Saturday, February 25, 2017

What the Puck is going on Part II

Four hostile newspapers 
are more to be feared
than a thousand bayonets. 
Napoleon Bonaparte

There’s an old expression that says the pen is mightier than the sword. It’s a quote from a play written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839. I’ve always considered this to mean the written word is mightier than the sword, but I’ve come to learn that perhaps the political cartoon plays an even mightier role. 

Back in the mid-1800s, the dark masses, as they were called, could not read. But they could get political information from cartoons--not something those in power liked. So when illustrated chronicles blasted upon the scene, they caused an immediate stir. Now, in journal form, people could see for themselves the unscrupulous side of government and business alike.

Most of theses journals pushed the envelope, causing many to be jailed, fined or censored. In fact, they continued to do so all the way up to and including Charlie Hebdo. Eventually their office would be attacked by two gunmen who killed 12 people and seriously wounding three. I’m not here to discuss the moral or ethical question of how far political cartooning can go, but it does bring up the point that images can speak louder than words.

The political cartoon truly hit its stride in the 1830s with the advent of the illustrated magazine.  One of the first publications was the Parisian La Caricature, along with the daily Le Charivari (1830-1937) Two other famous magazines sprung to life later, Punch, London England (1841 to 2002) and in the States, Puck (1871 to 1918). 

La Caricature and the daily Le Charivari
Just after the revolution of July 1830 in France, caricaturist Charles Philipon and his brother-in-law Gabriel Aubert started La Caricature which came out monthly and later, Le Charivari, which was published daily.

The French have a long history of satire and cartooning. Even before their first revolution, there were drawings passed around degrading the monarchy and clergy—some of the graphics were at times almost leaning toward pornography. Then with the help of the printing press and lithography, copies could be made to create illustrated newspapers, which became vehicles to spread their agenda. 

Philipon’s journals were not particularly lengthy but from the start were generally political. By 1831, Philipon found himself in court for libel because of, among other things, drawing the Citizen King Louis-Phillip's head in the form of a pear. Poire (pear) means not only the fruit in French but also slang for being dim-witted. By drawing the king’s head in the form of a pear, he was doing more than placing big ears, as political cartoonists have done with Obama.

In his court case, though, Philipon demonstrated that any face can be turned into any shape, including a pear. He demonstrated this belief with the following drawing:

Philipon said in his defense,Is it my fault, gentlemen of the jury, if his Majesty's face looks like a pear?” Unfortunately, it just didn’t fly. He was jailed and fined 2,000 francs—lots in those days—and closed down in 1835, after being seized 12 times.

One of the most famous illustrations is the Past, Present and Future by Honoré Daumier, published in 1834. The three faces represent:

Things that were promised in the past: the aristocracy would get less while the bourgeoisie (middle class) and lower class (poor) would get more.

Things that were happening in the present: None of the above

Things the king would have to face: A foreshadowing of the Revolution of 1848, when he was disposed, followed by Napoleon creating the second republic (which lasted until 1870).

As Philipon stated to a friend regarding the citizen king’s administration, "The golden age [of consensus] did not last long. You'll see, after a dozen of issues La Caricature's drawing political cartoons, soft first and but slightly aggressive, came back more often, more often again, and more intense, until it occupied all of the newspaper and becomes ruthless." Things continued to go from bad to worse.

About two years after the publishing of La Caricature, which had several pages and printed on expensive paper, Philipon opened Le Charivari, ("noisy group" in French) in order to avoid censorship and fines. It was originally printed in four pages and continued until 1937. Much softer on the political cartoons, especially after 1835, this publication was dedicated more to the satire of everyday life.

Of course, in the years that followed, the journal could not ignore world events, brewing in their own backyard. Le Charivari included both light satire to expressive cartooning as times warranted.

Preoccupied man

Across the channel another journal was being created, modeled after Le Charivari, this one entitled, Punch. Obviously the French journal was making such an impact on the Continent, that the English even stated that their journal was the London Charivari.

