2021 Langley Good Times Cruise-In poster designed by Blair Howatt. (Special to Black Press Media)

2021 Langley Good Times Cruise-In poster designed by Blair Howatt. (Special to Black Press Media)

Cartoonist Blair Howatt excited to cruise-in return where his latest work will be displayed

Howatt has designed the collectible event poster for more than 15 years

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.

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