The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Today's Cul de Sac, March 14 to 20, 2011

 I look forward to drawing Andre playing soccer.
 This keeps happening to Petey, like maybe twice a year.
 Leaving unfinished jokes lying around means you can bring them back again and pretend you've accomplished an actual punchline.
 And I keep drawing this somewhat sinister playground.
 I'd like to make the playground an actual character. Here it looks a bit like Howl's Moving Castle, which if you haven't seen you should.
 Take that, singing cartoon animals.
This  is not too different from the way I work sometimes. When stuck for an idea I've often contemplated cutting up old strips, strewing them all over the floor and mixing & matching them until they seem to make sense. Or I'll just bring back the tiny missing clown.

Today's Cul de Sac, March 7 to 13, 2011

We've fallen behind again. How does this happen?
 This week was all about the fun of drawing mud.
 And at some point it occurred to me: how did she get out there anyway?
 I just hoped that it didn't occur to anyone else, that everyone would be too caught up in the riveting drama to question the logic. Like a Hollywood movie.
 But you have to admit, that is some nicely drawn mud.
 She skipped. Of course, how simple.
 Thus ends one of the randomest weeks of strips I ever foisted on an unsuspecting yet disinterested public. I do like the idea that 15 minutes to her mother equals days to Alice.
This is a salute to all those double reed wind players out there, especially those who can manage circular breathing (I tried it and all I can manage is rhomboidal).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today's Cul de Sac, February 28 to March 6, 2011

It's time to claw our way somewhat closer to present-day.
 The pre-Alicians were first mentioned in early 2009.
 Or more likely, the hairdo is immortal and Miss Bliss is its present avatar.
 Petey's semi-aversion to being photographed was first shown here.
 Marcus briefly had his own blog, putatively run by his mother, until a certain unnamed person lost interest in it.
This could've been expanded on. And I wish I'd pulled the face in that second panel even more. It looked more distorted when drawn at 5 inches tall, the usual size I draw these things.
 Boy, now that plot will really take off.
Trees are among my favorite things to draw. I may drop the human characters from the strip and introduce a flock of comic birds so I can draw trees all the time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two Views of Spring

Reposted for like the umpty-umpth time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Little Something to Help in Planning Your Pub Crawl

From all the way back in 2008, and I'm hopin' you're not remembrin' it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Comic Book Resources

Alex Dueben at Comic Book Resources asked me some excellent questions that I answered with lame jokes and feeble asides. Fortunately, we cleaned it up in editing and it turned out pretty good.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Your Old Caricature from USN&WR for Today

I did this for USNews back when, around the time Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, American Political Genius Deluxe, gathered his forces and shut down the government in a budget fight with Clinton. Or more likely it's from somewhat later, when Gingrich was out as Speaker and suddenly had some time on his hands to go camping and roast wienies.
He's fun to draw, with that enormous, tetradodecahedral head and that teeny, obnoxious mouth. It's one of the few old caricatures that I'm completely satisfied with (it's now in the private collection of Herblock Prize winner & Pulitzer almost-winner Matt Wuerker). If I was still doing caricatures regularly I'd be jumping around in a fit of joy now that he's considering a run for president. It's pure selfishness, I know. But faces like this are wasted in the private sector.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Team Cul de Sac, The Blog

The unstoppable Chris Sparks and the indomitable Mike Rhode have started the Team Cul de Sac blog and, swept up by their enthusiasm, I've joined in. Already they've posted drawings by Lynn Johnston, Mark Anderson, David Hagen, Peter Dunlap Shohl, Shannon Gallant and Edgar Degas. Go look! And please check back often.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reuben, Reuben, I've Been Thinking

Mad Master Tom Richmond drew this poster for the National Cartoonist Society's 2011 Reuben Weekend, where the NCS gathers to fill up on corned beef & sauerkraut sandwiches and trade ink-related horror stories. Somehow Alice, Petey and me all snuck into this, along with such masters as R.O.Blechman, Roy Doty, Tom Gammill, Glen Keane and Stephan Pastis (not to mention thousands of comics characters). I swore I wouldn't show up on my own blog in person but Tom Richmond's version is so much more lifelike than the actual thing. (And strangely enough, the only other image on this blog close to it was also by Tom.)
Tom talked about the poster with Mike Cavna at the Washington Post.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mardi Gras St. Patrick's Day

