Gahan Wilson, Cartoon Great, Needs Our Help; The Weekend Spill: From Frank Modell’s Library: Introduction To Cartooning By Richard Taylor; Article Of Interest: Edward Koren; Barbara Shermund’s Marker; The Tilley Watch, September 23-27, 2019; Fave Photo Of The Weekend: Liza Donnelly & Jason Chatfield In Thurber’s Hometown

The Go Fund Me Campaign For Gahan Wilson

As most of you know, Gahan Wilson, one of the cartoon world’s greats, has been in need of assistance over this past year. A Go Fund Me effort set up by his step-son, Paul Winters is now back up to help with issues related to Gahan’s most recent difficulties. Read more here, and help if you can.

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From Frank Modell’s Library: Introduction To Cartooning By Richard Taylor

Among the signed cartoon books in the Spill‘s library, Frank Modell’s copy of Richard Taylor’s Introduction To Cartooning is a special favorite. It’s the only instructional book in our collection by a New Yorker cartoonist that belonged to a New Yorker cartoonist.

 

The book was published in 1947, the year after Mr. Modell began his long association with The New Yorker (as well as a contributor, he was, in his earliest years there, assistant to art editor James Geraghty).  What you see in Modell’s copy of Taylor’s book is what you see in many a textbook: essential passages underlined, circled, sometimes with arrows pointing out a word or two.  Many of the selections go to the heart of what it takes to be career cartoonist. Mr Modell learned his lessons well: he spent over half a century at The New Yorker, contributing well over a thousand drawings, as well as half a dozen covers.

Here are just a few pages from Taylor’s book with Modell’s marked passages.

And a nice surprise at the very end of the book on the inside cover, Modell added some sketches:

Richard Taylor’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Richard Taylor (self portrait from Meet the Artist) Born in Fort William, Ontario, Sept. 18, 1902. Died in 1970. NYer work: 1935 -1967. Collections: The Better Taylors ( Random House, 1944, and a reprint edition by World Publishing, 1945), Richard Taylor’s Wrong Bag (Simon & Schuster, 1961). Taylor also authored Introduction to Cartooning ( Watson-Guptill, 1947). From Taylor’s introduction: the “book is not intended to be a ‘course in cartooning’…instead, it attempts to outline a plan of study — something to be kept at the elbow to steer by.”

 

Frank Modell’s entry:

Frank Modell Born, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 6, 1917. Died, May 27, 2016, Guilford, Connecticut. New Yorker work: 1946–1997. Mr. Modell began his New Yorker career as assistant to the Art Editor, James Geraghty. He soon began contributing his cartoons (and cartoon ideas for others), with his first drawing appearing July 20, 1946. Besides his work for The New Yorker, he was a children’s book author and an actor (he appeared, most notably, in Woody Allen’s 1980 film, Stardust Memories). Key collection: Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! (Dodd, Mead, 1978).

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Article Of Interest: Edward Koren

From The Manchester Journal, September 27, 2019, “‘Into The Wild’ With A Vermont Cartoonist; Ed Koren’s Drawings Explore The Funny Side Of The Rural-Urban Divide”.

Mr. Koren began contributing to The New Yorker in 1962. Visit his website here.

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Barbara Shermund’s Marker

Stephen Nadler of Attempted Bloggery updates us on the grave marker for the great New Yorker artist Barbara Shermund.  Read here.

Ms. Shermund’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Barbara Shermund (self portrait, above) Born, San Francisco. 1899. Studied at The California School of Fine Arts. Died, 1978, New Jersey. New Yorker work: June 13, 1925 thru September 16, 1944. 8 covers and 599 cartoons. Shermund’s post-New Yorker work was featured in Esquire. (See Liza Donnelly’s book, Funny Ladies — a history of The New Yorker’s women cartoonists — for more on Shermund’s life and work).

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A  end of the week listing of the New Yorker cartoonists who contributed to the magazine’s Daily Cartoon and/or Daily Shouts

The Daily Cartoon: Teresa Burns Parkhurst, Brendan Loper, Lila Ash, Evan Lian, and J.A.K.

