Last month, I started a mini series featuring a few cartoonists that I believe everyone should know. The realm of cartooning is so interesting not only because the artists themselves are often pushed out of the spotlight by their creations, but also because of the way that cartoons are used within society. Cartoons are often fun, and lighthearted (and used for youthful entertainment). But, that easy-going, fun vibe that people associate with cartoons can also be used as a cover to strong political criticisms and satirical views of society. Cartooning is complex and provocative, and the cartoonists listed below are a few more artists who deserve to be household names.
Famed for his newspaper comic strip Krazy Kat, George Herriman was one of those cartoonists that was revered within the art & intellectual community. Herriman is often praised not only for its “gorgeously scratchy line work”, but also for the writing and storylines that were poetic in nature. colors and Krazy Kat was listed as one of the greatest comic strips of the 20th century by The Comics Journal, and other artists loved Herriman’s work for its subtle surrealism. Krazy Kat never reached high levels of popularity with general public, but all of Herriman’s catalogue continues to be acknowledged and praised by artists and cartoonists to this day.
Bagnarelli is definitely the most contemporary cartoonist on this list so far, and she has a cartooning style that I deeply admire. Located in Bologna, Italy, Bianca Bagnarelli founded the publishing imprint Debelie and was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Illustrators for her comic Fish (a beautiful story of grief). Bianca is famed for her impeccable understanding of color and her use of clean, vivid lines in her work.
Klinan’s claim(s) to fame were his cats. As Chris Madden said,
“I came across a book by B. Kliban: Cat Dreams. I’m not sure what they’re about. I’m not even sure if they’re funny (do cartoons actually have to be funny?) But they’re brilliant. Apparently he grew to detest drawing cats in the end, but they were what everybody wanted. Beware success.”
Bernard Kliban briefly studied at Pratt Institute before he dropped out to travel and paint in Europe. He started drawing cartoons for Playboy as a means of income to support his family. His style was very strange, and most of his work contained bizarre scenarios. But, his cat cartoons drew quite a following, and were/are featured on all sorts of novelty items.