Artist Highlight: Charles M. Schulz, Part 1

It wouldn’t be fair, I suppose, to start my blog post with “Once upon a time a boy was born named Charles Monroe Schulz on the 26th of November 1922…etc… etc.”. Although as a starting sentence it might seem triggering, it doesn’t depict how I interpret Peanuts. For me, it is an ongoing caricaturized autobiography or a biography of what it is to be human rather than a very familiar and famous comic strip.  Therefore, allow me to start this text in the following way: Continue reading “Artist Highlight: Charles M. Schulz, Part 1”



“I ain’t a Kat… and I ain’t Krazy… it’s what’s behind me that I am… it’s the idea behind me, Ignatz, and that’s wot I am.”-Krazy Kat.

Krazy Kat was never a massive commercial success but it helped define the rules of an emerging art form and inspired multiple varying interpretations. Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle said it was “to comic books what Chuck Berry is to rock and roll.” Comiczine described it as “Tom & Jerry if it had been written by James Joyce and illustrated by Pablo Picasso.” Continue reading “THE KURIOUS KONTRADICTIONS OF A KRAZY KAT”

Jane’s Journal, The Diary of a Bright Young Thing (1932-1959)

Jane’s Journal, the Diary of a Bright Young Thing, was launched in the Daily Mirror in 1932.   Drawn by Norman Pett, it was his response to a challenge to create a comic strip that would be as popular with adults as the famous Pip, Squeak & Wilfred (started in the Mirror in 1919) was with children.

Norman Pett.

William Norman Pett was born in 1891.   After being invalided out of the armed forces during the Great War, he took a correspondence course in drawing from Percy Bradshaw’s Press Art School, which also taught many other cartoonists.   Later, he taught art at the Mosley Road Junior Art School and at Birmingham Central School of Art.   In the 1920s Pett worked as a Punch cartoonist as well as producing cartoons for other publications.   Pett initially used his wife Mary as a life model for Jane.   When Mary developed other interests, Pett then used another artists’ model that he met at the Central School of Art, Christabel Leighton-Porter, as his new life model. Continue reading “Jane’s Journal, The Diary of a Bright Young Thing (1932-1959)”

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Garretson Beekham Trudeau was born in New York City in 1948.  At school he specialised in painting, but later developed an interest in the graphic arts and spent much of his time at Yale University (1966-70) drawing cartoons for Yale’s humorous magazine, The Yale Record, and the student newspaper The Yale Daily NewsGarry_Trudeau_Net_Worth  He became a postgraduate student at the Yale School of Art, gaining a master’s degree in graphic design in 1973.   His cartoon strip Bull Tales, produced while he was still an undergraduate, developed into the Doonesbury strip in 1970.   Within 10 years of its first appearance, Doonesbury was syndicated in 900 American newspapers.   Trudeau was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartoons in 1975, the first to receive this accolade.   He sees himself as a typical baby boomer with a liberal East Coast outlook. Continue reading “Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau”

Discovering Rupert Bear at the Cartoon Museum

Rupert Bear was first imagined and drawn by Mary Tourtel, although on his first appearance – in the Daily Express on 8 November 1920 – he was just called “the little lost bear”. She drew Rupert for 15 years, then handed him over to Alfred Edmeades Bestall, the best-known Rupert illustrator, in 1935.   Bestall in turn drew Rupert for 30 years, giving up the regular role in 1965 – though he did continue to produce some special drawings for another 20 years. Continue reading “Discovering Rupert Bear at the Cartoon Museum”

Artist Highlight: William James Affleck Shepherd

Have you ever had that moment when you decide to watch that indie film that not even the indie festivals screened? Have you ever picked up a completely random book at the library that you had never heard of before, but it pulled at you for no obvious reason so you decided to give it a go? Has that act ever given you that amazing feeling of discovery afterwards? Art and beauty are all around us but because we are usually attracted to –and blinded by- the limelight, we fail to find it. Still, sometimes we stumbled upon something special and oh, the glory. To find that piece of wonder and be awed, giddy with the high only a treasure hunter who just unearthed a chest full of jewels can feel. Well those moments are special and ought to be shared, which is why I am yapping here today in an attempt to talk to you about a gem I unearthed (don’t worry, I wasn’t the first one). His name is William James Affleck Shepherd, and his story is quite something. Continue reading “Artist Highlight: William James Affleck Shepherd”

Dudley Watkins and Oor Wullie: A Brief Snapshot

Dudley Dexter Watkins was born on 27 February 1907 in Manchester, and raised in Nottingham as the eldest of three children. His father was a lithographic artist and encouraged the artistic talent of his son, who by the age of 11 had 4 paintings on display in an exhibition in Nottingham Castle. In 1919 Watkins attended evening classes at Nottingham School of Art. He later worked for Boots the Chemist, where one of his tasks was window-dressing.

Dudley blue big
Dudley Watkins.

By 1924 Watkins was on a full-time arts scholarship at the School of Art.   He was spotted by a talent scout from D.C. Thomson, who offered him a job as staff artist.  Watkins took up the post in 1925 when he moved to Dundee, where D.C. Thomson was based. The first strip which can be identified as done by Watkins was PC99, which appeared in the Rover Midget Comic in February 1933. Other strips he produced included Percy Vere and His Trying Tricks and Wandering Willie, the Wily Explorer. Among his most famous strips were The Broons and Oor Wullie, which features in the Daily Funnies exhibtion at the Cartoon Museum (running until December 2017). Continue reading “Dudley Watkins and Oor Wullie: A Brief Snapshot”

Pop: The First British Daily Strip for Adults!

It was the 21st of May, 1921, when the pages of the Daily Sketch were brightened by the first daily strip aimed at a mature audience. Originally the title was meant to be Reggie Breaks it Gently, which was a characterization of a man who was soon to be married, but that changed rather quickly when it became evident that the real star of the strip was Pop, the head of the family.  The strip itself ended up having his name. Continue reading “Pop: The First British Daily Strip for Adults!”

The Daily Funnies: An Exhibition of Strip Cartoon

Daily Funnies or the Art of the Strip Cartoon is the title of the current exhibition at the Cartoon Museum. Cartoon strips occupy a special place in the world of cartoon and comic art. Appearing as they do every day or every week in newspapers and magazines, they reach a public who might not consider themselves cartoon fans. Readers become so attached to their favourite strip that when it ends they feel as though they have lost and old friend. Some strips outlive their creators: Fred Basset, Dick Tracy and Oor Wullie are just a few examples. Others, such as Peanuts, are so closely bound to their original artists that no one else can replace them. There is a rhythm or pulse to the art of the comic strip, like a limerick or a haiku or a joke well told. To be able to tell a small story or raise a smile in the space of a few panels is a skill few people master. Continue reading “The Daily Funnies: An Exhibition of Strip Cartoon”

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