However, Punch was a bit different. Begun by Ebenezer Landells and Henry Mayhew as a humorous and satirical magazine in 1841, the paper developed a reputation for its wit and impertinence lasting until 2002. According to the Punch Magazine website, the word “cartoon” originated with them. As with Le Carivari, George du Maurier (1834 – 1896) was one of the publication’s  favorite artists. Fortunately, we have a lot more examples of how Punch influenced and/or informed the public than the French counterpart from its early days all the way up to our recent past.
From its inception its purpose was to expose the evil doers and champion the down trodden. The publication was well named as it never held-back a punch and unlike Le Charivari, it was never closed down by the government.
Cheap Clothing, (Leech, Punch 1845)

I would like to show you more of Punch’s illustrations, but they have copyrighted most of them, so if you want to see more you'll have to go to their website

In 1871 another illustrated magazine gave birth but now across the pond in the United States, called Puck. Austrian-born, Joseph Keppler began his paper in St. Louis in both English and German. Six years later both editions were published in NYC, with the one in English continuing until 1917. Briefly there was also a London version. Eventually, a typical issue was 32 pages using color and paid advertisements, becoming one of the most successful magazines of its kind.

However, while reading about this publication on a U.S. Senate site regarding its history, I found this little tidbit:

Puck attracted an appreciative audience. Its pro-Cleveland cartoons in 1884 may well have contributed to the Democratic candidate’s narrow victory in the presidential election. The Republicans responded by buying Puck’s weak rival, Judge, and luring away some of Puck’s talented staff. Within a few years, Judge supplanted Puck as the leading humor magazine.

Hmmm. Very interesting. 

Whatever the case, I truly like scrolling through our history in cartoon form. Besides their artwork is far superior, in my opinion, to the others previously mentioned.

It’s not hard to find artwork from Puck (Judge and Harper’s Weekly) on the Internet and best of all, you learn so much more about American history than if you were to read thousands of pages. There you go, as I said, the political cartoon can speak volumes. 

Although Teddy Roosevelt was much beloved, he was much detested, as evidenced in Puck. I’ve included several of his cartoons along with others that show our late 18th century and 19th century story. I hope you enjoy them.
The Political Janus 1910
It all depends on the way you look at him.

1902 Finds the helm in safe hands.

No Limit 1909
Japan I see your cruisers and raise you a dreadnought!

The protectors of our industries 1883
School Begins (1899)
Now, children, you've got to learn these lessons whether you want to or not! 
But just take a look at the class ahead of you, and
remember that, in a little while,
you will feel as glad to be here as they are!

Next month, I'll be covering editorial cartoons from the mid-1950's to present. It should be interesting.


Finally, I've put together the Glastonbury Studios workshop catalog for 2017. As you may remember the workshops are being taught in my studio in Tigard, are only $85 for the day, include lunch and most supplies. 

Take a few minutes and review the offerings. When you find something that you like, email me for the registration pack. Hope you in you like what you see. 

Go to catalog here.

What's coming up!

Glastonbury Studios Weekly Classes
Winter Term II begins week of February, 28th
Register by email:
Please note: Limited space per class. Payment reserves your seat.
See for more details.

Pencil to Brush
Creating a drawing and finishing it with acrylic paints.
Every Tuesday morning
10 am to 12:30 pm
$75 per five-week term
Beginning to Intermediate
Open (seats available)

Pencil to Brush
Creating a drawing and finishing it with acrylic paints
Every Thursday evening
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
$75 per five-week term
Open (seats available)


Glastonbury Studios Workshop
Saturday, March 4   10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Perspective the Easy Way

Learning perspective isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s rather logical and when you get it, the whole process becomes easier. You’ll learn one- and two-point perspective, building roads, villages,  room interiors,  arches and more.  Bring a Strathmore Visual Journal/Mixed Media with you to class and I’ll supply the rest, including lunch. To register, please email at

Now accepting reservations!
Sketching a Bit of England
Marlborough, England
September 3-10, 2017
River Kennet | High Street
See details at: Sketching England

Sketch'n on the Go ™Tours
There is a $50 deposit to reserve your place.

