The Grin Big!™ brand was developed by optimist Gary Blehm to spread the power of optimism. The contagiousness of positivity is expressed by the large, half moon shaped grin on the face of Penman, the symbol of optimism and positive vibes since 1989. Since it's creation that broad smile of optimism has conveyed a great joy that goes beyond fun and games. It's a genuine expression of the unbridled happiness you feel in your heart and soul when doing what you truly love. Penman's grin inspires you to follow your dreams. He invites you to live life to the fullest. He motivates you to live large. He calls on you to Grin Big!™
It all began with a single drawing in a one room school house near Aspen, Colorado in 1977 when country boy, Gary Blehm first drew a character with a large, white smile that would shape his life. He told his parents that he would draw the character for a living one day. And he did.
In 1989 Blehm published his first PENMEN poster titled, "FIND THE TWO IDENTICAL PENMEN". The 20 x 30 inch poster was featured 1,039 Penman characters with only two alike.
By the end of 1989 PENMEN posters were selling through national retailer, Prints Plus and fine art distributor, Image Conscious, Inc. From there came Canadian distributor, Imaginous Canada, and Bruce McGaw Graphics in New York. A collection of similar posters would follow throughout the early 1990's leading to a book deal and syndicated comic strip.
By the 2000's Penman had a number of animation adventures. In 2006, Blehm animated PENMEN for Disney Owned Jetix Europe, the 70 language kids network throughout Europe. As Penman was a wordless comic strip the fit was genuine.
By 2012 Blehm re-focused on PENMEN t-shirts with the fitting trademark "Grin Big!™", a colorful t-shirt brand with emphasis on optimism and outdoor recreation.