Virgil “Vip” Partch is one of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived, but the simplicity and directness of his style belie its sophistication. Born in 1916, Partch studied under Rico LeBrun at Choiuinard Art Institute, before joining the Disney studios as a story man. His influence can be seen clearly in the Donald Duck cartoon “Duck Pimples”. Partch worked at Disney for four years, until his stay there was cut short by the strike in 1941.
Out of work, Partch submitted some one panel cartoons to Colliers, and they were published. This began a fruitful career as a magazine cartoonist. Throughout the 50s, he published small collections of his cartoons, grouped by themes. “Bottle Fatigue” dealt with the spell of alcohol, “Here We Go Again” was a collection of cartoons dealing with Army life, and “Wild, Wild Women” and “Man The Beast” dealt with the battle between the sexes. Partch’s cartoons are absurd, visually delightful and wicked. Most of all, they are unique.
As I said before, Vip’s style is so streamlined and simple, it’s easy to overlook the depth of thought beneath the surface of his cartoons. His compositions always read beautifully with clear silhouettes, appealing shapes and interesting negative spaces. The lines define a solid form and simple visual clues indicate rock-solid perspective… His drawings never seem flat, no matter how stylized they are. There’s a wide variety of ways of depicting different facial expressions and expressive personality that is obviously observed from life. It doesn’t get better than this!
Partch’s greatest book was "Wild, Wild Women". Check out these beautiful drawings. Here’s yet another example of stylized cartooning done right.
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Magazine Cartoons.