Sketch O’The Week

January 30th, 2008 | Posted in Sketch O'The Week

macnelly.jpg

Have to cheat on “Sketch o’The Week” this week because I am swamped playing catch-up in the studio. This is from an old sketchbook, circa 1999. They are quick studies of cartooning legend Jeff MacNelly, of Shoe and multiple pulitzer prize winning editorial cartooning fame. He was a speaker at my very first National Cartoonist Society Reuben weekend in San Antonio in 1999, and I did these studies during his presentation. I’ve always been in awe at MacNelly’s immense talent, and it was a thrill to get to hear him speak. I remember at the time he was talking about how he was beginning to do more and more of his work on the computer, and that he thought it would be very soon that he and many other cartoonists would eschew paper and pen completely for digital. He seemed completely willing to give up the traditional tools to do the work on the computer, even if it meant he would never produce another piece of physical original art.

Sadly he never got the chance to see his prediction come true. He died of Lymphoma only a year later. As you can see he signed in my sketchbook, so I was lucky to get to meet him.

Comments

  1. Mark Hill says:

    Terrific sketches. (You really captured his prominent jaw and triangular head shape.)

    You’re right, Jeff MacNelly was an immense talent. He was one of those rare cartoonists whose drawing ability, (amazing), was matched by an equally accomplished writing ability. He also seemed able to easily float between biting editorial cartoons, (that were drawn so dramatically that they demanded attention), to light-hearted comics — something few practitioners of both genres can do.

    I met him just before a meeting at Tribune Media Services, and in addition to his friendliness, was struck by how tall he was. …The next time I was in Chicago for a meeting, he had just passed away and his family was negotiating the future handling of his features. It was very a sad time for everyone there.

    MacNelly passed away shortly after Charles Schulz…and so, we may have lost the best comic strip cartoonist and the best editorial cartoonist of the last 100 years at roughly the same time.

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