Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Draper Hill (1935 -2009)
Upon entering college I had visions of becoming an editorial cartoonist much like Draper Hill of The Detroit News. I had always enjoyed the editorial & journalistic bent of cartooning. When I was in middle school I wrote a term on paper editorial cartooning where I detailed such people like Thomas Nast, Bill Maudlin, Jeff MacNelly, Mike Peters, etc.. I knew that a simple image could change how people perceived things. I always read the comics in the newspaper but was always fascinated with the spontaneity and timely nature of editorial cartoons; they weren't cartoons done weeks or months in advance- they were often done the evening after a major event. The people who came up with these little artistic gems had to have a quick decisive style, wit and were technically sound.
Last week, one of my inspirations, Draper Hill passed away at the young age of 73. I never met him, wrote to him in admiration or had any contact with him other than enjoying his art on a daily basis. I'd study his approach to caricature (as he was wickedly accurate in depicting then mayor, Coleman Young), his brush work, his lettering, his tone and just about anything I could do to emulate that style. From what I've read about Draper Hill, he truly was a gentleman and a huge repository of knowledge & historical data on cartooning. To me, he will always be one of my earliest influences and inspirations to becoming an artist. He will be missed.