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Artist sketches lighter side of life

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- A satellite sticking out of a mobile home and an alien wrangler riding an orbiting satellite. These are two examples of images people might see weekly when they pick up the base newspaper, The Satellite Flyer, thanks to cartoonist Staff Sgt. Mike Dodge from the 50th Space Wing's plans and programs section.

From the time he was able to hold a pencil firmly in his hand, he said he has been fascinated with putting his ideas to artwork.

Now he uses his artwork to express his sense of humor of everyday life at the satellite-flying base.

"Most of the time there is a subliminal message behind my art," said Dodge. "I don't want to be known as a wise guy. My drawings reflect my sense of humor not my feelings toward a particular subject."

He first started out by tracing the designs and characters in coloring books. After a while he did not need to trace anymore, but caught on quickly to shapes.

"Learning to see the shapes in my head was a key to leaning how to draw," said Dodge. "I was just able to do it."

Over the years his artwork has made its way around the world with his military career. Most of the time he has drawn caricatures for friends, people leaving his unit or retiring, or for special occasions.

"You can spend a hundred dollars on a plaque and another hundred on a present," said Dodge. "But the gift that really lights up their eyes is the drawing of them I spent my personal time in creating."

The military offers him a variety of people and backgrounds to choose from for his sense of humor.

Dodge said he strongly feels that no matter what his drawing may speak of, there is always going to be someone who is offended by the message. He realizes that he lives in a military world of many backgrounds and ideas.

"There's always one person who will be offended by the message of my art. Everybody has his or her own ideas of what's funny," he said. "Hopefully, my artwork is found more humorous then offensive."

So far the plaudits outweigh the naysayers.

"Although Sergeant Dodge's humor and artwork are quite unique, I think it's on target and exactly what we need to add a little levity to our week," said Master Sgt. Rico King, 50th Mission Support Squadron first sergeant. "I frequently get feedback applauding his work." (Courtesy of Air Force Space Command News Service)

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