Archive for the ‘comics’ Category

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Newspaper Comics: Trog’s Rufus and Flook

Trog's Rufus and Flook

Trog's Rufus and FlookTrog's Rufus and FlookToday, I’m posting a complete story by a comic strip artist whose name won’t be familiar to you unless you grew up in England in the 50s and 60s… he went by the name of "Trog". The nickname, short for "Troglodyte", came from his days hunkered down in air raid shelters during WW2. His real name is Wally Fawkes, and he’s one of those artists who has had two equally noteworthy careers- one as a cartoonist and the other as a Jazz musician.

Trog's Rufus and FlookTrog's Rufus and FlookFawkes played clarinet in Humphrey Lyttleton’s jazz band in the 40s and 50s, and was one of the finest Jazz musicians in Britain. But in 1956, he launched a simultaneous career as a cartoonist, which brought him even more fame. “To cartoonists, I was always the one who played jazz. To musicians, I was always the one who drew cartoons.” he once said. But his talent for capturing personality through caricature was his strongest suit. Fellow artist, Nicholas Garland wrote of his political cartoons, "Very few artists can see a likeness the way he can, and catch it so completely. He doesn’t develop a hieroglyph for each politician and then simply reach for it each time it is needed. Every Trog caricature is carefully recrafted." You can see this in the story that follows in this post. Trog doesn’t simply copy the caricatured heads from panel to panel. He’s able to convey the essence of the caricature from a different angle in almost every frame.

Trog's Rufus and Flook

At age 21, Fawkes entered an art contest that was being judged by the Daily Mail cartoonist, Leslie Illingworth. Illingworth was impressed with Fawkes’ work and got the young artist a job at the Daily Mail. Using his nickname, Trog, Fawkes created a comic strip about an imaginary furry creature named "Flook". It became an instant hit and Trog became the toast of the town. At a reception soon after its launch the Daily Mail’s owner, Lady Rothermere asked him, "How is your lovely little furry thing?" Trog replied, "Fine thank you. How is yours?" The cartoonist had to beat a quick retreat after that quip, but admitted that he couldn’t help himself when presented with such a perfect setup.

Trog's Rufus and Flook

Trog worked with several writers on the strip over the years- Compton Mackenzie, George Melly and Humphrey Lyttleton among others- and the direction of the strip evolved from a light hearted fantasy for children to pointed political humor similar to Walt Kelly’s Pogo. But the stories aren’t the reason that Rufus and Flook are so interesting today- it’s the unique drawings.

Trog's Rufus and Flook

When I first ran across this strip, I admit that I really didn’t know what to think about it. The drawings of the main character Flook were dumbfoundingly ignorant. But the incidental characters were wonderfully observed, sharp caricatures of British society at the time. And the backgrounds often included perfectly thought out compositions with impeccable architectural perspective and beautiful stylization of folliage. At first, this sharp contrast between ignorance and genius can be jarring. But after reading a while, the direct, simplistic looseness of the main characters and the planned and observed structure of the rest of the drawings don’t clash because Trog’s stylish sense of fun makes it all work.

Trog's Rufus and FlookTrog's Rufus and FlookRufus and Flook continued in the Daily Mail for 40 years, until Trog’s jabs at Margaret Thatcher earned him the scorn of the paper’s conservative editorial staff. He never took censorship personally though. In 1977, when one of Trog’s political cartoons of Cyril Smith was rejected, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s their paper." After leaving the Daily Mail,Trog moved on to the Mirror and the Sunday Telegraph until his failing eyesight forced him to retire from his art career in 2005 and pick up the clarinet again.

Personally, I think it’s a shame Fawkes isn’t better known in the US. Perhaps the softspoken, rambling British tone of the stories and the topical nature of the satire doesn’t come across at all any more, but those drawings- wow!

