Hi, I’m Dawn and I’m a Cartoonist, Illustrator, Graphic Designer and A General Workhorse. (Who drinks a lot of coffee.)
I’m approaching 35 and still chasing my “dream career”. I spend my nights and weekends doing what I love, and the weekdays payin’ the bills. Why? Because it certainly beats throwing in the towel and living my life without funny doodles, artistic accomplishment, or humorous storylines. Comic strips are the purest combination of all my talents: drawing, humor, and telling stories. It’s in my blood; it’s a necessity, just like air, water, or chocolate cake.
My apologies, but from here tradition dictates that I break into 3rd-person rambling, so bear with me. Or, I should say, bear with Dawn.
Born in Cleveland, OH in 1979, Dawn learned to read like most kids– with comics and the newspaper “funnies”. She learned to draw by copying the cartooning masters. A daughter to 2 math majors, she was a peculiar curiosity to her parents, but they supported her talents & endeavors throughout her life. The Griffins moved to the Philadelphia area in 1993, yet their sports allegiance remains with Cleveland teams (they’re kind of masochists that way). Throughout high school, Dawn focused on her 3 favorite things: softball, basketball, and comics… and spent far more time than any teenager should kick-starting her career by shipping off submissions of her first comic “Leftovers” to syndicates, even at the young age of 14. She figured, it took Bill Watterson 10 years to get Calvin & Hobbes syndicated, she had to get an early start. “Leftovers” lasted through high school and college, and was retired after 12 years in 2005.
A graduate of Tyler School of Art (Temple University) with a BFA degree in Graphic Design & Illustration, Dawn is also an accomplished Graphic Designer. She currently works for J&J Snack Foods, designing packages, logos, literature and more for brands like SUPERPRETZEL and LUIGI’S WATER ICE. Nonetheless, her passion for drawing fun characters and telling humorous tales keeps her busy on the side. Since 2006, she is also the Illustrator for the “Abby’s Adventures” children’s book series, promoting self-esteem with wonderfully spunky & relate-able stories, written by Suzanne Ridolfi and published under Eifrig Publishing. Rounding out her side projects with sporadic freelance or commissions when her schedule allows for it, Dawn is a jack of all trades when it comes to design & illustration.
Zorphbert & Fred was born in 2006, and was originally created with newspaper syndication in mind. Little did Dawn realize, newspapers would dwindle and the webcomic community would help awaken her to other possibilities.. like going it alone without representation! Luckily, Dawn had some business & marketing skills, along with the confidence to exhibit at shows…. and thus a new fork in the road of her cartooning career was formed. Ever since, Dawn has been cranking out Zorphbert & Fred comic strips, at either a bi or tri-weekly basis. Starting out by testing the waters on drunkduck.com, Dawn quickly realized she could grow an online readership. Within 2 weeks of her first post, Z&F was a featured comic… and within a year, she was being interviewed on popular webcomic podcasts, and her work was included in an DrunkDuck anthology. Z&F was even nominated for “Best Anthropomorphic Comic“! From there it’s pretty much a blur of collectives, comic cons, Print-on-Demand Publishing, merchandising trials & tribulations, and many, many new friends and cohorts. Dawn and a handful of similarly-accomplished creators founded the Webcomic Alliance in 2010, along with a sister podcast, to help other creators who were just starting out with their own webcomic. Zorphbert & Fred continues to be sought after for Anthologies like Sugar Ninjas, and getting attention from widely known corporations like Wizard World and 1-800-Pet-Meds. In 2011, Dawn contributed to the Team Cul de Sac charity book for Parkinson’s Research which raised over $50,000, and the book is now nominated for a 2013 Eisner! From here, who knows where her career’s path will go. The webcomic business isn’t a cookie-cutter type of model, there is no direct route to success. Dawn is still trying new things, re-evaluating what works and what doesn’t, and finding new forks in the road. Luckily, none of these forks have STOP signs, so… full speed ahead!