Daily Shouts: Liana Finck

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Fave Photo Of the Weekend: Donnelly and Chatfield In Columbus, Ohio

Two New Yorker cartoonists ran into each other in James Thurber‘s Hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

Mr. Chatfield is attending the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus convention and Ms. Donnelly is there attending the AAEC 2019 Annual Convention.

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker (Double) Issue, July 8 & 15, 2019; Today’s Daily Cartoonist’s Cartoon

The Cover: A hot dog cart guy gets some beach time on Peter De Seve’s cover.  Read the Cover Story here.

The Cartoonists:

The Newbies: Making their New Yorker print debut this week: Victor Varnado and Akeem Roberts. They become the record-setting nineteenth and twentieth new cartoonists entering the magazine’s stable of artists this year and the forty-fifth and forty-sixth new artists brought in under cartoon editor Emma Allen’s stewardship, begun in May of 2017.

The Cartoons: Brief thoughts on some of the thirteen cartoons in the issue:

Roz Chast’s Ordinary Kreskin drawing (p. 37).  Love Ms. Chast’s right-to-the-point drawings, like this one. Perhaps not so unusual, but noticeable: she’s drawn Mr. Kreskin with five fingers (a lot of cartoonists find four will do for their cartoon characters). 

Liana Finck’s talking baby (p. 44).  A terrific twist on an end-of-life sentiment. I found myself wondering if it would’ve been equally successful had the baby been talking to another baby.

Ed Steed’s hammered drawing (p.54).  At first glance on my laptop, before zooming in on the drawing I thought that Mr. Steed had done a mash-up drawing with George Booth. If you squint your eyes, it’s a very Boothian room (the perspective, the hanging ceiling lamp, the floorboards, wall objects). 100% Steedian is the idea itself and the Steedian happily hammering woman.

My confused initial take on seeing the drawing leads me to toss out a suggestion. There’s been plenty written on this site about cartoon collaboration, but those duets have involved a writer teamed with an artist (or two artists collaborating) with just one person doing the drawing.  Howz about for fun we see some artists team-up and create a drawing or two with multiple styles in one frame. Some suggestions: Chast/Finck, Dator/Donnelly,  Hwang/Shanahan, Sipress/Allenby,  Kenseth/Koren…just a thought. (Liza Donnelly and I had a ton ‘o’ fun doing a series of mash-up full-page graphic pieces for our 2009 collection, Cartoon Marriage)  

Paul Noth’s line of succession drawing (p. 58). Mr. Noth delivers a great drawing.  I only wish it had been given more breathing room (such as Mr. Steed’s). 

Robert Leighton’s drawing (p.32) features a caption that would probably be right at home in a positive thinking seminar.  Yet another Leighton drawing destined for many a refrigerator.   

Karen Sneider’s funny fish in bed recalls the classic George Price drawing published in the magazine’s issue of December 21, 1963

Rea Irvin: Mr. Irvin (with Harold Ross and his then-wife, Jane Grant) was a founder of The New Yorker‘s graphic architecture. Consider his adapted typeface (the so-called Irvin typeface) that is part of the magazine’s DNA, the breadth of cartoon worlds he encouraged as art supervisor, his department heading designs, and his numerous covers (including, of course, the magazine’s brilliant first that gave us Eustace Tilley). Tis a puzzlement that his iconic heading for the Talk Of The Town remains under a tarp. Here it is below, and here’s where you can read about its removal in 2017.

 

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist’s Cartoon

Singin’ under the drip from Amy Kurzweil, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016. Visit her website here.

Two Peacocks Walk Into A Room; Rare Book Of Interest: A John M. Price Cartoon Anthology: Sara Lautman’s Daily Shouts; Today’s Daily Cartoonist: Avi Steinberg

In one of those million-to-one cartoon moments, both my colleague Harry Bliss (with his collaborator Steve Martin) and I have similar drawings out this week (his in his syndicated daily spot, and mine in The New Yorker). What’s unusual, besides the timing of publication, and the peacock standing in a doorway in both drawings, is the use of the peacock itself. A quick visit to the New Yorker‘s Cartoon Bank site turned up peacock drawings by a dozen artists. I have to think there were a number more in the magazine’s ninety-four years (the Cartoon Bank site does not provide every cartoon in the magazine’s archive). The listed peacock drawings are by: Mick Stevens, Sam Gross, Will McPhail, John O’Brien, George Booth, Bernard Schoenbaum, George Price, Edward Koren, Saul Steinberg (he has three), Robert Day, Mort Gerberg, and Victoria Roberts. There were also three peacock covers shown. The artists:  Joseph Low (the peacock is a minor character in his cover), Steinberg, and the one-and-only Rea Irvin. 

