Sunday, February 24, 2008

John Kascht caricatures

Speaking of facing left, here's the top Democratic candidates as caricatured by John Kascht, a spectacular caricaturist. These came from the satire magazine RADAR.

For equal time, here's Kascht's version of outgoing Veep Dick Cheney.

Caricature is not exactly my strong suit, but I managed this quick sketch of Cheney while watching the news one night. I kind of ended up making him look like something from the old UNDERDOG TV show. John K is right--observing reality is a great way to get inspiration for cartoons.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Work doodles

I've been swamped at work and am currently without a scanner but just for the heck of it here's a very random sampling of some work doodles I did recently. Mostly over the past summer. I just noticed every single character is facing left. Cleopatra is in there again for some reason.

You gotta love Yosemite Sam. My favorite Friz Freleng creation, who inspired some of Mel Blanc's best performances. I think I animated him once for some sort of foreign theatrical short but I never saw the finished product. The original shorts are still matchless.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


This is a sketch I did last year that evolved into a kind of contemporary Cleopatra-inspired character. I don't know what she is so ticked off about, maybe she didn't get a valentine...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cleopatra by two cartoonists

WILLIAM STEIG circa 1948

I have posted drawings before by Campbell Grant, these are from IT ALL STARTED WITH EVE, by Richard Armour. I had no idea when I discovered Armour's satirical histories (with Campbell Grant's illustrations) that the entire series was actually sort of an ersatz extension of a book compiled in the 1930's by a humorist named Will Cuppy. That book, THE DECLINE AND FALL OF PRACTICALLY EVERYBODY, was illustrated by William Steig, best known for his New Yorker magazine cartoons and his children's books, including the original SHREK.
Joe Grant (no relation to Campbell) lent me his copy of Cuppy's book about six years ago and immediately I recognized it as the precedent for the Armour/Grant volumes published in the 50's and 60's that turned up in my high school library in the mid-1970's. Not only was Armour using Cuppy's irreverent style (and habit of cluttering pages with deliberately silly footnotes), but Campbell Grant appears to be mimicking Steig's line art of the time (DECLINE was published in 1948). People familiar with Steig's later art will be surprised by these and his very conventional magazine cartoons from the era, which bear resemblance to Syd Hoff's, as Eddie Fitzgerald has noted. Steig's art was very polished and pre-dates Hoff, but these line art samples here are kind almost transitional, though his later art got much farther out.
I always assumed Campbell Grant was channeling Rondald Searle, (who no doubt still influenced things), but it is clear that whoever published the Armour books was looking for something in the identical vein as Cuppy's. The only problem is that Will Cuppy died several years before his book was compiled and edited by an associate. Enter Richard Armour, who was already publishing comic poems and the rest I guess is satirical history. I presume because Armour was a West Coast writer, that they got Campbell Grant because of his West Coast base as well.
These connections and influences fascinate me. This one took me a long time to connect, but it is clear that Grant is trying to evoke something similar to Steig.

I think most of the Armour books are out of print but DECLINE AND FALL recently was reprinted by Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Political Zero

The presidential sweepstakes this year is anything but dull. To add a little extra "oomph" to things here's Zero Mostel in a photo essay posing as a politician. These are from the 1965 book 'ZERO by MOSTEL', with photos by Max Waldman.