Archive for the ‘correspondence’ Category

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Education: W L Evans Cartooning Course

W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure

In the teens and twenties, cartooning was a burgeoning field. Every newspaper and magazine employed a crew of artists to fill their pages with topical one panel cartoons and comic strips. Schools were not yet teaching the trade, so several artists took it upon themselves to create mail order cartooning courses.

Here a promotional brochure advertising the W. L. Evans Course in Caricature and Cartooning. Shaped like a miniature artist’s portfolio, and packed with great vintage cartoons and sales information, this brochure outlines why students should take up the noble art of cartooning.

THE W. L. EVANS COURSE (1913)
Promotional Brochure

W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure

A cartoonist is a power. His audience is the boundless public. He is talked about. His work is admired in society. He meets the most prominent people, and becomes personally acquainted with them. He is a critic of the world’s happenings.

And he receives a large salary for his work.

W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure
W L Evans Cartooning Course Brochure

W L Evans Cartooning Course

In 1913, Elzie Segar, aged 18 began a correspondence course headed up by the Cleveland Leader cartoonist, W. L. Evans. The course cost a dollar per lesson and it took Segar a year and a half to complete the 20 lessons. By 1917, he had landed a job penning the "Charlie Chaplin Comic Capers" and "Looping the Loop" strips. In the ad above, Segar is quoted as saying, "I’m getting along fine, and it’s all your fault."

W L Evans Cartooning CourseW L Evans Cartooning CourseDecades later, Segar made mention of his early education in his strip, Thimble Theater. In 1934, his character, Sappo took the W. L. Evans Cartooning Course and delighted readers with cartoon drawings made from letters of the alphabet. Segar wasn’t the only cartoonist who got his start with this course. Chester Gould of Dick Tracy fame was a graduate of the W. L. Evans course, as was Dennis the Menace creator, Hank Ketcham.

Here are the first two lessons that got these great cartoonists started on their career path. If there is interest, I will post more of this landmark course.

W L Evans Cartooning Course
W L Evans Cartooning CourseW L Evans Cartooning Course
W L Evans Cartooning CourseW L Evans Cartooning Course
W L Evans Cartooning CourseW L Evans Cartooning Course
W L Evans Cartooning CourseW L Evans Cartooning Course
W L Evans Cartooning CourseW L Evans Cartooning Course

THE PLATES
W L Evans Cartooning Course
W L Evans Cartooning Course
W L Evans Cartooning Course

THE W. L. EVANS COURSE (1916)
Lesson Two

W L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson Two
W L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson TwoW L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson Two
W L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson TwoW L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson Two
W L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson TwoW L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson Two
W L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson TwoW L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson Two
W L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson Two
W L Evans Cartooning Course Lesson Two

STUDENTS: Print this stuff out and USE IT!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

INSTRUCTIONINSTRUCTION

This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Exhibit: The Zim Course in Cartooning, Comic Art and Caricature

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

A few months ago, I stumbled across a "how to" book on cartooning by Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman. It was titled Zim’s Cartoons & Caricatures, Or Making The World Laugh. I happened to be speaking on the phone to Ralph Bakshi, and I mentioned the book. "Ooooohh! So you’ve discovered ZIM now! He’s one of my secrets…"

In 1967, right after he had resigned as the head of the Paramount cartoon studio, Ralph and his wife Liz were walking through Brooklyn when they saw a sign on an old house advertising an estate sale. They went inside, but it was late in the day and there wasn’t much left. Ralph glanced up at a tall bookcase and saw a pile of pamphlets stacked up on a high shelf. It was too high to reach, so he didn’t bother to look at them. As they were walking out the door, he got the feeling that he needed to go back and look at the pamphlets. It was a good hunch. The stack contained a nearly complete set of Zim’s correspondence course in cartooning. He asked the estate agent how much they cost, and was told $50. That was more than he and his wife had in their pockets, so Liz volunteered to run home and get the money. The Zim books were on his desk every day throughout the production of Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic and especially Coonskin. This set is Ralph’s most prized possession, and now he is sharing them with Animation Resources.

