Cartoonist Blair Howatt said the reaction to his Langley Good Times Cruise-In posters have often taken him by surprise.
“People seem to appreciate it but it’s always surprising to me when I see people buying them or collecting them or putting them on T-shirts,” Howatt explained.
His artwork has become an anticipated Cruise-In staple since he first got involved back in 2005; he’s designed the official poster every year since.
“I work as a Fed-Ex driver delivering to people. I like to talk and am into cars,” he recalled. “I got to talking with Rich Ulvild, who I delivered to and mentioned I was a cartoonist. He was the president of the Cruise-In at the time, looked at my website after we chatted, and asked if I wanted to design the poster.”
Howatt, in fact, had previously drawn a couple hundred cartoons for the Langley Times.
“It wasn’t going to pay my mortgage, but I loved doing it,” he assured.
The cartoonist started drawing in high school. Howatt said he took a few night classes, but has not had any formal training beyond that.
“I like to pour a drink and just draw, you know?” he said. “It’s fun.”
The Walnut Grove resident felt his love of old cars made him the right candidate for the Cruise-In gig. He’s owned a few classics in his lifetime – particularly chevelles, which led him to join another local club dedicated to that specific make.
Howatt explained that the Cruise-In committee gets together, picks a theme, and then does some spit-balling on what they’d like to see.
“Drawing it takes tons of time. It’s all done by hand – not computers,” Howatt assured.
While Cruise-In was ultimately cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Howatt had already poured “tons of time” into the poster.
That’s why there will be two different posters up for grabs this year – the 2020 installment being considered a collectable that will be printed on limited edition hoodies.
A similar situation played out a decade prior when controversy ensued over burnouts occurring that same weekend in Langley City. Cruise-In was cancelled in 2010 but the poster design was kept and sold during the next year.
The 2021 poster features two vehicles, a muscle car and a blue pick-up truck, parked in front of the Aldergrove Bowling Alley alongside an old-fashioned gasoline pump with the Langley crest on it.
Howatt said he’s excited the return of Cruise-In after a two-year delay.
“It sounds like it’s going to be a big show,” he said. “I’m very excited to see it and have something to go to because there hasn’t been anything lately. You know, Cruise-In is just part of everyone’s life here. It’s been around for eons and close to my heart.”
People can watch for Howatt’s work at the Langley Good Times Cruise-In marketplace or check it out on his website blairscreativecartoons.com/cruisein.
Have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.