steve Cuden: Unless they’re in the chorus and then you kind of want them to all blend together. Right?

Ken Fallin: Blend together. Yes. Absolutely. But some politicians because I do a lot of politicians for the journal and a certain ex-president that we have is a caricature to me. But the journal is conservative. So I was always worried that I was going to go too far doing politicians. So I toned everything down, but I had fun with that certain president. He was just a godsend because even if you tried to do it mild, it still came out an exaggeration.

Steve Cuden: Did you ever get any complaints from that camp?

Ken Fallin: No. What’s interesting, before this person was elected president, I was hired to do an ad for CNBC. It was for this program they have called…

Steve Cuden: Squawk Box.

Ken Fallin: Thank you. I had to draw the three people that were on it and then in back were 10 business leaders. When my agent called me and told me about this job and how much it was paying, I know I sound very materialistic. I keep saying how much it paid, but I was so excited. Then the art director said, well, each person that you draw has approval. They’ve got to approve it. I went, this is going to be a nightmare. It’s going to be a nightmare. It turned out to be the opposite. I have to say his name, it was president. He was just Trump then.

Steve Cuden: Oh, I thought you meant Calvin Coolidge.

Ken Fallin: Well, he was. Yes. He wasn’t such a bad guy, but he approved his. All of these people. Warren Buffet wanted a smile. I changed that to a smile. Another one didn’t like the tie pattern. I was just amazed that that happened because they were caricatures, and you think these people are going to really give me a hard time.

Steve Cuden: Instead, they liked it, is what you’re saying.

Ken Fallin: They approved it. Yes.

Steve Cuden: Yeah. I think that that’s probably understandable. Sometimes when people in the public eye are mocked, people doing impressions of them or caricatures like you’re saying, they actually like it.

Ken Fallin: I think so. It makes them famous. They have to be special to have a caricature published of them, I think.

Steve Cuden: Well, it’s also a form of flattery. You’re flattering them by the fact that you’re drawing them. It’s not just a photo that somebody took on the street. You’re actually spending time and making it look unusual in some way.

Ken Fallin: I want to tell you about something that happened several years ago that really floored me. Well, one of them was the journal started using my caricatures for the obituaries. When a famous person would die and I would draw them. It was like, why are they doing this? This is the Wall Street Journal. But they loved it. It went on for several years. About two or three years. I used to sit by the radio or listen to the TV for some famous person to die. I would run in and draw a quick drawing and send it over. They’d say, we’ll take it. We’ll take it. Then I thought, this is great. But then when the Pope died, I thought, oh, they’re not going to ask me to do a caricature of the Pope. They did.

Oh boy, I’m going to be in so much trouble. But it was a very delicate caricature. The thing that I wanted to tell you that connected to that is I have been commissioned by private people to draw loved ones that have passed away. It’s very touching to me. At first, I thought, well, that doesn’t sound quite right. But what you said earlier about capturing the essence, I think they wanted that in a different form. I’ve had two people that I knew in person, and I drew them like quick sketches and so forth. When they passed away, they used the drawing on the cover of the memorial program. Again, I’m just floored by that. So it just always shocks me.

Steve Cuden: I’m going to go back to what I said much earlier, which is I think that part of that is because it’s your drawings, I don’t know of a single drawing of yours I’ve ever looked at in which the person was disrespected or was made fun of. You capture the way a person looks only exaggerated as caricature does. You do it in a way that makes them look full of life and energy and fun. Not like you’re making fun of them. I think that’s why people want to hire you to do a picture of someone in memoriam.

Ken Fallin: Right. Well that’s good. It makes me feel good.

Steve Cuden: So I asked you what your easiest challenge was. I’m wondering if you can say the opposite. What picture did you draw where it was like, I can’t figure this out. I can’t figure it out and it took you a while to get it?

Ken Fallin: There’ve been a lot of those. But I always come through somehow. Like what I told you, I would try different things, or I’d get up and walk away from the drawing.

Steve Cuden: Does it wind up being sheer brute force where you just sit down and because you’re under deadline you have to draw it?

Ken Fallin: It’s almost like that. But I do get up and walk around or watch television or something. It relaxes me enough that I can go back, and I start over and it’s like a completely different drawing. It’s usually, that’s the one that works. I don’t know how that comes about, but it just happens. Not all the time.

Steve Cuden: You started out wanting to be an actor, which means you wanted people to know who you were. You wanted people to see your physical being performing on a stage. Now your work, who you are, is represented by drawings of others.

Ken Fallin: Right.

