Always Wear Clean Underwear to Work


The audience for CRUDE cartoons is growing more all the time. The cartoon CRUDE can not only be seen in the Oilman magazine, but also in the Lamesa Reporter, Marshall News-Messenger, Panola Watchman, Weatherford Democrat, Mineral Wells Index, My Big Lake, My El Dorado, Levelland News, Edmond Sun, Kingfisher Times, Longview News, Corsicana Daily, Victoria Advocate, Artesia News, Del Rio News, Minden Press Herald, Dickenson Press, and Bowie News.

I spent several years doing the editorial cartoon FRIED OKRA for the Weatherford Democrat. I understand the confines of the small budget within which most newspapers work. I also spent several years developing cartoons and trying to get a syndicated cartoon introduced (without any luck I may add). I know the operations of the syndicates and how widespread they are. This breadth allows them to offer cartoons to newspapers for a few dollars a week.

An individual cannot compete with the syndicates simply due to their size. I am very pleased to be able to get my work out to a larger audience, although I know the cartoon alone will never be an income. The CRUDE cartoon is my way of bringing respect to the oilfield employees.

I want to welcome aboard the newspapers, I appreciate that you give your readers a chance to see my work. I want to also thank my readers for sending in the newspaper suggestions (I will be glad to contact any more that you suggest). If you’re a reader of one of the publications, you might consider taking a minute and thanking them for adding the CRUDE cartoon. That is unless it replaced your favorite “Garfield” strip, then contact them to complain; for $8 a week they will not mind bringing back your strip.

When I started cartooning, you would have to submit an art-ready cartoon to each paper. This requirement included making a photo copy (a photography copy made with a camera) to mail out each week. The copy machines were not clean enough to make an art-ready copy. Today, I have a scanner in my combo living room/studio, and in less than a minute after the art is finished, it is scanned and ready to be emailed to publications.

A cartoonist used to have to work at least 14 days ahead of schedule. Without today’s modern technology, there is no way I could afford to have my cartoons published in multiple publications.

I have found it amusing that the paper I use to make the half grey tones/shading is making a comeback due to a simple culture change. The paper has a dot pattern on it and with a conte crayon, or with a prism pencil you can create print-ready, clean grey tones/shading. It was used exclusively in editorial cartoons.

Etta Hulme, the former editorial cartoonist for the Fort Worth Star Telegram, introduced me to stipple paper back in 1987. The stipple paper was discontinued in the late ’80s. I purchased what I considered to be the last of the stock at the Texas Tech Bookstore in 1994. With contemporary culture, the paper is back and in big demand. It is now called tattoo paper.

CRUDE Safety

This week’s cartoon is based on my personal experience of being attacked by a hand held grinder. I was absolutely startled and amazed at the power of the grinder and how quick the whole incident happened. While it did not rip my clothes off, it did untuck my shirt and pulled it in a bind around my midsection. I was trying to push it away to keep it from tearing into skin.

The whole experience took place in the amount of time it took me to take my finger off the trigger and for the wheel to stop spinning. As soon as it touched my clothes, I noticed it, and took my finger off the trigger. The residual energy of the grinder was enough to pull my shirt out of my pants as it twisted the material and pulled toward my stomach. It was an experience that gave me a new perspective on grinder safety.

I have noticed that the first thing field hands do with a grinder is take off the safety guard. If my students learn anything in my tool safety class, I hope it is to leave the grinder guard on and do not wear loose clothes or jewelry. These are the kind of safety themes you will see when the CRUDE safety cartoon books come out.

May your boots be dry, your coffee fresh and your gloves new. Kybree

Author Profile
Contributor -

Steve Burnett has been working in the oil industry since the age of 16. He started out working construction on a pipeline crew and after retirement, finishes his career as a Pipeline Safety Compliance Inspector. He has a degree in art and watched oil and art collide in his career to form the “Crude Oil Calendars.” He also taught in the same two fields and believes that while technology has advanced, the valuable people at the core of the industry and the attributes they encompass, remain the same. With a humorist for a father, he also learned that a dose of comedy makes everything better. The major influences on his cartooning style were the Ace Reid Cowpokes cartoons, the Dirk West sports cartoons and V.T. Hamlin's Alley Oop comic.

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