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

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Today's Cul de Sac for April 10, 2011

This is still the way I do math, fractions especially, a talent I've passed on to both my children. Whatever a drawing fight is I'm glad I thought of it (though others may have preceded me in inventing it). The actual fun in this, of course, is Andre's kinetic energy contrasted with Petey's stasis. They get along well as friends because their basic tastes are alike and their temperaments are not too mutually exclusive. But I think after spending extended time in each other's company they're kinda relieved to go their separate ways and be alone again.

More Damned Cherry Blossoms

The DC Cherry Blossom Festival continues today with the big parade. It's not the greatest weather for it, being cool, grey and dampish, and the blossoms are long past their peak. So here are some half-hearted reposts of cherry blossom cartoons. The cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin, the major players in the Festival, are not really this pink. They're white with a pinkish cast. I point this out so no one's too disappointed, in case anyone's using this as a visitor's guide.

The last one still makes me laugh. Coming up next: something fresher.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Your Guide to DC Children's TV Show

I was looking for something about DC kids' TV shows and found this post from 2008 and decided to put it up again. This may be one more sign of this blogs creeping senescence; soon every post will be about how great something was that happened on the blog two years ago.

Though I was born in Baltimore, I grew up in and around DC. And one of the things that struck me as a child about the Capital of the Free World was the number and complexity of local TV kid's shows. These are the ones I remember best, though I'm sure I'm leaving some off the list (hello, Pick Temple).

The local TV newsman/broadcasting-personality who puts on a silly costume and stands in front of a cardboard set to introduce ancient cartoons and Three Stooges shorts is something kids today just don't have access to and I think they're the poorer for it. These shows were central to our daily routine and the local stations put a lot of love and work into them. Well, some. When you only have six or so channels available on your TV then each one has a more distinict personality, and these shows were a large part of it.

When I was about seven I got to be on Ranger Hal (I was wearing a kilt; long story) and, instantly if briefly, my status in the neighborhood shot up. I remember one kid asking me if I got to meet Felix the Cat, whose cartoons were a fixture on Ranger Hal, and I had to let him down gently as to Felix the Cat's incorporeality. I don't think he believed me.

And I think appearing on these shows probably did the TV newsman/broadcasting-persornality a lot of good too. If someone like say, I don't know, Bill O'Reilly had a half-dozen seasons in a clown wig and giant bowtie back early in his career he might be more grounded today.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Today's Cul de Sac, March 15 to April 3, 2011

 In a blinding burst of speed we go blazing right through today and into the future!
Like I said, this keeps happening to Petey. I think he's starting to enjoy it.
If Andre hears about Pevey he's going to want a secret identity too.
Between the time Alice wastes getting ready for bed and waking up for nightmares I can't imagine she's getting enough sleep. No wonder she's kinda cranky.
Though it looks like she's also enjoying herself.
 Maybe enjoying herself too much.
This has happened before, you know.
Bedtime entertainment is a wide-open field in the arts if you're looking for a job in a related field (I hope you're listening, Julie Taymor).
This is a well-known fact.
Running around and making noise is how I usually handled sports, so I never got around to learning the rules of most games.
I was afraid someone might complain about the ball rolling into the street.
Beni in for Andre and Petey.
Those wooden paddle spoons have mostly been supplanted by plastic spoons. This is probably epochal.
 I'm hoping that Petey hasn't discovered a latent talent for soccer. It might spoil his life.
Sssshhh. This doesn't come out till tomorrow, but I'm sneaking it in (of course, half the papers in the country deliver Sunday supplements on Saturday). Dill's poignantly strange toy first appeared in Christmas of 2007. I hope nobody plays with it from a range of more than four feet away unless they're wearing protective gear.

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.