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.
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.
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."
Decades 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.
STUDENTS: Print this stuff out and USE IT!
This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.