Steve Cuden: Do you ever consider, or does it ever bother you in any way that millions of people have seen, know and admire your work, but may not know who you are?

Ken Fallin: Well, I’m sort of private in a way, and I’ve always thought that the work should just stand out. But I’ve been told by other people that I should promote my personality, my private life, whatever. To answer your question, no, that doesn’t bother me. I think in my mind, because the Wall Street Journal has a publication of over 2 million. The actual paper. I think all those people, even if they glance at it for two seconds, they’re seeing something that I created.

Steve Cuden: For sure. For sure.

Ken Fallin: It’s a very nice feeling.

Steve Cuden: All those works of art represent you anyway.

Ken Fallin: Right. Right.

Steve Cuden: I mean, they do. You’ve done enough of them where I’m quite confident that many people recognize, oh, it’s that artist. They may not even know your name. But they know it’s that person who’s doing this drawing and they know that it’s going to come out in a way that they’re going to enjoy looking at. I think that’s an absolute inevitability with what you do. I am curious. Drawing is a physical act. You have to use your body, your arm and so on. Do you stay in shape some way? Do you have to work with your muscles in order to stay in shape? Or is that just not anything that you worry about?

Ken Fallin: Yeah, my cardiologist said, what do you do for exercise? I walk the dog. He said, well, you’re going to have to walk by yourself because the dog stops every third tree. But that’s basically all the exercises that I do. I don’t really…

Steve Cuden: You don’t have shoulder problems? You don’t have elbow problems or anything like that?

Ken Fallin: No, I’m very lucky, I guess. I’ve never had that. Sometimes my hands hurt a little bit and I’m concerned about that. But it’s nothing drastic.

Steve Cuden: So I’m also curious. Do you know when a drawing is finished? What tells you I’m done? Is it just time or is there something else?

Ken Fallin: Well, sometimes I just feel like nothing else can be done to make it any better. Because when you do work for publications and so forth, you really have to do that. Especially ads. When you do ad illustration, you have to make the client happy. So sometimes you’re a little frustrated. Again, going back to the American Express I did a holiday ad campaign for them. There were four drawings, and they were full page ads in all the major newspapers across the country. So it was holiday, they said, but it can’t be Christmas. It just has to be holiday. So I drew this woman and she’s wearing an upside-down Christmas tree. I just thought I’d try to get away with it. Her purse was also an upside-down Christmas tree. Well, they never caught that. But when I turned it in, they kept making changes. All of these changes. I’m thinking, alright, with me. They’re paying me some money and I’m doing these changes. They ended up going back to the original drawing. It was never mentioned that there were two Christmas trees in that drawing.

Steve Cuden: Wow. So you’ve seen iterations of that where the work goes out, it comes back, they need a change or two, it comes back, it needs another change or two. How often does that happen where it’s multiple changes?

Ken Fallin: It doesn’t happen that often especially with private commissions and so forth. But when you’re dealing with ad agencies, they have all these people that have to earn their living. So they think they have to say something. They have to make a change and so forth.

Steve Cuden: It’s like working for a studio.

Ken Fallin: Yes. Yes. I wanted to mention something. About a year ago, I started getting complaints about my drawings from the woke people or whoever it is that does this. I had never had that problem before. They were complaining about the smallest thing, like the size of the bust, which I’ve never really… Things like that. You’re making them ugly. These are people that you don’t know who it is, but they’re sending their complaints to the editor of the publication. It was very frustrating because I said to myself, I’m not going to be able to sit down and draw to please these people. First of all, it won’t be a caricature and it won’t be what I’m drawing. I started sending the drawings to Broadway world. That was where this was coming from.

I would say, this is the drawing. If you want to publish it, fine. I’m giving you first right of refusal. They did that for a while. Then I guess it just got so crazy. They said, they were afraid of the sponsors getting letters. So it is crazy. I thought, if Hirschfeld were alive today, there would be a problem with his drawings, believe it or not. I do not find them offensive. But people, they’re offended by all kinds of things.

Steve Cuden: This is an actual problem in the arts today in general. It doesn’t matter which form of the arts it is because individuals complain, or even small groups complain. Everybody else has to step back in lieu of these few people. I have nothing but admiration for someone that has a problem and expresses it. But they shouldn’t be allowed to stop everybody else from enjoying stuff.

Ken Fallin: Exactly. Exactly. That’s just freedom of the press in a way. But the people that own the publications or the websites are afraid if they have sponsors, they fear that the sponsors will pull out.

