“Cartoonamundo” ~ My Cartoon World…

          I first became interested in drawing around the age of three. I would scribble in the margins of some of my dads favorite books using the cool U.S. GOVERNMENT military issue black ballpoint pens he brought home by the truckload. For some odd reason dad didn’t appreciate my artistic efforts at all! Encouraged to move on to greener pastures I tackled entire blank pages found typically at the front or very end of most hardback books. Years later I would occasionally get a call from mom telling me that dad found another long forgotten art craft of my design! He seemed reconciled to the fact that I must have inked just about everything he owned at one time or another. It became a little detective game for my dad and gave him much satisfaction to find another fine old volume with the unexpected addition of a detailed birds-eye-view schematic of a Barbary Coast slave ship fully loaded with chained prisoners and barrels of rancid water! 

Walter Foster "How To Draw" Books

          Around the age of eight I discovered the Walter Foster  “How To Draw” Art Books. I was hooked! Besides some great editions on fundamental art skills like drawing, painting, perspective… there was “Comics”, “Modern Cartoon”, and “Animation”. These titles provided everything you needed to get started as a cartoonist, and soon I was hacking away at it daily. I started collecting and researching everything I could find about the subject. One of my early favorites was “Pogo” by Walt Kelly. This amazing comic strip has stayed close to me ever since. Pogo was huge back in the fifties and sixties. You could find the reprint volumes in just about every type of store. I first found mine in a craft store my mother used to visit at the old Caprock Shopping Center in Lubbock, Texas. For a small boy living on the moonscape known as the West Texas Plains it was like an E-Ticket at Disneyland! The reprint books were not expensive, usually one or two dollars at most. But for those readers who don’t know any better, that was a lot of extra money for a kid to scratch together back then. What with absolutely necessary expenses like candy, firecrackers, and ticket money for the Saturday Matinee at the Cactus Theatre downtown.

Pogo "Earth Day Poster ~ 1971"

          Like the old “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” on television, Pogo was written on two completely different levels. Biting commentary on political and current event topics was offered up for adult consumption, while at the same time the farcical comic situations kept the kids amused. I didn’t understand a lot of the adult references but it inspired me to find out more on my own. Actually, it was pretty heady stuff for an eight-year-old boy from West Texas. And the artwork was simply gorgeous. Walt Kelly’s depiction of the Okefenokee Swamp was beautifully detailed and simple at the same time. His characterizations of the various denizens of the swamp were brilliantly conceived.

Walter Kelly (August 25, 1913 – October 18, 1973)

          For more information about Pogo check out the following website;                               “I Go Pogo”,  http://www.igopogo.com/index.html .

~ sidestreetsam

About sidestreetsam

Sam Hallmark ~ Graphic Designer ● Conceptual Design ● Animation ● Multi-Media ● Music ● Desert Wind Graphics was established in 1994 as an affordable graphic design solution for a wide range of clients. From conceptual media, storyboards, print collaterals, logo design, multi-media presentations, animation, engineering, technical, marketing , advertising and corporate image packages, Desert Wind Graphics will fulfill your design needs for projects both big and small. With over twenty-five years of design experience I can provide you with access to a unique skill set that will deliver your project on time, within budget and on target! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding your graphic design needs.
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4 comments on ““Cartoonamundo” ~ My Cartoon World…

  1. Great post Sam. I really loved Pogo and it was great to see how you got your start as an artist. It is funny how we each take our own individual roads. The influences and the things that hooked us. Keep up the great work.

    • ~ Thanks, PapaBear! I found out years later that Walt Kelly would substitute special strips in place of those that local editors found too controversial because of unflattering characterizations of world leaders like Castro, Kruschev, Nixon, LBJ, etc… They were always populated with fuzzy rabbits and saccharine sweetness. And they had a special numbering system. A number followed by the letter B would be added to one of the panels for identification. So, July 2cnd would read 7-2B in the appropriate panel. Amazing. Imagine having to do that in today’s jaded journalistic world!

  2. Awesome! It reminds me of the art studio your parents (Mom, dad was in the Nam with my dad) had arraingned for you in the garage at Miramar. Thanks to you, and your Mom, my love of the arts, and with all the drawings, paintings, and pastels, wooden purses and all the neat stuff we did, continues to grow to this date. I remember it like yesterday. Your Mom supplied me with posters of “Sarge” (A&M) and “Texas Pete” (Tech), to copy and practice my skills. I still have, thanks to you, my pastel of “Sarge” and the poster your Mom gave me back at Miramar. Your contributions to the Einstein Jr. High year books, along with Peter Max, WOW!!!! The memories and fun we had!

    • ~ Greetings, Randy! Great memories never fade away, do they? I used to have a silkscreen poster you did in Graphic Arts at Einstein. It was a Cobra all coiled up with big fat dragster wheels for feet. Boss Cool! What was that teachers name? Mr.Runk I think. Boy, that poor guy had his hands full with us varmits. We had tons of fun with all our art projects. I remember we flooded your backyard once and re-enacted the Battle of Midway with burning aircraft carriers and Polaroid black-n-white instant photos shot of the wing of attacking fighter bombers! Man we were nuts! Of course, back then it was easy to get a hold of lighter fluid, gasoline, gun powder, airplane glue, firecrackers, and all the other materials that were absolutely necessary for our experiments to succeed. Keep checking back, Amigo! More stuff from the Way-Back Machine is coming!

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