Monday, January 30, 2017

What the Puck is going on! Part I

 A very, very short history of the cartoon, along with the illustrative magazines,  La Charivari (France), Punch (England) and Puck (US).

I began my research on political cartoons because I thought it would interesting during these current times. How to start? Who were the artists? What was the art form like from the beginning to now? What I found was a whole basket full of fascinating history. Join me now as I share with you some of what I learned.

To begin, I like the quote from Margaret Thatcher's home secretary, Lord Baker:

"I believe that if you can laugh at your rulers, you don't cut off their heads," he says. "Laughter is an escape for those kinds of pent up feelings. It helps make society calmer."
Well, said. Sometimes we may want to throw tomatoes at a politician but it's far better, and less messier, if we just enjoy the political cartoons in print and online. It does seem to help.

But In the beginning cartoons weren't the cartoons of today. Instead they were studies in sketch form for a more serious piece. Typically, in the Middle Ages, many cartoons were drawn for frescoes. Drawn on sturdy paper, the drawing would have pinpricks along the drawn line. When done, the paper would be hung up on the wall and a pounce used with soot to create an outline through the holes. The method is somewhat similar to some artists using a carbon-like paper to trace their artwork (of their work) onto a canvas.

But at the same time, the caricature was being created that would eventually play such a major part in modern day editorial/political cartoons. According to the Cartoon Museum:

The cartoon art form began with 'caricatura'.  A caricature - from the Italian caricare, to load or exaggerate - is a drawing that gives weight to the most striking features of its subject for comic effect.  The great Italian masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Annibale Carracci and Gian Lorenzo Benini, all drew caricatures.  These were technical exercises in virtuosity with the aim of defining the essence of a person in a few deft strokes of the pen.  

During the Reformation, the printing press and lithography were the new and profound technologies of the day, akin to our current smart phones. Martin Luther capitalized on this by visually soliciting the illiterate public with illustrated posters and pamphlets. He got his message across by using visual propaganda.

Eventually this type of communication morphed into the caricature and humor to get the message across. Interestingly, the father of the political cartoon (although he did not use the caricature form) was William Hogarth, a contemporary of Ben Franklin who is considered the father of the American political cartoon.

To begin, let’s discuss Hogarth (1697-1764).  The first thing you learn about him is that he was considered a pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist. He didn’t really believe that caricature would tell the story effectively so he stuck with his amazing draftsman’s skills and described the event with absolute meticulousness.

For instance, take South Seas Scheme, an editorial drawing on what became of society because this scheme was attributed to the stock market crash of 1720 (yes, it was happening in those days too). Check out the link above to understand the complicated visuals you are seeing in this picture—from the architecture to the Catholics, Protestants and Jews gambling in the lower left hand corner. It’s an amazing piece of art.

Eventually used to unite colonies against British rule.

While Hogarth was making a name for himself in England, so was Ben Franklin—the father of everything it seems sometimes. Both men were in correspondence  and some say that Franklin met Hogarth on one of his visits to England. Rumor does say that Hogarth died after he read a friendly letter from Franklin. 

So why is this so intriguing? Because in 1754, Franklin drew and published the now famous: Join, or die. cartoon. Was Hogarth an influence? Obviously, Franklin doesn't even come close to the artistic ability of Hogarth, but could have seen the potential in using "visual aids" to support an idea. 

According to the Cartoon Museum London, the golden age of these types of cartoons was from 1770 to 1830. The genre evolved, using more caricature and humor to get the point across. England was the hotspot with printers holding exhibitions and even selling the pieces for the absorbent price of two shillings.

However, even before that "golden age,", there were some rather outlandish cartoons about leaders. For instance, Robert Walpole, Britain's first prime minister got a bottom lashing for demonstrating over and over again, that you had to kiss his arse to get anywhere. (circa 1740)

Of course, as you can well expect there was a lot of fodder to be used for the American Revolution on both sides of the pond. The most explicit, I believe, was published by Ben Franklin called The Colonies Reduced, in 1767.