Steve Cuden: It is a shame of what is going on right now. I think the pendulum will swing back the other way eventually. But it’s really challenging right now for almost anybody in the arts, because you only have to make one calculated mistake that’s necessary to tell your tale or whatever it is you’re doing, and suddenly your persona non grata and that’s no good.

Ken Fallin: Exactly. I’m very lucky though. I found a site called Times Square Chronicles. The lady that runs that adores me. She’s given me such coverage and doesn’t complain about anything. So I don’t know how long that will last. I don’t know if she’ll start getting complaints. But right now, I’m back on track and drawing the way that I want to.

Steve Cuden: So what do you need around you to work, aside from your drawing board and your ink and your pens and your paper and so on, and the photos you need, and Alfie?

Ken Fallin: And Alfie.

Steve Cuden: And Alfie. You got to have Alfie. What do you have in your office that you need to have around you to work? What inspires you in your office?

Ken Fallin: Well, I actually have a lot of books of different caricature artists. Sometimes just looking at somebody else’s work inspires me. So I have a lot of those. I actually have three original Hirschfelds hanging in my studio.

Steve Cuden: Wow. I have one.

Ken Fallin: Yes.

Steve Cuden: I have one for Jekyll and Hyde. I’ve got the Jekyll and Hyde Hirschfeld.

Ken Fallin: Oh, okay. Well, it’s very exciting to just some, to have the real… Do you know the artist David Levine, who was a political artist? He was famous for the big head small bodies in the crosshatching.

Steve Cuden: Oh, sure. I do know who you mean.

Ken Fallin: Yes. Yes. Well, I got to know him just before he died, and I always loved his work. I could never seem to draw like that or to get crosshatching as well as he did it. On eBay, I found a drawing of his, or I think it was a $90. They sell for the thousands and so forth. So of course I jumped on it. I have that also in my studio. It just makes me feel good to look around and see other artists’ work.

Steve Cuden: Who else do you admire? Who else do you look at and you take inspiration from?

Ken Fallin: There’s an artist, Robert Risco, that started out about same time that I did. He’s very good. Totally different styles. I like the old artist, Aubrey Beardsley. Do you know? Do you remember?

Steve Cuden: I absolutely know Aubrey Beardsley for sure.

Ken Fallin: They had an exhibit at Harvard of his work. I was just gob smacked by it because for one thing they were small drawings. His work was so detailed, and he must have used a pen that was like a hair or something. You look at it and you think, how did he do this? It’s just unbelievable. That was very exciting to see those drawings.

Steve Cuden: Are you a fan of Gory?

Ken Fallin: Oh, the New Yorker cartoons?

Steve Cuden: You did the New Yorker cartoons.

Ken Fallin: Yes. His work was very individual.

Steve Cuden: Totally. Very unique.

Ken Fallin: I met Charles Adams because when I was taking that course in cartooning, our teacher was in fact a New Yorker cartoonist. Every week he would bring in a cartoonist from the New Yorker and we got to meet Ed Booth, all of these great, great people. Our assignment every week we had to do 12 cartoons and send them off to the New Yorker. We had to prove it by bringing in our rejection ticket. But I really enjoyed that whole experience of taking the lab.

Steve Cuden: Well, what kind of confidence were they instilling to assume that you were going to be rejected?

Ken Fallin: Well, it was one of those, this is the way it is in life. A lot of the best cartoonists started out, and it was years before they got a nibble.

Steve Cuden: For sure.

Ken Fallin: That’s kind of scary.

Steve Cuden: There aren’t too many people in the performing arts or anywhere else that instantly are hits. It usually takes time and energy and a lot of patience and perseverance.

Ken Fallin: Absolutely. Absolutely. I have to admit, sometimes I’m easily discouraged, but fortunately I haven’t had too much of that. That’s why I really had to get out of acting. I couldn’t take the rejection. It just really hit me.

Steve Cuden: As an actor, they’re not rejecting your work. They’re rejecting you.

Ken Fallin: That’s right.

Steve Cuden: It’s really difficult.

Ken Fallin: I don’t have that trouble with illustration, with showing my work.

Steve Cuden: You’re able to separate yourself from your work.

Ken Fallin: Yes.

Steve Cuden: Even though it represents you, it’s not you.

Ken Fallin: Right. At my exhibit, I’ve overheard some people say, well, that doesn’t really look like them or whatever. It just goes over. You’re right, it’s not me. It’s the work.

Steve Cuden: It’s still someone else’s opinion, but it’s not about you personally. It’s about something that you did. Because I’ve had plenty of that as a writer, where you get rejected or somebody wants to change the whole thing or whatever it is. You learn not to take it personally.

Ken Fallin: Exactly. Exactly.