Trog's Rufus and Flook

This story from early in the strip’s run comes from an extremely rare paperback compilation, titled simply Flook…

RUFUS & FLOOK in
ROMAN’ IN THE GLOAMIN’

Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook
Trog's Rufus and Flook

Richard Warren has written an interesting article on Flook on his blog. Check it out. Let me know if you would like to see more by Trog in the comments.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Cartooning: Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning Part Four

Earl Oliver Hurst
Thanks to Clarke Snyder for this great Hurst ad.

We continue our series of posts on Gene Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning with the section dealing with…

MAGAZINE CARTOONING
Introduction by Charles D. Rice

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

PERRY BARLOW

Perry Barlow worked along side a star-studded group of cartoonists at The New Yorker which included, among others, James Thurber, Peter Arno, Gardner Rea, Charles Addams, Whitney Darrow Jr, Sam Cobean and William Steig. From its inception, The New Yorker was, as its founding editor Harold Ross described it, "a reflection in the word and picture of metropolitan life". The images were equal with the words, and this magazine contributed greatly to the development of cartooning. Here, Barlow discusses his ideating process for a Halloween cover.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

WILLIAM VON RIEGEN

Von Riegen was featured in our previous post from this book, Part Three: Sketching. His gesture drawings were greatly admired.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

EARL OLIVER HURST

Earl Oliver Hurst

Earl Oliver Hurst has been profiled extensively at Shane Glines’ excellent Cartoon Retro site. Hurst was primarily a "pretty girl" cartoonist whose work appeared in Colliers, True and American Weekly. His ads for Jantzen are particularly popular among current cartoonists. If you would like to see more, there is a great book on Hurst at Amazon… The Art Of Earl Oliver Hurst

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Earl Oliver Hurst
Earl Oliver Hurst

KURT STOESSEL

H. Kurt Stoessel was born in 1909 in Germany, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was an illustrator and art director for several national magazines including The Atlantic. He lived and worked in Boulder, Colorado his entire career, and passed away on this day in 1984.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

FRED COOPER

You may not know the name of Fred Cooper but you certainly have seen his work. He was a letterer, poster designer, illustrator, cartoonist, writer and teacher. Leslie Cabarga describes him as the original "clip art" artist- his "big head" cartoon characters were seen in dozens of magazines of the teens and twenties, and continue to be in use to this day. For more on this influential cartoonist, see Allan Holtz’s tribute in Strippers, and Cabarga’s book The Lettering and Graphic Design of F.G. Cooper

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

GLUYAS WILLIAMS

We mentioned Gluyas Williams was one of the most prolific and influential cartoonists of the 1920s. His work appeared in The New Yorker, Colliers and Life. Robert Benchley wrote, "I believe that Williams’ drawings will be preserved for expert contemplation both as data on the manners and customs of our day, and as graceful and important examples of its art." For more great work by cartoonist Gluyas Williams, see David King’s gluyaswilliams.com

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ROBERT OSBORN

Robert Osborn was a cartoonist whose style influenced the UPA artists greatly. He worked with John Hubley on the film, Flat Hatting. He also did a great deal of illustration for the War Department, which we will be featuring in an upcoming post.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

BARTOLI

Bartoli’s ink drawings appeared on the covers of quite a few issues of Holiday magazine in the late 40s and 50s. I haven’t been able to find out much information about him. Perhaps someone out there knows and will post some biographic info on him to the comments below.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

MICHAEL BERRY

Michael Berry contributed pretty girl cartoons to Pictorial Review, Esquire, Liberty and The New Yorker.

Magazine Illustration by Michael Berry
Magazine Illustration by Michael Berry
Magazine Illustration by Michael Berry

JOHN RUGE

John Ruge’s elegant girl drawings appeared in Colliers in the late 40s and Playboy in the early 50s. His comic about an Irish Setter named Clancy was also popular.

Magazine Illustration by John Ruge
Magazine Illustration by John Ruge

RALPH STEIN & STAN HUNT

Ralph Stein was the author of a collection of pinup girl art titled The Pinup From 1852 to Now. He wrote the Popeye newspaper comic in the 1950s, and was an avid classic car enthuiast. Stan Hunt was a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He attended the New York School of Art and apprenticed under Willard Mullin. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 77.

