The Man Behind the Magazine: An Interview with Chuck Foshee
Being a small business owner means wearing multiple hats. This is certainly true for Charles “Chuck” Foshee, owner, publisher and – until recently – graphic designer of TulsaKids Magazine.
Foshee began his own graphic design business around 1988, after getting his degree in commercial design from the University of Tulsa and subsequently working for Otasco for 16 years. TulsaKids Magazine was one of his first clients. Eventually, late founder Lou Kachigan approached Foshee and Jim Langdon, owner of TulsaPeople Magazine, about purchasing the magazine. They met over coffee and decided to do it.
“Almost a year later,” Foshee says, “Jim and his wife approached me and said, ‘Would you like to buy it? Or, we’ll buy it from you.’ And I said I would buy it, of course. I had a friend once tell me, ‘Never turn down anything because you’ll learn it and you’ll use it later.’”
With several years of entrepreneurial experience, Foshee was ready to embrace the challenge of running a magazine and purchased it outright around 1994.
Design Before the Digital Age
The early days of designing a magazine were far more hands-on than today when you can do just about everything on the computer. Foshee recounts laying everything out on poster board-type paper. He would print out ads and stories, cut them out and paste them down, rearranging as needed.
“Probably took four times as long to do it by hand,” Foshee says, “but that experience, knowing how to do it by hand, makes it faster to do on the computer.”
Photography was also more challenging. The earliest TulsaKids covers feature cartoon drawings because the technology to do cover photos was unavailable. Eventually, however, that changed.
Still, “Before we had digital cameras, we had to shoot [photographs], get them made, scan them,” Foshee says.
Rather than downloading a stock image, all photographs had to be shot on location.
Once the switch to digital was made about 15 years ago, what used to take three weeks of production was cut to three days.
Accomplishments and Aspirations
When asked about the most rewarding aspects of his career with TulsaKids Magazine, Foshee says, “I think being voted Best Magazine for four or five years” by the Parenting Media Association, a trade association for regional and local parenting publications. Foshee said the third-party judging by the University of Missouri School of Journalism professors and the stringent rules made the wins especially gratifying.
TulsaKids most recently won the coveted title of Best Magazine in the 2021 Parenting Media Association Design and Editorial Awards.
Thinking about the future, Foshee is happy to turn over the day-to-day design work to Annie Tyndall, while he focuses more on supervising the business – and he is looking forward to having more time to pursue art.
“I’ve always enjoyed art. Most designers I know are artists first, then they do graphic design, now they’re all going back to art, which is what I’m trying to do,” he says. “Painting, sculpture, pottery work, it just releases you.”