The Zim Book on Cartooning

Zim’s correspondence course was the most highly regarded cartooning course of its day. Spanning 20 volumes, it covered a wide range of subjects, from practical homespun advice to lofty philosophy. Here are some examples of Zim’s genius from the pages of the four volumes we completed digitizing today…

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

The course originally ran in 20 volumes. We have been able to find an earlier edition of the course to supplement and complete Ralph Bakshi’s set. There aren’t chapters or specific assignments. The books consist of page after page of individual nuggets of wisdom. Each book and each page stands on its own.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course
The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

Zim’s course is much more than just a "how to draw" course. In short anecdotal paragraphs, Zim succeeds in conveying what it means to be a cartoonist… the history behind the artform… how to deal with everyday problems and setbacks… and how to live the life of an artist.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

There’s plenty of drawing lessons too. Zim’s masterful expressive line fills every page with perfect examples of the principles he is discussing.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

Zim was the founder of the "grotesque" school of caricature, which formed the basis of what we now call "cartoony drawing". He provides lots of examples of caricatures drawn from life, with photos of his subjects alongside his caricature of the person.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

Zim’s technical skill was unmatched. Just look at the amazing precision and expressiveness of this drawing as he takes it from rough sketch to ink to watercolor.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

The book is full of amusing contrasts. A tip on not thinning your ink too much leads into a speculation on what Rembrandt would be doing if he lived in modern times.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

If you aren’t convinced yet that Zim is a drop dead genius, just click on this image!

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

The most impressive illustrations in the course are the examples of Zim’s rough sketches. He had an uncanny knack for being able to express every nuance of his subject with a free flowing and loose pencil technique.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

He was capable of extreme exaggeration that captured the essence of the unique qualities of the personalities he chose to caricature.

The Zim Cartooning and Caricature Correspondence Course

But the most amazing thing about Zim’s artistry was his ability to draw the viewer into his world and make them feel the way the characters in the drawings feel. Look at these sketches of dogs… They make you feel like a flea bitten hound!

If you would like to see more from the Zim course, let me know in the comments.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Eugene Zim ZimmermanEugene Zim Zimmerman

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit devoted to Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Exhibit: Zim’s Cartoons and Caricatures

The Zim Book on Cartooning

Eugene "Zim" Zimmerman was born in 1862 in Switzerland, and his family emigrated to the United States when he was seven. As a poor immigrant, Zim witnessed the “melting pot” of American culture first hand. His depictions of ethnic minorities were pointed, but honest and well observed. Although he is pretty much forgotten today, he was very well known in his time, and his humor captured the essence of turn-of-the-century America.

The Zim Book on Cartooning

Zim was the founder of the so-called "Grotesque" school of caricature, and was the first caricaturist to incorporate exaggerated cartooniness not only in the faces of his subjects, but in the bodies as well. Zim worked for Puck and Judge, the two top humor magazines of their day. Along with caricatures by George McManus and Frederick Burr Opper, Zim’s caricature of a moon faced grinning kid (an example of which appears on page 3 of this book) was said to be one of the earliest inspirations for Mad magazine’s mascot character, Alfred E. Neuman.

The Zim Book on Cartooning

Zim was a prolific artist, with more than 40,000 illustrations published in his lifetime. He retired from Judge in 1897 and founded the American Association of Cartoonists and Caricaturists. He was also a writer and teacher. His columns ran in Cartoons magazine during the early years of the century, as did ads for his correspondence course in cartooning.

The Zim Book on Cartooning

Animation Resources supporter Marc Schirmeister has been searching high and low for a copy of Zim’s early educational materials with no luck. But recently this 1910 book, packed with tips for the aspiring cartoonist, turned up in a used bookstore in Arizona…

Order The Zim Book on Cartooning

It’s worth noting that the price tag on the cover is an important clue to the value of these lessons to contemporary artists. According to the Consumer Price Index, $5 in 1910 is equivalent to $116 today. Five dollars represented a full day’s labor to many of the cartoonists who bought this book. Zim’s name in gold letters on the cover was the selling point that made so many aspiring cartoonists part with the “five plunks (in real Money)” as Zim so colorfully puts it in his introduction.

Order The Zim Book on Cartooning

These 100 pages are packed with great cartoons, helpful drawing tips, technical information and business advice for the aspiring cartoonist. Most importantly, Zim passes along his unique philosophy of life, and offers a shining example of how an artistic career as a caricaturist can be incorporated into a person’s lifestyle. At the time this book was written, Zim had thirty years of experience under his belt, and had attained the highest level in his field.

Here are just a few choice snippets from this great book…

The Zim Book on Cartooning
The Zim Book on Cartooning
The Zim Book on Cartooning
The Zim Book on Cartooning
Guess who?

If you are a fan of caricature, check out Will Finn’s latest post and the blog of my favorite caricaturist, Marlo Meekins.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Eugene Zim ZimmermanEugene Zim Zimmerman

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit devoted to Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman.