Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Early Days

In his early days, this guy lasted but 6 months as a Cincinnati local editorial cartoonist, and among various jobs here and there, he created some illustrations for the Mark Twain Journal (looking a great deal like Pat Oliphant's world-renowned cartooning style).




And then he became pretty world-renowned himself:

© Bill Watterson

9 comments:

Jeff Overturf said...

I love Watterson's stuff.

Larry MacDougall said...

I'd love to know what he's up to now. I hope he's still drawing.

Anonymous said...

He's actually taken up painting.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Yes, I've seen that one painting that's been bouncing around the 'net. I hope he's taking his talents more seriously than that.

kip said...

Watterson is baffling. He seems to be a latter day Thomas Pynchon. He supports the comic Cul de Sac which is wonderful and crazy. Maybe he needs to tend his garden. The Petey portrait is poignant. So is Parkinson's disease. I miss Calvin and Hobbes and I am very grateful for your posting of the early Twain cartoons.
But I love everything you post. Thankyou and happy birthday.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Thank you kip, I appreciate your thoughts. And it has been a nice birthday.

Jack Whitby said...

I love his painting of Petey but it is also dissapointing. Watterson is(was?) a cartoonist, someone who combines art and writing together which transcends both. He may be getting his artisic needs being met by his paintings but how on earth is he fulfilling the void within him by not producing any writing?
I read in his 10 year anniversary collection that he learned to become a writer in order to draw for a living. Presumably his art has always took first place within his life before any writing.
Remember to make a good cartoon/comic strip good writing and so-so art is better than good art and so-so (or no) writing.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Good point, Jack. And I'd like to think that Watterson is creating bunches of stuff for himself, that someday the rest of the world could inherit— but then I remember reading that he tends to destroy many of his works before anyone else can see them.

The world is clamoring for his wit, whether in art or writing, but if he chooses to sit it out, well I'm sure we'll survive without it.

Jack Whitby said...

I also remember reading in the Calvin and Hobbes tenth anniversary book that Watterson loved the luxury of having loads of ideas so he could weed out all of the bad ones (probably not bad to us though :) ) and used to tear up weeks worth of ideas he felt didn't hit his quality target. It may be a case of 'been there, done that' with Watterson's cartooning,and now he feels it's his painting he needs to reach the creative heights with, as he did with Calvin and Hobbes, which is not a bad thing,just another direction.
I know he cited the merchandising pressures as playing a big part in finishing the strip, but when he did end it he already had all rights and control being given back to him. If he came back to cartooning today be it with Calvin or a new strip, all the pressure would be off and it would all be on his terms. Other than that I loved the odd poems he put in the treasury books and would love it if he could write an illustrate a whole book of his own verses.