In 2008 and in 2009, through the good graces of my friend the graphic goddess Bono Mitchell, I did some artwork that was used by the Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade ( see here, here, here or here). Clarendon-Courthouse is a business district in Arlington that stretches along Wilson  and Clarendon Boulevards and they've been throwing a parade on Mardi Gras for quite a few years, though last year's was cancelled because of the snowpocalypse.

This year Clarendon is combining Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day, a natural pairing that makes sense with Easter being late this year. There won't be any fancy floats based on the above poster, alas, but there'll be king cake and beer and shamrocks and beads. And that's enough for me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Useful Oscar (R) Repeat

From an old Almanac. I hear this really works!

Today's Cul de Sac, February 14 to 27, 2011

Uh-oh, the weeks have flown by and once again the supposed purpose of this blog (to force people to read Cul del Sac) has been ignored.
Rutherford B. Hayes has long had a vital place in the life of America's children. Just look at the following Almanac from the early 2000s (which is at least somewhat historically accurate).
So really it's hard to justify Petey's aversion to Hayes in the following strips.
The fun part of this for me was putting in Petey's little under-table gestures.
I had originally planned another shoebox diorama, but c'mon, it's getting a little old. The third panel above was taken from some of my favorite Ah-ha moments in various movies, where someone gives the protagonist an unwitting insight and he gets to say all that "I could kiss you" stuff. The B. stands for Beard; most people, especially historians, don't know this.
Someone pointed out that there has been an actual pop-up comic book. However, until I'm told otherwise, I claim this as the first pop-op comic strip.
Even though it doesn't really pop-op. And I claim this as the second.
On the other hand, I hope some kid somewhere has done this.
When I was in lower grade school all the music appreciation stuff we got dealt with the stories music told. It's a hard habit to shake.
I've been trying to find a role for Loris as she's kind of an untethered character. Maybe she needs her own Sunday strip, like Roscoe Sweeny was Buz Sawyer's comic-relief friend who took over the Sunday page duties.
Clowns again. Clowns are comedy gold, but not the way they intend to be.
The ceiling in panel two was fun to draw, the crowd scene in panel three less so.
Poor Kevin.
And poor Marcus too. I'm starting to feel sorry for my characters, which can be a hindrance to writing for them
This is because I forgot to draw a Valentines Day strip. It was overcome by Rutherford B. Hayes.
This was an excuse to draw in a childlike style. The punchline came much later. A drawing fight does sound like fun, but then I played Pictionary recently and got creamed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Your President's Day Special Unnecessary Spot Illustrations of the Day

Richard Nixon was the cartoonists' president, so here are ten drawings of him. Most of these are roughs I did for a New Yorker story that ran the year he died.
 He had so many caricaturable parts and tics and postures that any president since has been a let down, almost. The arms in the air victory pose is a good place to start, so here are several of them.
 This was a rough for a children's history book and it illustrated an ingenious rhyme by Carol Diggory Shields.
 Okay, so it gets repetitive, but I like the hands.
 Another NYer rough, this one with a Marley's Ghost angle.
 This one also for the NYer, showing him older and more pensive.
 The rough below is the one the NYer chose, and this is the rough sketch for the rough sketch.
 The final looked almost exactly like this, though I trimmed the nose down some and tilted the drawing to the right (note the horizon line). My favorite of the roughs I sent in for this story is the first one in this post, with his hands clasped.
 Here's a rough for another NYer story, dealing with the reactions of various Republican politicians to Nixon's passing and his legacy. Pete Wilson and Bob Dole choke up at the end of a Nixon movie.
A color piece for US News & World Report. I forget the exact point of the story it illustrated, but the pot full of tapes provides a clue.