'The Timbertoes'.

Ron Zalme is an American commercial illustrator from Stillwater, New Jersey, who has drawn a wide range of licensed characters for books, merchandising, packaging and other products since 1978. He was an artist in the production department of Marvel Comics from 1978 to 1985, and provided editorial artwork as well as comic stories for Marvel's humor magazine Crazy. Since 2002 he is the illustrator of the long-running 'Timbertoes' feature in Highlights for Children magazine.

'Drive Customers Crazy', Crazy Magazine #55 (1979).

Early life and career
Ronald Zalme was born in The Hague, The Netherlands, but has lived in the United States since he was two-and-a-half. Raised in West Orange, New Jersey, he began his collegiate studies as a biology major but soon switched to art, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Upsala College in 1976. He then attended the newly opened Joe Kubert School of Cartoon in Dover, New Jersey, to perfect his commercial art skills. By 1978 Zalme  became assistant-production manager at Marvel Comics, a position he held until 1985. Apart from production work like spot illustrations, promo art and lettering for titles like 'What If' and 'Doctor Who', Zalme contributed comic stories, illustrations for text stories and activity pages for Marvel's MAD clone Crazy Magazine between 1979 and 1981.

'Stink Blasters' comic strip

Licensed work
While still with Marvel, Zalme was already freelancing for other clients, until turning freelance fulltime in 1985. Since then he has developed his own characters, but also drawn licensed properties for the publishing, advertising, and merchandising markets. His art has appeared in printed media like comic books, picture books and how-to-draw books, and on puzzles, games, products, packaging and the internet. Among his many clients have been Scholastic, The Washington Post, Sesame Workshop, Highlights for Children, World Wrestling Entertainment, King Features, Avon Products, Troll Books, Simon & Schuster, McGraw-Hill, Henson Assoc., Pearson Education, and Time for Kids. Throughout the decades Zalme has drawn Disney and 'Sesame Street' characters, Kellogg's mascots, Jim Davis' 'Garfield', Jim Henson's 'Muppets', SEGA's 'Sonic the Hedgehog', 'Pokemon', the 'Rugrats', 'Dora the Explorer' and its spin-off 'Go, Diego, Go', 'LEGO Legends of Chima', characters from the 'Stink Blasters' toy line and the 'Backyards Sports' videogames, and many more properties. In 1993 he made a giveaway comic based on ABC's Saturday morning cartoon series 'CRO' with writer Eric Weiner.

'The Timbertoes' (Highlights for Children, November 2017).

Zalme is also a regular illustrator for Highlights for Children, most notably as the artist of the comics feature about the wooden puppet family 'The Timbertoes', written by Rich Wallace. The feature was created by John Gee in 1951, and continued by Sidney A. Quinn between 1977 and 1994, and then by Marileta Robinson and Judith Hunt until 2002. During their tenure, Zalme and Wallace transformed it from a picture story with text captions into a balloon comic. Zalme illustrated several 'Which Way USA?' puzzle books by Andrew Gutelle for Highlights' publishing division.

Other work
Zalme is additionally the author of his own picture books 'What Did Toby See?' and 'Where Did Toby Go?' (2008), which he originally released as e-books, but later also in print format. In 2017 he released the first issue of his self-published comic book series 'Mata-Hari 5' under his Retro Comix imprint.

His wife Linda is a designer and figurative sculptor of "One-of-a-kind" original art dolls.

'Where Did Toby Go?'.


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