Steve Cuden: So if you could go back in time and do one thing over to achieve a more satisfying result, what might that be?

Ken Fallin: Well, I was thinking that some of the Forbidden Broadway things could have been better in the early years.

Steve Cuden: Because you were learning your way at that time.

Ken Fallin: That’s right. That’s right. But there was a period for seven years, the first poster in Schubert Alley on the 45th Street side as you entered, was a Forbidden Broadway poster, which they changed at least twice a year. It was fabulous. Every time I would go to Schubert Alley and sometimes, I’d see Japanese tourists taking pictures and I would pose them in front of the poster and take their picture. Such an ego trip. But then I would look at some of the figures and I would think, ah, you should have worked harder on that. That’s really about it.

Steve Cuden: So generally speaking, you’re pleased with the way that your career has progressed, and the art has progressed?

Ken Fallin: Yes. I think I’m very lucky with the timing. It could have started a little earlier, but I did get on the tail end of a very exciting period where illustration was really being used. There were a lot of great ones. There’re still great ones, but there’s just not enough work. I’m really happy that I got to experience that. I mean, the big time. The ad agencies. Big money. All that sort of thing.

Steve Cuden: I’m having the most wonderful conversation and so much fun with Ken Fallon. I’m just wondering, you’ve obviously been around a while, and you’ve met lots of people and you’ve had lots of experiences. Do you have an oddball, weird, quirky, offbeat, or just plain funny story you can share with us beyond the ones you’ve already told us?

Ken Fallin: I do. I wanted to tell you, not that I’m trying to get sympathy here, but my parents never understood me. They were wonderful parents. I had a fabulous childhood, but they did not understand, definitely acting. When I became an illustrator, my father, who was always in sales, couldn’t understand that people were paying me to draw. That was like a child thing or something. He never commented. But I found out later they lived in a small town in Georgia that he would get the paper and show it around to people and brag and say, this is my son. He never said that to me. Never said that to me. There’s a happy ending in that. Just before he died, we had a very good closure. He told me he was proud of me. But never understood me. But I can understand that. I was like almost from Mars in that part of the country.

I was such a strange person. An artist. An actor. The story I want to tell you. I was at a party in New York. I was living in Boston. I was at a party in New York, and Liza Minnelli came in. I had met her manager before on something else. So I got to be friendly with her. We were talking and I said, Liza, I own an original Hirschfeld of you as Little Red Riding Hood in a TV musical that was done in 65 called The Dangerous Christmas of Little Red Riding Hood. Cyril Richard was the big bad wolf. Now this drawing is fabulous. That was my first purchase. She said, I’ve never seen it. I said, well, gee, I would show you mine, but it’s in Boston. She said, you know what? I’m going to be in Boston in a couple of weeks doing a concert. Could you come to the concert as my guest and bring the drawing?

Well, the drawing is about the size of a window. It’s big and it’s in a big heavy frame. But I thought, okay. So we took it and we were able to leave it backstage and then go watch the concert. She was fabulous. She was just so great and gave it everything. Then afterwards she came back to her dressing room, and they took us into the dressing room, and I had my drawing. I had it covered up. But I had also done a drawing of her for the Boston Herald to announce that she was coming in to do this concert. So I thought, I’ll show mine first. So she’s all excited and she comes over and I say, well, Liza, this is the drawing I did of you.

I ripped the paper off, and she goes, oh, this is terrible. I’ll show her the Hirschfield that’ll make everything right. So I took the cover off of the Hirschel and she turned and put her head in her boyfriend’s chest. She’s moaning and he’s trying to tell her, oh honey, you don’t look like that. You’re much prettier than that. It’s a very extreme caricature. But anyway, I found out later she doesn’t like to have people imitate her. People that do impressions of her, and she does not like caricature. There I was in the dressing room with Stanley and feeling terrible. So we decided we’d sneak out. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. The backstage door, this was at Symphony Hall in Boston. It was a double door. They had a guard on each side, and they would open it out so that the person could come out. We could hear when we were in the dressing room, a crowd was gathering, and it was getting bigger and bigger.

I’m taking the drawing and everything, and I’m standing by the door and the guard says, tell us when you’re ready. So I said, I’m ready. Why not? They swing the doors open and the crowd thought it was Liza. They’re going, whoa. I had to walk the length of this thing with these people giving us dirty looks. I’m telling you, that was such an experience. But that’s the thing that happened.

Steve Cuden: Did you ever see her again?