I asked Mr. Bliss if he’d like to comment on our dual peacock drawings, and here’s what he had to say:

That’s crazy! I didn’t get my new issue of The New Yorker yet, so I didn’t even know that was in there.  When I initially did my drawing, from an idea given to me by Steve Martin, I think I mentioned to Emma [Emma Allen, The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor] that I wanted it to be in color. Seeing yours now, makes me wonder if they bought yours before they had seen mine and the reason they didn’t buy mine and Steve’s is because they had already bought yours… Similars? Anyway, I think the reason there aren’t that many peacock cartoons out there is because the damn thing is so hard to draw!

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Rare Book Of Interest: A John M. Price Anthology

Warren Bernard (of SPX fame) has alerted the Spill to another rarity: a cartoon collection of work by John M. Price who contributed four drawings to the magazine (Mr. Bernard tells me that three of Mr. Price’s four New Yorker drawings appear in the collection). Here’s Price’s rather skimpy bio on the A-Z (if anyone out there has more info please send this way):

John M. Price Born  (Pennsylvania?) February 5, 1918, died January 19, 2009, Radnor, Pennsylvania. New Yorker work: February 17, 1940, March 9, 1940, June 8, 1941, and August 30, 1941. His work appeared in many publications, including The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, The Country Gentleman, and Colliers. Key collection (self published) Don’t Get Polite with Me.

*Chris Wheeler’s fabulous site also has a scan of Price’s book (including the back cover), but I have to admit the cover never registered in my brain’s cartoon catalog. Now, having registered it, the book becomes a must-have for the Spill‘s library.  

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A Daily Shouts By…

Sara Lautman, who began contributing to The New Yorker in 2016, contributed yesterday’s Daily Shouts.

 

 

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist/Cartoon

 

An Avi Steinberg summer vacation/global warming cartoon. Mr. Steinberg began contributing to The New Yorker in 2012.  More about him here on Jane Mattimoe’s Case For Pencils.

 

 

George Booth’s New Yorker Golden Anniversary!

Let us raise our cartoon glasses and toast to the great New Yorker artist, George Booth. His very first New Yorker drawing appeared in the issue dated this day in 1969. His most recent drawing appeared in the magazine’s issue of June 10, 2019. My math tells me that he has now been contributing to The New Yorker for half a century.

I’ve always felt that Mr. Booth’s arrival at The New Yorker  was part of a transitional moment for the magazine’s art, helping it move from its mid-1950s Eisenhower-ish slumber to the excitement right around the bend in the late 1960s and 1970s. In the decade Mr. Booth’s work appeared, The New Yorker had lost two of its giants: James Thurber in 1961, and Peter Arno in 1968. Tremendous losses, but also a decade of tremendous gain for the magazine when the art editor, James Geraghty brought in a number of artists who would also become giants in their field: Edward Koren in 1962, Charles Barsotti, Sam Gross, and George Booth in 1969.  How fortunate we are that three of these artists continue showering us with their work right up to today (Charles Barsotti passed away five years ago this week).

By the time I was making a serious effort to get into The New Yorker in the mid 1970s (my work rejected a mountain of times by Mr. Geraghty), Booth, Koren, Barsotti and Gross had already been added to the New Yorker’s  Mt. Rushmore of cartoonists; their work impossibly inspiring. I felt (and still feel) about Booth’s drawings as I felt about work by Thurber and Hokinson and Steig and Saxon, and Peter Arno and Steinberg (and many more): it cannot get any better than this.

(above: A Booth New Yorker cartoon from the issue of March 25, 1991)

As with so many, if not all of the New Yorker great artists, there is an education for aspiring cartoonists, and published cartoonists as well, in every single one of their drawings. Even this morning looking through Booth’s work, I find my electrical cartoon current even buzzier than usual. There’s beauty and excitement in Booth’s art, and of course, there’s that signature Boothian barrel of fun.

