Donna Karen "D.K." Upshaw is the creative force behind Ladytooner, "your one-stop cartoon shop", where she sells her original cards, comics, books, animations and caricature and custom cartoon services for personal and business custormer. As the East Chicago Women's Business Examiner, she is turning the tables by interviewing herself.
DK: You talk about finding motivation for business. What's your motivation?
DKU: Mainly, my love of cartoons. Watching and reading them as a child inspired me to want to create them when I grew up. Growing up with Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoons was a big inspiration. I also love sharing my creations and making people laugh.
DK: What are Ladytooners most popular products and/or services?
DKU: My best product is a service: caricatures at parties and events in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. People love seeing themselves and their kids "in the cartoon", and kids love to watch me draw. Plus it gets me out of the house.
DK: Do you have dreams of making "the big time"?
DKU: I used to when I was younger, before there was an Internet and personal computers. I wanted a syndicated comic strip, or work in a comic book or animation company, or--believe it or not--be the first African American female gag cartoonist in The New Yorker. Now, I'm happy being an independent
'tooner--making my own "big time".
DK: How does your Christian faith play a role in Ladytooner?
DKU: I believe God had me born when I was for a reason. Growing up with the Saturday morning phenomenon of the '60s, '70s and '80s, coming of age in the Internet generation, I got what it takes to be my own 'tooner--cool, clever and clean. I also know He wants me to use my talents to make people happy, so I do.
DK: At what moments do you realize you're in the right business?
DKU: When I get any kind of feedback from happy customers. I once sold a graduation note card to a woman who gave it to her stepdaughter. She later told me the stepdaughter cried for joy when she got it because getting an original card and not a mass-produced store-bought card made her feel special. That makes me realize I"m supposed to be the cartoonist that I am, and that's great.