Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prolly Many Reasons

From this point on I've gotten really confused on dating the strips. I'm missing some dailies, the book jumps around, some of it might be extra art, etc, etc. Sorry, but I'm making best guesses. Soon we will have gone through the book in its entirety, but I've still got my clippings of dailies and Sundays.

Today is Walt Kelly's birthday! He was born 96 years ago. The drawing of Kelly, below, is one I made in a library from an old file picture that couldn't be checked out.


  1. VERY nice---those reprint POGO books used the original of that on their backs (I think?), and MAY have been used in the READER'S DIGEST "unforgettable character" piece they did on Kelly..

    I've been meaning to ask this for awhile---does Basher remind anyone else of David Niven? Was he intended to BE anyone in particular? His whole muzzle structure (more like a human nose) is unusual...

  2. That is excellent!

  3. You have a great eye and drawing style. You drew this from a book while in the library? If you don't mind divulging: what materials did you use for this? The line grain is very nice.

  4. Gorgeous portrait, Thomas!!

  5. Thanks guys, it's just a thing I do, drawing people. This particular drawing could've been a LOT better if I'd had controlled conditions. The eyes aren't quite right.

    JaiBox, I carry pads of different color drawing papers wherever I go and always have a box of charcoals of various densities. For this sort of drawing I start by lightly placing features with a soft pencil, then build soft charcoal tonal areas, then harder charcoal for darker and linear elements. And then thank goodness for kneading erasers that allow me to blend, back off density, and texturize (breaking up solid tonal areas). I added touches of highlight white later.

    If you haven't, take a look at my 'People Skills' blog. Many of those portrait studies are produced with watercolor wash and charcoal/pastel mixed media.

    ANYway I was working from an 8x10 glossy of someone else's (uncredited) portrait from a library filing folder system. I had to be very careful not to leave smudges and charcoal dust. I kept it all clean, but the librarian kept giving me dirty looks.

    Jim--I hadn't noticed the David Niven look until you brought it up, but yeah there's a funny resemblance. But, personally I don't think Basher is based on any particular person, unless it was an acquaintance of Kelly?. As you know this character was around back in, what, '56? and looked more like a regular kangaroo then.

  6. Thank you for writing that. I must have overlooked your People Skills before -- truly beautiful work! I've added that to my daily blogs to check into. I can imagine those librarians are on edge when they see the charcoals! Even so, I always like hearing stories of how artists carry on in all manner of circumstances.

  7. There may be something to that David Niven resemblance. One thing that strikes me in these is how 'steampunk' in flavor some of Kelly's creations are. Actually, it's the Mad Max movies I'm reminded of. The pilot seems to me similar to the Jedediah character in 'Beyond Thunderdrome' that carries the group away at the end. And the tribal children make me think of the vulnerable inhabitants of Okefenokee Swamp. Or maybe George Miller and Walt Kelly were both just tapping into some of the same sources of myth?