Tony Auth, 1942-2014

Tony Auth, editorial cartoonist and illustrator
For over 40 years, Tony Auth was a glimmer of sanity amid the news of the day, in the form of his cartoons on the opinion pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 2012, Auth — a winner of the Pulitzer and Herblock Prizes — moved to the local PBS affiliate, bringing his cartoons to their NewsWorks website.

Auth’s cartoons, drawn with a wonderfully sketchy line, and little pretense, carried his commentary straight to the point, often skewering left and right alike, though most would count his politics as liberal (if only because he wasn’t rabidly right wing).

Auth died this month, on September 14, 2014, at the age of 72.

Tony Auth was also an illustrator of children’s books. You can find a number of them, along with collections of his editorial cartoons, on Amazon.

I, for one, will miss his visual voice and that occasional breath of sanity amid the screaming and finger-pointing, particularly now.

For more, see my previous post on Tony Auth (from 2006).


B. Kliban cartoons on the web

B. Kliban cartoons
Much to my delight, and considerable surprise, GoComics, the online repository of newspaper comics from both Universal and United Media syndicates, has been placing online the wonderfully off-kilter and reality-warping cartoons of B. Kliban.

If you’re not familiar with Kliban, it’s worth noting that The Far Side’s Gary Larson, Bizzarro’s Dan Piraro, the New Yorker’s Jack Ziegler, and other cartoonists who mine the veins of absurdist cartoon humor, owe much to the legacy of B. Kliban (as Kliban, in turn, owes a good deal to Saul Steinberg).

I’ll be the first to suggest that Kliban is not everyone’s cup of tea — there are times he can leave even dedicated Kliban aficionados scratching their heads — but for those of us who find delight in his tilted vision, terrible (wonderful) puns, surreal non-sequiturs and brain-stopping inversions of the normal, this is good news indeed, particularly as his publisher has long let most of his collections of drawings (they’re not always “cartoons”) languish out of print.

There is a GoComics archive of Kliban drawings from his collections (as well as some not in the collections, drawn from other sources), and a separate archive of his cat drawings, which have found a more mainstream audience.

GoComics is adding three drawings a week. I don’t know how long this will go on, as they must have a couple of hundred online already; and there are — sadly — a finite number of B. Kliban drawings in the world.

Among them are some of my all time favorite cartoons by anyone, including the one shown above, at bottom, which I’ve had on my bulletin board at various times since I was in my 20s.

For more (and another of my favorite cartoons), see my previous post on B. Kliban.

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Cartoonist interviews on David Wasting Paper

Since 2009, David Paccia has been posting short interviews with cartoonists, comics artists and cartoon illustrators of various backgrounds on his blog, David Wasting Paper.

The interviews are a standard set of questions, the same given to each artist, the answers to which, of course, are varied. The questions range from interesting and useful, like “What is your favorite pen?” and “Did you have any formal training?”, to rather silly, like “If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you’d be?”.

The results, however, and the types of cartoonists, comics artists and illustrators included, are wide ranging and interesting. In the more recent articles, there are more images, often including images of favorite tools.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a master list of the artists. You can see sub-lists of some of the artists included during a particular time frame in the “Blog Archive” navigation in the right hand column. If you follow the link below, you can thumb back through all the posts tagged with “Cartoonist Survey”.

(Images above, with links to my posts here on Lines and Colors: Roz Chast, Paolo Rivera, Steve Artley, Shaun Tan, David Peterson, Steve Rude, Peter de Séve, Tom Richmond, Kim Warp, Mattias Adolfsson, Drew Friedman)


Barry Blitt

Barry Blitt
Barry Blitt is an illustrator and cartoonist whose clients include Vanity Fair, Time, Rolling Stone The Atlantic and The New York Times, where he contributes regularly to the op-ed page.

He is probably best known, however for his New Yorker covers, which are frequently political (in contrast to the majority of New Yorker covers) and often controversial —including the notorious Barack and Michelle Obama “terrorist fist-bump” cover, which some people apparently interpreted as a serious accusation (sigh).

His latest New Yorker cover, for the November 11, 2013 issue, pokes a bit of tech critique fun at the rollout.

Blitt has a pen and watercolor technique that is wonderfully loose and yet precise at the same time. He keeps his washes light and his palette muted, allowing the relaxed and often delicate pen lines to have their say.

Blitt’s website is divided into helpfully named sections like “Stuff”, “Things” and “Other Things”. Be sure to check out the sections for “Thumbnails” and “Links”.


David Parkins

David Parkins
Illustrator and cartoonist David Parkins, originally from the UK and now based in Canada, has had a long career creating editorial illustrations, political cartoons and satirical comics for some of Britain and Canada’s top publications. In addition he has illustrated a number of children’s books.

In the introduction to his website, Parkins points out that he is about to break the advice often given to illustrators when presenting their work (online or otherwise) to focus on a particular style, lest art directors become confused by their inability to compartmentalize an artist with multiple styles.

Much to our delight, Parkins proceeds to display a wonderful variety of rendering styles — from cartoony to realistic to retro — and editorial approaches, from charmingly innocent to bitingly acid.

Choose from his portfolio sections and drill down through the categories into individual publications or types of illustration.

In all of them, Parkins displays an obvious enthusiasm for drawing and graphically communicating a strong point of view, whirling his pen and watercolor through layers of politics and society, on out into the unfettered whimsey of children’s books.