Spreading the Power of Optimism for 30 Years. What was first envisioned in 1977 in a one room school house near Aspen, Colorado has become a true story of perseverance. During the 1990's while the PENMEN® comic strip ran in national syndication, Gary Blehm, The Penman gave motivational speeches to schools on the subject of optimism, the message behind Blehm's work. Today, Penman continues with the apparel line Grin Big!™. T-shirt designs inspired by Blehm's earliest works make up the collection of these inspiring t-shirts based on optimism and positive vibes.