For those wanting more of his work, Omnibooth is a great place to dive in.  Find Lee Lorenz’s The Essential George Booth (Workman Publishing Company, 1998) and you’ll be treated to a mini-bio of Booth as well as samples of pre-New Yorker work. There is also his classic 1975 collection, Think Good Thoughts About A Pussycat (Dodd, Mead & Co.).

And very luckily for us all, Nathan Fitch’s documentary film on Booth, Drawing Life  is well on its way.

I  leave you with a small sample of Mr. Booth’s cover work, and with hearty applause for George Booth — a fine person, and an exceptional artist.

 

Note: Here’s what Fred Taraba of Taraba Illustration Art had to say about the Skittish Dog drawing shown at the head of this post: Not published, rather a version of one of Booth’s most recognized cartoons. The published version appeared in The New Yorker on August 15th, 1977. A third version appears in the book, Omnibooth: The Best of George Booth.

 

 

A Tour Of Harry Bliss’s “Ink Slingers” Exhibit In New Hampshire

 
While browsing New Yorker cartoonist/cartoon info online yesterday I came across this enticing entry:
 
“Ink Slingers,” an exhibition of cartoon drawings from the collection of New Yorker cartoonist, and Cornish resident, Harry Bliss, is on view at Philip Read Memorial Library in Plainfield. The show, which includes original drawings by cartoonists and illustrators, is on view through June.
 
I contacted Mr. Bliss for more information on the exhibit and was delighted and grateful that he agreed to send, via photographs and text, the entire exhibit to the Spill.  Below are Mr. Bliss’s photos of the pieces as they are hung (it’s a wonderful extra touch that you can make out his image reflected in a few of the pieces) as well as his accompanying text for each piece. I’m showing the entire exhibit here, with New Yorker  cartoonists work first, and then work by George McManus (“Bringing Up Father”), Bill Peet, Milton Caniff, Russell Myers, and Walt Kelly.
 
Enjoy!
 
 
 

This is a New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams. Addams was a student at the University of Pennsylvania for a brief time, though my friend Ed Koren would argue this point (Ed Koren is wrong). Addams studied architecture at Penn and that’s why he was so good at delineating all of the details in the Addams family home. When I was a child growing up in upstate New York I would pour over Charles Addams cartoons and I especially loved all those details – so lush and the drawing was skillful and had such personality. This particular cartoon is an early Addams, probably 1937 or earlier and he hadn’t invented his Addams family characters yet, but the attention to detail is still there. The caption is: “I think we need to make a few changes at the training table.” Addams didn’t write most of his gags, he employed gag writers, very common back then. Charles Addams is the reason I began working for The New Yorker.

This is a color sketch for a proposed cover for The New Yorker by Garrett Price, a fantastic cover artist and cartoonist who did nearly 100 covers for The New Yorker over the years. Here we see people on a bus, probably tourists, looking out at the United Nations. In the far right corner you can see all the flags… Stylistically, this is uncharacteristic of Price’s work, but I love the unorthodox application of paint, Van Gogh-like swirls and all. This is a fine example of what we cover artists have to send in when we pitch covers for the New Yorker. Sometimes they’re not as finished as this, in a rush, black and white, but mostly they are finished like this, in full color so our non visual editors really get the idea.

 

I love this illustration. It’s by Robert Grossman. It’s all airbrush and it’s a portrait of Howard Hughes. Robert Grossman was one of the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century. He was a master of caricature and airbrush and his work spilled out onto the pages of Ramparts, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and every other left-leaning magazine you can think of. He did album covers for The Grateful Dead, The Who and countless more…and of course, the movie poster for the hilarious film Airplane. Google him!

 

This is by my dear friend and Vermont cartoonists Ed Koren. Ed has been a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine since the late 1960s and I am proud to call him my friend. I grew up enjoying his furry characters in the pages of The New Yorker magazine when they arrived at our home. A few years after we had met, in the early 2000’s, I was struggling a bit, finding it hard coming up with ideas. Ed gave me a wonderful piece of advice that I will never forget, He said ‘just draw’. Seems so simple, but it really works. The organic process of sitting down, putting pen to paper and watching the line move about on the surface will inevitably morph into something…and before you know it, your creativity is off and running!

