The True Artists
Most of the images I use are not drawn by me. They are illustrations from newspapers now in the public domain and the work of artists who lived (and typically died) over a century ago. The illustrators were typically unacknowledged by the newspapers that printed their work, though there are occasionally illegible signatures. I remove these in consideration of artists who no longer can give assent to a comic that would likely challenge their sensibilities. I will provide them for each comic if asked. It can be difficult tracking down an artist from 100 years ago based on a scrawl. These are the biographies I have tracked down so far:
A cowboy in style and taste, Maynard Dixon is the source for many of the better drawn western illustrations I use for the comic. I have attempted and failed to imitate the remarkable style that he used while he was working for the San Francisco Call. Yet, he is more famous for his later Modernist works. Still a western theme prevailed. During the Great Depression, he worked with his wife the photographer Dorothea Lange to artistically capture the difficult time for the Farm Security Administration. He had three children—one with his first wife and two with Lange. He remarried a third time to the muralist Edith Hamlin after divorcing Lange. He died at home in Tucson in 1946. He was 71 years old.
Richard Langtry Partington (1868-1929)
Partington was born in 1868 to artists in Stockport, England. He and his family moved to Oakland, California while he was in his early twenties and there established an art school with his father. For the next two decades, Partington also worked as a quick-sketch artist for the local newspapers, generating portraits of visiting celebrites and local criminals. In 1916, he moved to Philadelphis, where he died in 1929. While his news work was mostly portraits, the majority of his paintings I can find are landscapes.
George Young Kauffman (1868-1940)
It’s likely not a coincidence that Kauffman, the son of a Pennsylvanian Union soldier, was chosen to illustrate the first printing of “The Red Badge of Courage.” He was educated in D.C. and then moved with his wife to New York, where he found employment with the Bacheller-Johnson Newspaper Syndicate, a company that mainly acquired author’s rights to publication and then distributed serial versions of their works to newspapers nation-wide. While working there, he illustrated many serialized works including those of Crane and Garrett P. Serviss; many of the alien and space images I use come from Serviss’ “Edison’s Conquest of Mars.” In 1898, during the Spanish American War, he and Crane travelled together to Cuba as embedded reporters. He left the (by then) Bacheller Syndicate early in the next decade and moved to Canada to work in advertising.