HJ/EDHerald Journal, Oct. 31, 2005

LP teacher loves to be creative

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

David Rue, a Lester Prairie music teacher, has a problem; he can’t stop creating things.

“Creating music and drawing is just something I can’t stop doing, so I might as well make some sort of living with it,” Rue said.

The urge to always create is a good problem to have for Rue, a professional cartoonist, who started his own company this past summer.

Rue’s company, Belleprima, is the latest vehicle through which Rue has been contracting his cartoon line “Minnesota,” which can be found on the viewpoints page of this newspaper.

The cartoons are about life, especially highlighting the humor that comes from living in Minnesota.

Rue likes the idea of keeping a local focus in the cartoons.

“I’d like to keep it formatted for the state. I’m trying to find a niche that isn’t out there,” Rue said.

Rue’s vision of the “Minnesota” cartoons was able to come to life with new technology.

Rue saw another teacher using a computerized writing pad to draw right onto the computer screen.

“Once I saw it, I just had to have it,” Rue said.

The approximately 5-by-7 inch drawing pad allows Rue to draw his cartoons with a special pen onto the computer pad. The pad is connected to the computer by a cable, allowing him to instantly see his drawing on the screen.

The computer makes it easier for Rue to draw, and correct mistakes.

“I’ve come through it on both ends. In college, it was pen and paper. I always had to redraw and correct, and use white-out,” Rue said. “Once I got familiar with drawing on the computer, I loved it.”

Although “Minnesota” is the latest cartoon for Rue, his love and experience for cartooning goes back a long way.

Rue remembers drawing when he was only 5 or 6 years old, growing up in Hibbing.

“Out of boredom, I just started doodling. It was something I was good at, and enjoyed doing,” Rue said.

His first fan base came when he drew cartoons in junior high, and the other students would read them.

Then, Rue’s first cartooning job introduced him to Ed and Edna, characters he created to be used in running ads for the community education department, while he attended high school in Hibbing.

Once graduated from high school, and from drawing Ed and Edna, he moved on to become chief political cartoonist for the campus paper “Northern Student,” at Bemidji State University.

While in Bemidji, Rue also illustrated for the city’s weekly publication.

For the last 10 years, he has been teaching music in Lester Prairie, doodling as a hobby on lesson plans and concert programs.

With the recent creation of Belleprima, Rue is hoping to one day expand beyond just cartooning.

“Some day, I would be interested in video production, weddings, anniversaries, and special events,” Rue said.

But, for now, Rue confesses he sees himself in the beginning stage of the process, getting his cartoons out in the market.

Living in Shakopee with his wife, Katherine, who is expecting, he doesn’t want drawing to become his only job.

“I would like to see this go as far as it can go,” Rue said. “I don’t mean to make it my main job. I enjoy teaching too much to let (cartooning) become my sole source of income.”

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