 

This is an original by a wonderful New Yorker cartoonist who passed away a few years ago, Leo Cullum. Leo got his start at The New Yorker in the early 70s, I think. I have always loved the expression of deadpan on his characters. There is a sardonic visual mirth hidden in those eyes – typical of many of the 1980s New Yorker cartoons.

 

This is one of my cartoons that ran in The New Yorker a few years back. It’s done in black ink and graphite on acid free sketchbook paper. I have many therapy-based cartoons. Why? For so many reasons, too many to list here. If I were to list the reasons, you would feel like my therapist and then I would have to pay you.

 

This is the title page for a story that I did for my cover editor at The New Yorker, Francoise Mouly and her husband, the cartoonist, Art  Spiegelman. They had published a series of oversized picture books entitled Little Lit: Comics for Kids, and asked me to contribute a story. All of the stories in the first volume are based on folktales and I chose ‘The Baker’s Daughter and Irish folk tale about a selfish girl who pays for her lack of empathy. The experience of working with Art Spiegelman was one I will never forget. I spent two days in his studio breaking down this story into panels and pages…Comics. Everything Art had communicated to me back then I still employ in the work I do today.

 

Bringing Up Father:
This strip is by George McManus and he is one of the greatest comic strip artists of the 20th century. I have three of his strips in my collection, one of them is a Sunday and is absolutely gorgeous. There’s no mistaking McManus‘s style, his use of texture and steady black line work along with perfectly placed blacks makes him unique amongst all cartoonists working at this time.

 

Bill Peet was a remarkable children’s book artist, writer and also a Disney animator who wrote 101 Dalmatians for the film. I had always loved Bill Pete’s books, marveled at his expressive/gestural drawings and his use of colored pencil, really a gifted colorist and a wonderful draftsperson. I had communicated with Bill In 1999 and we sent a few letters back-and-forth. Then, one day I opened my mail to find this wonderful little sketch that he gave to me. He tried to write a little note on it, but his wife let me know that he just didn’t have it in him to finish, he was very old and did not have a steady hand.

 

This comic strip is by the great Milton Caniff. It’s a Terry and the Pirates daily strip, done in black ink with a brush. This is typical of Caniff’s work throughout the run of this particular comic strip, which was immensely popular. Caniff, along with Will Eisner often employed cinematic techniques in their work, using different perspectives, POVs, and dramatic lighting to get a specific effect.

 

One of the nice things about being a syndicated cartoonist is that often times I get the opportunity to trade original art with another cartoonist I admire. In this case, I traded an original drawing of mine for this wonderful large panel of Broom Hilda by Russell Myers. I grew up loving Broom Hilda as a kid, all those terrific Sunday strips in the Comics section of The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. I always knew I needed to have an original in my collection and Russell was kind enough to trade with me.

 

This is a graphite drawing done by my uncle Harry back in the 1970s. My uncle was a fantastic artist and quite successful in and around Rochester New York. He and my father and my other uncles (too many artists!) opened a graphic design studio in Rochester (Studio 5 Graphics) – working for Kodak, French‘s, Xerox and other businesses back in the day when ad agencies outsourced design work. As much as I loved my uncles work, I felt he was too heavily influenced by the work of one of his heroes, Andrew Wyeth. Once, on a book tour, I had the chance to meet Andrew and Betsy Wyeth in 2008, spent 2 1/2 hours at their home in Chadds Ford Pennsylvania in front of a massive stone fireplace, laughing and talking about art and life. Andy was genuinely charmed by the crude sincerity of some of my cartoon drawings…I’ll never forget this.

 

This gorgeous Sunday original Pogo page is by Walt Kelly, arguably one of the greatest cartoonists of all time. He’s a cartoonists cartoonist. I don’t know any cartoonist who doesn’t marvel at Kelly’s brush work. Even more remarkable is all of the hand-lettering, all done by Kelly. Who can forget Pogo’s great line spoken as he looks out at his polluted swamp, “I have met the enemy, and he is us.” Sobering words that still resonate.

 

For further information on the exhibit, visit the library website here.

Again, my thanks to Harry Bliss for allowing us to take the tour.