Robb Armstrong is one of the lucky ones. One of a handful of African-American artists to have a comic strip nationally syndicated in more than 300 publications, he gets to draw for a living. He works at home, so he can spend more time with his wife and two kids. He travels around the country, teaching drawing and sharing stories about his life with young people. He’s even met his share of famous people, including his idol, Charles Schulz.
But his life wasn’t always so charmed. Born and raised in a rough neighborhood in West Philadelphia, Robb was one of five fatherless kids living in a cramped apartment where the electric bill didn’t always get paid. When he was six, his older brother was killed in a gruesome subway accident. Soon after, his remaining brother was severely beaten by the police for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, his mother died of cancer.
How did he get through all of these tragedies to the happy life? By drawing funnies. Life is not so different from the comics—the challenges, tragedies, and triumphs. Comics poke fun at our everyday routines and our universal motivations. They show us a lot about ourselves and the people around us. So as a cartoonist, Robb Armstrong has drawn a few lessons from life that he shares in this moving memoir.
Weaving together his personal stories with simple drawing tutorials and original illustrations, Fearless is both a compelling read and an inspirational lesson on how to live well, through the good times and the bad.
Praise for FEARLESS and Robb Armstrong
“Robb Armstrong populates his comic strip with great, well-drawn characters . . . and that’s the whole thing.”
—Charles Schulz, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip Peanuts
“Every so often a book comes along and changes your life forever. I am just pissed Fearless didn’t come out when I was 17. Life would have been a hell of a lot better. And so would my drawing.”
—Bryan Buckley, director
“Fearless jumps off the page and shakes you up, man! Sensational! I love the passion, the tribute to his family and the love of the art. This is what it’s all about!”
—Quincy Jones, music producer, composer, and arranger
“Robb Armstrong has pulled off a dazzling feat of artistry. His memoir, Fearless, is really three books—a drama-filled rags-to-riches story; an inspirational guide to finding happiness; and an easy-to-follow drawing tutorial—all wrapped up in one perfect package.”
—Anson Williams, award-winning television director, writer, actor, singer, producer, entrepreneur, and author of Singing to a Bulldog
“The book is an inspiration and a true pleasure, with some of the most insightful cartooning advice you will ever read.”
—Scott Adams, creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip Dilbert
“I haven’t read comics since I was a girl, I skip graphic novels in the bookstores, and I have no artistic talent. So, why am I on my way to buy art supplies? It’s all because of Fearless. Robb Armstrong tells the truth, draws the truth, and inspires you to do the same. His memoir is a tribute to his late mother. A pleasure to read, it celebrates relationships, shows us what’s important in life, and at the same time offers easy-to-follow art lessons.”
—Roberta Temes, PhD, author of How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days
“To read this book is to know my friend: honest, passionate, truthful. With this book you’re holding Robb’s heart in your hands.”
—Tommy Davidson, actor, comedian
“I’ve never read a book quite like this. I laughed some and cried some, but mostly I marveled at the courage of the author. Cartoonists are rare birds, their backgrounds and motivations are almost never put on display. I’ve always liked JumpStart, but will now see it differently, as a triumph. Robb Armstrong has dealt with adversity with moxie and a wonderful sense of humor. This is more than a self-help book. It’s a literary masterwork. I wouldn’t be surprised if someday his comic strip becomes as successful as mine.”
—Vic Van Streck, creator of the world’s best comic strip, Klondike Ike