Cartoonists work in a large medium that includes animation, comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, graphic novels, manuals, gag cartoons, graphic design, illustration, storyboards, posters, shirts, books, advertisements, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, and video game packaging.
William Hograth is credited with pioneering the Western sequential art. The cartoon we know best is the comic strip. Many of us remember “Peanuts”, “Blondie” and “Beetle Bailey” from the newspaper every Sunday. Some comics came in single panels, reflecting the deeper thoughts of society at the time, such as the featured comic above done by Thomas Nash during the American Civil War. Most are funny, some are political, others are very serious. Nash covered the war from its highs and lows, saying in the newspapers, what others were afraid to say out-loud. He could also be humorous, such as when Nash created the Elephant for the G.O.P..
Among other great political cartoonists were James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson in 18th century England. In the US, Ben Franklin is credited with being the first editor to put a comic in a newspaper.
The twentieth century was filled with freelance cartoonists such as Charles Addams, Irwin Caplan, Chon Day, Clyde Lamb and John Norment, and of course, the comic strips which we are all familiar with such as those created by Mort Walker, who preferred to produce his comic strips with a studio, and Bill Watterson and Charles Schultz, who enjoyed doing their work alone.
Marvel, D.C. Comics, Classics Illustrated, and so many other comic book companies have hired, and in some cases still do, so many cartoonists that it would be nearly impossible to list them all. Yet each one of them is truly an artist that creates a world we may not be able to live in, but we sure enjoy looking at.
How to celebrate Cartoonist Day: Look over the comics in the newspapers and magazines that you read, but this time, be sure to make a mental note of who the artist was that created it. Watch an animated movie, make sure you pay attention to the credits at the end of the film. Try drawing your own cartoon, see just how difficult it can be!