The woman is Britain and her severed parts are the colonies. This was a visual that Franklin used to epitomize his belief that the Stamp Tax of 1765 (one that was imposed without the colonists' consent) would eventually separate us from our motherland. 

Things started to heat up during the French Revolution in the latter part of the 18th century and artists rose to the occasion. Although England claimed neutrality regarding the revolution, cartoonists were not bound by having their own opinion. Here’s a great example from Thomas Rowlandson, comparing England and France, entitled, The Contrast 1792.

The English were against the revolution for obvious reasons and this cartoon, created by 
Thomas Rowlandson gives a glimpse at why--although perhaps not quite accurate.

By the late 1700s into the early 1800s, the caricature began to show it's comical face in editorial cartoons. One created in 1805 was regarding William Pitt vs. Napolean. 

According to Wright & Evans, Historical and Descriptive Account of the Caricatures of James Gillray (1851), "The new Emperor, and his opponent the English Minister, [are] helping themselves—one taking the land, the other the sea. On the overtures made by the new Emperor for a reconciliation with England in the January of 1805."

And so now the door was opened to all sorts of political/editorial visuals. Where there are leaders and citizens, things don't always go well. In the case of Napolean, this was well recorded in cartoons in the early 1800s.

Birth of Bonaparte--not too flattering 1813
Then there is the after affects of the war against Russia. Cartoon published by George Cruikshank, 1814. Cossack pulling the cage.

On the American side, the Civil War truly inspired artists, especially Thomas Nast, who is said to be responsible for creating the Elephant for the Republicans, the Donkey for the Democrats and even the endearing drawing of Santa Claus. Many artists told the story, even more vividly than the photographers could back then.

Notice the US on drum. Lincoln never recognized the split.
Harper's Weekly 1864

McClellan and the Democratic Platform 1864

Union POW, Nast
The birth of illustrated magazines
Before our Civil War, there were illustrated magazines that were publishing political cartoons. One of the early ones was from Paris, France--an anti-Monarchy publication, entitled, Le Charivari  (1832 to 1937). Later came the Punch, London England (1841 to 2002) and in the States, Puck (1871 to 1918). Next month we are going to look at all three magazines to see what they offered to their readers.And then we'll conclude with a look at current day editorial cartoons.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two-point perspective

Now that you understand one-point perspective (see last two posts), it should be easier to understand two point. The best way to explain when to use two-point is when you see a corner facing you--a building, a book, a box--you're looking at two planes that have two vanishing points relative to the horizon line. For instance, notice the building below. We are looking at the corner and it is above the horizon line.

When constructing such a building on paper, you first determine the horizon line and then the vanishing points. In this example your vanishing points are way outside the photograph. That's usually the case.

Next, you draw the corner line and then connect the "dots" with orthogonal (vanishing) lines and vertical lines. In the drawing below you can see how the top block is above the horizon line. But there are others--one on the horizon line and the other below. 

Here's a step-by-step method to creating that last box, which is beneath the horizon line, often called bird's eye view.

Step One
As I stated, you have to first establish your horizon line and vanishing points. Then you draw your corner line (this should represent the height of your building or box.


Step Two
Just as in one-point perspective, you have two planes here--the one on the right and other on the left. You draw vanishing lines from the top (and bottom) of the corner line to the point as demonstrated by the blue lines in the illustration. You've just created the sides of the building/box.

Step Three
Now that you have the sides done, you need to create the width by placing vertical lines between the vanishing lines. 

Step Four
So far, we have two walls up and running. But now we have to create the top. This can be tricky for some. Intuitively, I always wanted to draw the lines parallel to the bottom--but that was wrong. Instead we draw some more vanishing lines. For the right hand side of the box, you draw a line from the left-hand VP. to the right vertical line. For the left side, you draw a line from the right VP to the left vertical, as shown here.

Step Two
The final step is easy, just erase your lines and you have a box that's just below the horizon line.

What's neat about learning how to draw a box or building is your ability to create villages or even cities. During my perspective day-long workshop in March, that's just what we'll do. It is really a lot of fun when you understand the mechanics.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Building a room in one-point perspective

So far we've covered one-point perspective in simplistic terms. This  month I'd like to complicate things a bit, which you will find isn't really that complicated once you've learned how it's done. 

