Sunday, February 6, 2011

Larry's Cartoon Vault: Cartoon Instruction Books

In the olden days –the first half of the 20th century-- if you wanted to become a cartoonist you would find few places that  offered formal training in comic art (Unlike today. Now students can study cartooning, animation or the aesthetics of the graphic novel at a variety of institutions including  the Center for Cartoon Studies, CalArts  and the Kubert  School of Cartoon and Graphic Art).
Young hopefuls used to rely on correspondence art schools such as the Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning, Correspondence Institute of America, W.L.Evans School of Cartooning or they purchased one of the many how-to instruction booklets.

Below is a sampling from my archives of some early cartoon instruction books:

This one is by George Lichty 1944

This series is by the great George Carlson

Dorman H. Smith was a fine editorial cartoonist.
He lived out the latter years of his life right here in Fairfax, Ca.


Billy Hon from 1927
A caricature of Billy Hon by San Francisco cartoonist Douglas Rodger

Someone left clear evidence of the cartooning student learning curve.

Frank Webb 1948

Chuck Thorndike published numerous such booklets.
This one is from 1936
Ed Cullen's ultra-strange Kartoon Kadoodler concept.
It comes with a plastic "Kadoodler" template. 1951

by J.A. Patterson

from Cartoonist's Exchange 1941

by Gerald Findler. Published in London.
by Charles Stoner 1941

  by veteran Chas. Kuhn the creator of the Grandma comic strip.
This one is from 1921


  1. Hello Larry and Molly, This morning I decided (out of the blue) to search 'Kartoon Kadoodler.' How delightful to find your post. Ed Cullen was my grandfather, and my sister, Michele, is in the photograph (notice her RAD zig-zag bangs that she cut herself.) Our mother was furious that PoP had let her be in the portrait with such an uncouth hair cut. Nana, Pop, the Kadoodler (which sold for 25¢) and much more form very significant memories of childhood for both of us.

    P.S. The School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC was founded in the 1940s as a school of cartooning.

    1. Hello Molly,

      Thanks for your comment. Pardon my extreme tardiness. I meant to respond to your comments over a year ago!

      I have quite a collection of cartoonist instruction books and Ed Cullen’s Kartoon Kadoodler is a prized possession.

      Here’s a remarkable coincidence. My wife, Molly Rea, is the granddaughter of a cartoonist as well. Rea Irvin- who had a long career working on newspapers and magazines but is best remembered for the first New Yorker (the so called “Eustace Tilley” cover). And Rea Irvin also lived in Newtown, Connecticut. (I wonder if they ever crossed paths ?)

      Molly was raised in San Francisco had rarely ever saw her grandfather but she did visit Newtown a few times.

      Thanks again,

      Larry and Molly