Magazine Illustration by Ralph Stein
Magazine Illustration by Stan Hunt

RICHARD SARGENT

Richard Sargent contributed images to Pictorial Review and The Saturday Evening Post.

Magazine Illustration by Richard Sargent
Magazine Illustration by Richard Sargent

JAN BALET

Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet
(See Lief Peng’s Flickr set for more images by Jan Balet.
)

Jan Balet was a childrens book illustrator who also did artwork for several women’s magazines.

Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet

RICHARD TAYLOR & FRANK OWEN

Richard Taylor was a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Playboy. Frank Owen was a cartoonist for The Saturday Evening Post He was the one who came up with the original story idea for the Disney’s cartoon, Morris, the Midget Moose.

Magazine Illustration by Richard Taylor and Frank Owen

THE IMPORTANCE OF CARTOONS IN ADVERTISING
By Don Herold

Magazine Illustration by Don Herold

A STUDY IN LAUGHS

Gyne Brynes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Gyne Brynes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ROY DOTY

Roy Doty

Over the past half century, Roy Doty has been a cartoonist and illustrator with over 60 children’s books to his credit. He was awarded a Reuben by the National Cartoonist Society in 2006. See RoyDoty.com to see what he’s up to lately.

Magazine Illustration by Roy Doty and Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Roy Doty and Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Roy Doty and Jan Balet

Many thanks to Marc Crisafulli and David King for sharing this great book with us.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Magazine Cartoons.

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Cartooning: Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning Part Three

Heinrich Kley

We continue our series of posts on Gene Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning with the section on the fundamental skill that at is the root of all pictorial art…

SKETCHING
Introduction by Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

WILLIAM VON RIEGEN

"William Von Riegen, with his studies of figure drawing, claims that this type of exercise gives him a looseness and freedom of line that he couldn’t get in any other way. Von Riegen is an outstandingly talented young man in the field- an especially fine artist." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

FINE ARTISTS

In this section, Byrnes does a fine job of clearly showing the link between fine art and cartooning.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

HEINRICH KLEY

"Heinrich Kley as a pen and ink artist is in a class by himself. I know of nobody who ever had the freedom of line with a pen that could compare with Kley’s. Each of his drawings is a little masterpiece." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ROGER VERNAM

"Roger Vernam’s animals are good examples of on the spot sketching. In his book published by Harper, entitled Drawing People For Fun, he sketches people from all walks of life." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

GORDON GRANT

"Gordon Grant, the world renowned marine artist, whose work appears in dozens of art museums, works in oil, watercolor, and pen and ink. Whenever he has any spare time, he uses it to sketch. His sketches on the following pages were taken from his private sketchbooks and were done on a trip through Brittany. They were accomplished with a fountain pen and no preliminary pencil work." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

HOWARD BRODIE

"Howard Brodie’s portrait sketches were done in Germany when he was an artist correspondent with the United States Army. His drawings of the G,I. the battle scenes, and the action that he portrayed while he was in the Army have made him famous." -Gene Byrnes

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

FURTHER READING

Byrnes Complete Guide To CartooningByrnes Complete Guide To CartooningIn his blog, Temple of the Seven Camels, Mark Kennedy has been offering sage advice to beginning animators about the value of carrying a sketchbook with you wherever you go. Make sure to read the whole series…

Carrying A Sketchbook Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four

Searle's Secret Sketchbook

…And don’t miss his posts on Ronald Searle’s Secret Sketchbook Part One and Part Two; and Ken Anderson’s Africa Sketchbook

Drawings By Heinrich KleyIf you don’t have The Drawings of Heinrich Kley in your library, get over to Amazon right away and order it. As Gene Byrnes says, no cartoonist should be without this book!

Many thanks to Marc Crisafulli and David King for sharing this great book with us.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.