Credits given to the people who worked on the Gutiar Toons project

Many people were very helpful with this project.
Without their support, I may not have been able to complete this book.
I would like to give them special thanks for all of their involvement.

Eddie Brawner: Print coordinator at Lithographics, Inc.; father, hunter and golfer.

Eddie has been a very good friend to me, and helped so much with the printing decisions. His knowledge, insight and generosity made this project possible. Special thanks to Lithographics, Inc. for their quality work. I think they are the best in the printing industry.

Dylan Shorer: Music editor/transcriber for Acoustic Guitar magazine, ‘93 Telluride fingerstyle guitar champion.

Dylan has done a great job for me as editor of the music. I gave him rough, handscribed tablature of each song and a live videotape of me playing. Using only this, he produced the beautifully written music notation contained in this book. Dylan plays in the Celtic/blues group called Logan's Well with guitarist Steve Baughman and vocalist Carleen Duncan. Check out their new CD, Thunder Perfect Mind. P.O. Box 1524, Sebastapol, CA 95473; www.folknet.com/loganswell.

Jim Kirlin: Writer, asst. editor for Wood&Steel (Taylor Guitars’ quarterly publication), and frustrated guitarist.

I was very lucky to get Jim to help me with the editing of this book. He smoothed out the bumps and made the overall project much more professional. If there is anything grammatically incorrect, or a word misspelled, it is because I requested it to be that way.

Bruce Kunkel: Master guitar luthier, artist, songwriter, instrumentalist, inventor and father.

I can not say enough about Bruce Kunkel. He is one of the most inspiring artists I have ever met. I have had the privilege of working with Bruce on a day-to-day basis. I am very impressed by his talents and even more impressed with his honest spirit and kind heart. Bruce is truly a gentleman and a good friend. I’ve enjoyed discovering his widespread talents.

Bev Harmon: Banking professional, mother and pianist.

I am very proud to say Bev is my sister. I appreciate her help on proofreading this book and for being such a good friend for all these years. She has always been someone I could talk to, and so often has just the right words to make life a little more special.

Mr. and Mrs. Auten: The world’s greatest Mom and Dad.

I have been blessed with wonderful parents. They were supportive of everything in which I became interested. Their love and understanding have been a blessing to me in every area of my life. It is my sincere wish that I may return some of their love and touch others through this book and music.

Master Craftsman Bruce Kunkel

Guitar Maker (Luthier)
Banjo player
Master Woodworker
Wood Carver

by Bruce Kunkel

My father was a fine woodworker. He built a reproduction of a very elegant 18th century table with slender, curving cabriole legs. I was eight years old when I first became drawn to the intensity of his efforts and started asking a lot of questions. He put me to work sanding parts by hand. I made a lot of fine walnut sawdust that stained my hands purple. It filled my nostrils, and some of it must have gotten into my blood. I became hooked on the smell and the feel of the miracle of wood. I learned to make beautiful curling shavings with a spoke shave, and to carve with a knife. Any scrap of wood in the shop was fair game. The tools and the wood sharpened my imagination. This created a mutual enthusiasm for learning how to do it all. I loved to draw with pencils and crowquill pens; I learned to paint with watercolors by trial and error. A plain white piece of paper was a whole world begging to be explored with a pencil and my imagination.

At about the same time, I became fascinated with music. Both my father and grandfather were great trumpeters, although my tastes leaned more toward country music. I entertained myself with a harmonica, a sweet potato, a penny whistle and a jaw harp — just about anything that would make an interesting noise. Then, one day I saw a photo in Life Magazine of Pete Seeger playing his long-neck banjo on the railroad tracks and I was Gone! I had never heard such an instrument, but I knew it was for me. Having no way of acquiring a banjo, I made one — a crude one to be sure, and only boy-size, but I had me a banjo! That simple banjo was the beginning of a lifetime of musical instrument making and playing.

It seems that all my life has been about making things fit. Whether it is a dovetail joint in a piece of furniture, a mother-of-pearl inlay, the composition of a painting, or the words of a song, everything must fit precisely in order to appear seamless and natural. I believe that as you labor intensely on a piece of work, visualizing and concentrating your energies on that object, it takes on a life of its own. When you encounter a great work of art of any period, it sets the mood of the room. The sheer energy invested by the artist or craftsperson to create the piece of art can deeply affect those exposed to it. If you are a young artist, I would encourage you to find something in life that you love and are inspired by, and learn all that you can about it. Find a mentor, someone you look up to and who is among the best in your field of interest. It need not be someone who is alive today; you can always buy records or prints, and read about the person’s life. Make your mentor a part of you. There may be someone in your local community (a retired person for instance) who would be glad to teach you what he knows. My father was my mentor; although he passed away a few years ago, he is with me every day, looking over my shoulder and encouraging me.

When I have an idea for a project, I generally research the subject. This may involve going to the library or to a museum. I sometimes photocopy pictures and enlarge them as needed. I visualize the subject from an unusual angle to make it my own. I almost always do pencil drawings followed by pen-and-ink drawings. These may become templates for paintings, carvings or inlays, or they may stand alone as the work itself. The "line" is everything. Painters, sculptors, inlay artists, etc., live and die by the "line." For me it is the absolute "make-or-break," impenetrable, defining element of any piece of work. The finished product is only as precise as the layout, and the layout only as good as the "line.

Last Modified: April 10, 1999
Copyright © D.R. Auten 1994-1999 All Rights Reserved.