Sunday, February 20, 2011

Larry’s Cartoon Vault Pt II: The Cartooning Correspondence Courses

In the last post I focused on the early 20th century cartoon instruction books.
Those booklets were easily accessible and were for most young hopeful cartoonists the only educational outlet available-- with the exception of the mail-order cartoon courses.
The premier correspondence course was Charles N. Landon’s Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning. Landon, a veteran cartoonist of The Cleveland Press and art director of NEA (the Newspaper Enterprise Association) probably wasn’t the first to offer a correspondence course in cartooning but his was most certainly the most successful.
The roster of graduates includes many of the most renowned comic strip, editorial and magazine cartoonists of the 1930’s,40’s and ‘50’s.
Among them were Milton Caniff , Bill Maudlin, Merrill Blosser, Floyd Gottfredson, Edwina Dumm, Carl  Barks, Jack Cole, Gil Fox, Chic Young , V.T. Hamlin, Gene Byrnes, Clifton Meek, Roy Crane, Dorman H. Smith (who started his own mail-order course years later –see previous post), Stanley Link, Edgar Martin, Ethel Hays and Bill Holman.  
Here from the Cartoon Vault is a sampling of the Landon correspondence course.

Landon placed ads in a variety of magazines such as Cartoons Magazines.

Students received lessons on a regular basis.

Students returned work for evaluation.

Landon also published Pen and Ink Magazine which published students work.


  1. If someone attained these original books, would they be worth anything today?

    1. Hello Jessica,

      There's a sort of obscure but dedicated group of comic art scholar/collector types out there. The Landon courses are well known to those folks but I couldn't give you a good idea of market value. The Landon material turns up on ebay from time to time. You might monitor that ans see what sort of prices are obtained.

  2. I have a notebook (72 pp.) with ink drawings my uncle did in 1932-33. It includes political figures, celebrities, baseball players, and cartoon characters. I guess it was done to apply for a correspondence course. Does the fact I have it mean he never submitted it? Did he have to submit a fee to apply? I'll read your reply in a day or two. Thanks, Lois