We're going to build an inside room. Although it's far easier for me to do this with pencil, I decided to use one of my drawing programs instead for clarity purposes. I have to be honest though, my drawing ability on the computer isn't as good as with a pencil. So please forgive my rudimentary presentation.

Step One: The back wall
We're going to build a room from the front door out. I've drawn a rectangle, a window, door and clock.

Step Two: Determining the horizon line and vanishing point
Remember that the horizon line is determined by YOUR eye level. The vanishing point is where all the lines converge onto the horizon line--again from the viewers point of view.

Step three: Drawing the orthogonal line (also called vanishing or convergent lines)
In order to build the four walls, we need to draw the orthogonal lines (indicated with the dotted lines) from vanish point outward. Then we connect these lines by drawing a box that meets the lines.

Step Four: Ceiling, Floor, Sidewalls
Now, it's time to draw lines from the back wall on top of the orthogonal lines to create the walls, floor and ceiling.

Step Five: Side Window
With the walls created, we can now create a window (in perspective). Draw orthogonal lines from the vanishing point and by using vertical lines, create the dimension of the window.

Step Six: Creating a cheap boxy sofa
First draw two boxes to indicate how large the sofa will be. 

Step Six A: Creating a cheap boxy sofa (A)
From each corner of the box, draw orthogonal lines to the vanishing point.

Step Seven: Finishing it all.
Using vertical and horizontal lines finish the sofa.

Step eight: Bookcase and rug
By using the same method as in six and step seven, create a bookcase and rug. You can add more to the room if you like.

One-point perspective can be used to create all kinds of things like bridges and buildings. Next month, I'll introduce you to more fun stuff.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

One-Day Workshops Announcement

Next month I be continuing my discussion on perspective, but for now I want to make an announcement on changes that are being made regarding my one-day workshops.


Things never stay the same, do they? Recently Portland Community College (PCC), Community Ed program, has decided to stop instructors from charging for art supplies used in class. Instead, students can bring their own or instructors can submit receipts for materials provided.

In a pickle—too many art supplies
That’s a problem for me because I have hundreds, if not thousands, of art supplies that I’ve bought over the years that we use in class. For instance, in the colored pencil class workshop, I offer over 1,000 pencils to use, not to mention the battery-operated erasers and sharpeners, expensive papers, blenders and so on. Simply said, I’m in a pickle. I could sell the products at a great loss, I could give them to a worthy school or I could hold my own drawing and painting workshops in my own studio.

Making relish—teaching out of my own studio
I like the idea of teaching in the studio. I’ve been conducting classes for years and have actually offered a few workshops here but I always felt a bit guilty competing with the school. Now that’s not an issue. So I’ve decided to take my pickle and make relish. I will be offering all of my one-day workshops at my studio except for Basic Drawing and Travel Sketching which will continue to be held at PCC. Here are some advantages. 

All my workshops will offer:
  • A nine-student maximum, which means you have a great teacher-student ratio
  • Most of the supplies. You may be asked to bring in a sketchbook. But nothing more. Just come to my workshop and find out if you like the medium, the subject, the technique.
  • You’ll be served a yummy lunch of cheese pizza*, salad and soft drinks. Coffee,tea and snacks will be available throughout the day.
  • A tuition of only $85 per person
  • Me, your instructor. As always my utmost desire is to see you succeed and have fun!

Check out my workshop offerings
I’ve created sort of a small catalog of the type of one-day workshops I will be offering. I will most likely offer one or two a quarter in my studio.  Please feel free to look it over. If you find one or two that you’re interested in, let me know. In the meantime, I will be announcing my quarterly workshops online  through this newsletter or website.

Download catalog here. Please note: large file, may be slow.

Thanks for all your support through the years
I have been very blessed to have you all as students and I hope to continue that experience in my new environment. Let me hear your thoughts by emailing at

*If you are on a restricted diet, please plan accordingly

Winter Workshops to be listed in December 2016