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Biography: T. S. Sullivant

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Birth: 1854, Columbus, Ohio ?Death: 1926



Bio Summary

Sullivant did not seriously pursue his art until the age of 33. His work appeared in periodicals such as Truth, Puck, Judge, Harper’s Weekly and Bazar, Texas Siftings and Time. He is known primarily for his work in Life.

Early Life/Family

His father was William Starling Sullivant, renowned bryologist. T.S. Sullivant left Columbus at age 18, and lived for several years in Europe. After this time, he lived in Philadelphia.


In 1887, Sullivant studied briefly at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. Sullivant apprenticed himself to E.B. Bensell “an illustrator of the old school, who drew on the wooden block” according to V. Robard author of “The Caricatures of T.S. Sullivant” from Godey’s Magazine
Vol. CXXXV, No. 807, Sept. 1897 (
Career Outline

1896 – “Fables for the Times” in Life (published afterward as a book)?Worked for Puck during the 1890’s?Worked for Judge around 1900?Worked for William Randolph Hearst: 1904- 1907?Continued working for Life: 1911-1926

Comments On Style

Sullivant emphasized the features or traits he intended to ridicule through enlargement of such parts, which Robard described Sullivant accomplished though “a manner most modern and most individual.” Beyond Sullivant’s exaggeration of parts, Robard further described Sullivant’s style as having “great simplicity of line, an infrequency of cross-hatching, and a general openness of treatment. His lines are direct, strongly black…and rarely broken up…Sullivant always takes some unexpected view-point.”?According to director Stephen Worth, “He pioneered many of the elements of caricature and anthropomorphism that we now take for granted.”?( to animator Andreas Deja, “Sullivant had a truly unique style of animal and human caricature, incorporating an element of surprise into every one of his drawings. To emphasize certain personality traits, he used the most amazing methods of distortion which makes it seem as if we’re looking at his creations through a fish eye lens. He also demonstrates a very keen understanding of lighting, with a rendering technique that gives his characters a quite believable presence. His style remains unique; he never lapses into formulas. He maintains a brilliant originality in all of his mature work.” ?(


Sullivant admired John Leech’s drawings since childhood.






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