Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Walt Kelly's Pogo Brushwork

The Pogo comic strip by Walt Kelly (1913-1973), whose life was cut short at age 60 by diabetes, was beloved by many.

I read it some when I was young, but had trouble following it. Plus, I suppose I wasn't intelligent enough or sophisticated enough to appreciate the politics Kelly injected into the strip. Even today, I think Pogo would have been better had it stuck to the foibles of life and personalities because injecting politics upsets or angers a good deal of one's potential audience.

That aside, Kelly's cartooning style was marvelously inventive. I show some examples below that I grabbed off the Web so that readers unfamiliar with Pogo can see what I mean. For instance, note Kelly's use of a variety of typescripts in the second image. Also observe the outlines of the panel boxes; hand-drawn and bold. Most of all, consider Kelly's combination of strong brushwork and body action for his subjects -- this probably thanks to his days working for Walt Disney.



Kelly's use of type

Albert and bird

Original art with non-reproducing blueline workup

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