Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jefferson Machamer: Gals, Gals, Gals Cartoonist

Thomas Jefferson Machamer (1901-1960) was a popular cartoonist from the mid-1920s through the 1940s. A brief Wikipedia entry is here, and a detailed career outline and evaluation of his work is here.

Machamer had a breezy, sketchy, distinctive style of drawing in ink that served him well. The second link above opines that the humor in the situations he depicted and the wit of his captions wasn't first-rate. I'm inclined to agree; his strong suit was his drawing style. He featured attractive young women ("gals") throughout his career, and even married one (movie actress Pauline Moore). A problem I have with this is that the gals he drew tended to look very similar if one ignores their clothing and hair style/hair color. Apparently this didn't bother his many fans.

The bottom line for me is that while I have some reservations, I basically enjoy Machamer's work. Click on those images with lots of details to enlarge.


Judge cover - 6 August 1927
Satire on 1920s fashions for guys 'n' gals.

Judge cover - 10 March 1928
Here we get closer to Machamer's signature style.

Judge interior art

Katherine Hepburn
After Hepburn burst onto the Hollywood scene, Machamer's gals' faces underwent a change.

A representative post-Hepburn cartoon by Machamer

Gags and Gals panel - late 1930s
The fellow in the top hat in the next-to-bottom strip is a self-caricature that Machamer often included in his cartoons.

Some advice on drawing cartoon gals

Workups of gals' heads

Workups of full-figure gals

Example of Machamer landscape drawing - 1949
Look carefully and you will see a gal.

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