Ken Fallin: Yes. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine did a nightclub act with her just for one night only in New York. I redrew her and I made it as nice as I could, and I took it along with me. When the show was over, she came out. She was actually in a wheelchair. She had hurt her hip or something. I went over to her, and I showed it to her, and she smiled and thanked me. That was it. So I did see her. We’re not close or anything.

Steve Cuden: No, but, but people are sometimes sensitive to those things, and she obviously is sensitive to that.

Ken Fallin: Do you know who else is that? This’ll really shock you. Carol Burnett.

Steve Cuden: Sensitive to her pictures?

Ken Fallin: Yeah, caricature. Because I was hired to replace an ad for a Broadway show called Moon Over Buffalo. The original poster was a buffalo with a moon over it. They weren’t selling tickets. So I was called in and I brought a sketch that I did of Carol Burnett and the other actor that was in it. They all loved it. I felt, I was writing on a cloud that day. I mean, all these really picky art directors and the producer of the play was there, and they said, oh, this is fabulous. This is fabulous. She called me later, the producer and said, oh, can’t wait to show Carol. This is just so great. It’s going to really make a difference. The next morning I got a call and she said, Ken, Carol doesn’t like the drawing, so we can’t go with it. We can’t go with it. So I thought, oh, well. That was going to be my Broadway debut. But it was fine.

Steve Cuden: Have you had drawings on playbills on Broadway?

Ken Fallin: Not on the cover. Off Broadway I’ve had some covers from Playbook. I’ve had inside illustrations, but I’ve never done a cover yet. I’d love to do a Broadway poster. That’s a dream.

Steve Cuden: Well, I’m sure you know Frank Verlizzo Fraver.

Ken Fallin: Oh, lovely man. I like him so much.

Steve Cuden: He’s been a guest on this show. His work is uniquely his as well.

Ken Fallin: Absolutely.

Steve Cuden: You can almost tell, although his is less distinct than yours because he has to be more sort of fluid with the different styles of different shows. But his style is, it’s a Fraver style. But he’s been on lots of playbook covers, obviously. That’s what he does.

Ken Fallin: Yes, yes. Because he does the…

Steve Cuden: He’s a poster designer. I mean, that’s what he does.

Ken Fallin: Yes, yes. We talked about his Lion King that he did that. They bought it out for a huge amount of money because normally that doesn’t happen. Because they wanted it forever. He said it was enough money, it didn’t matter. But that logo has just been all over the world.

Steve Cuden: Everywhere. Sure.

Ken Fallin: So, great.

Steve Cuden: For me personally, his greatest work is the Sunday in the park with George poster with the two. It looks like it’s torn paper.

Ken Fallin: It’s so clever.

Steve Cuden: Very clever. Very, very clever. Alright. So last question for you today, Ken. You’ve given us tons of thoughts and advice as we’ve gone along the way here. But I’m wondering if you have a solid piece of advice or a tip that you like to give to those who are just starting out in the business, or maybe they’re in a little bit and trying to figure out how to get to the next level.

Ken Fallin: They want to be an illustrator in particular?

Steve Cuden: Sure. Or even people that want to be in the business in some way. Either way.

Ken Fallin: Okay. Well, it’s changed tremendously. I would say learn to work on the computer. Not only it’s the future, it’s today and you’ll probably work. But print publications are just dying out, and there’s just very little. So if your heart is set on that, it’s going to be a disappointment. Also newspapers, that’s where I started out. I’m still sad, but I look at history and things were always changing. Nothing ever stays still. I would just learn all the techniques and you’ll be fine. Just keep going, keep doing it. If you believe in yourself, you’ll get there. You’ll make it.

Steve Cuden: Well, that is absolutely true to the heart advice because no one ever succeeds by giving up. So you have to keep at it. Ken Fallin, this has been just so much fun for me, and I’m thoroughly delighted that you have spent some time with me today on Story Beat, and I can’t thank you enough.

Ken Fallin: Oh, thank you so much, Steve. I’ve enjoyed myself tremendously. It’s been a lot of fun for me. It’s a nice ego thing to talk about yourself. So thank you for inviting me.

Steve Cuden: So we’ve come to the end of today’s Story Beat. If you like this episode, won’t you please take a moment to give us a comment, rating, or review on whatever app or platform you are listening to. Your support helps us bring more great Story Beat episodes to you. Story Beat is available on all major podcast apps and platforms, including Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Tune In, and many others. Until next time, I’m Steve Cuden. May all your stories be unforgettable.

Executive Producer: Steve Cuden, Producer: Casey Georgi, Announcer: Javier Grajeda
Social Media: Mina Hoffman, Design & Marketing: Holly Reed, Reed Creative Group


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