Most Admired Cartoonists of the Era
Cartoonists have been an important part of the comics industry, creating independent and syndicated strips for newspapers, magazines, TV, and these days, the Internet. A lot of the essence of cartoons have been absorbed into other media like comics, animation and videogames. But I think there are some hugely admired cartoonists that have had a great influence on us today. And there are plenty of emerging talents to continue the tradition in new media.
They deserve a list of their own, though that would make it a lot longer than I what I have here.
Not surprisingly, there are names on the list from around the world.
Most of us know Charles Addams as the creator of the Addams Family. He created cartoons for The New Yorker which were peopled with sociopaths. He was probably one of the earliest cartoonists to notice how incongruity could be funny, but within limits. He also drew a lot about seemingly ordinary people who did bizarre, even homicidal things quite calmly.
Romanian cartoonist Saul Steinberg used cartoons as a way to, in his own words, “reason on paper”. He was a satirist who sketched with irony, and paid great attention to how drawing could convey meaning, particularly with the follies of 20th century modern life.
Anatol Kovarsky was a cartoonist for The New Yorker who was amazing at creating cartoons that did not really need any caption at all, they were so expressive. He has drawn fantastic covers for The New Yorker, and eventually turned to painting.
American cartoonist Robert Crumb is known for his satiric portrayals of American life and the follies and foibles of our lives since the 60s. Crumb’s signature style is his heavy cross-hatched, inky drawings. He has created iconic characters like Mr. Natural and Fritz the Cat (whom you’ll find in the Keep on Truckin) comic strip.
You probably know him as Holte, the creator of hilarious, expressive lines for the British magazine Punch. He created some timeless classics like the accident-prone characters of Fawlty Towers and his Crepe Suzette cartoon which was commissioned in a color version and went on to be chosen as one of the best cartoons of the year.
Another British cartoonist for Punch, Ronald Searle also created works for The New Yorker, Life and Le Monde magazines. He was hailed by some as one of the greatest satirical cartoonists of all time. People remember him for his St. Trinian’s series of books and the Molesworth illustrations.
New, Lesser Known Cartoonists You Should Know
The cartoonists I’ve mentioned above are well-known all over the world. Some of them are still living and probably working away at something new as I type. They are all legends.
Now I also have a personal list of lesser-known cartoonists that I think are doing great, original work. Many of them quite new to the industry and probably don’t have the leverage that the likes of the New Yorker cartoonists do. But they deserve to be included in a list of my top cartoonist choices. Since this is my blog, you see.
The cartoons of this new comic artist, who has worked on Marvel’s Hellcat among other things, are fresh, original and classic at the same time. What stands out the most in her work, to me, is her beautiful character drawings and her use of vivid, flat colors.
Belgian cartoonist Jeroom is known for his absurd and hilarious cartoons that are often political in nature. Jeroom won the Press Cartoon Belgium award in 2002 and has been a regular contributor to the Flemish magazine Humo. He’s also gained a degree of international fame on the internet because of his meme-friendly jokes and pop-art-meets-collage style of work.
Mathilde Vangheluwe is also from Belgium, and she works mostly in pencil. But you’d be surprised by the textures and tones she is able to bring out with her simple tool. Her attention to detail when working with her simple medium is something that we can learn from. Her humor is smart, caustic and frank. Her characters are full of personality, and it shows in the details.