Sunday, September 6, 2009

Love is like a Rose

Sometimes cartoons just write themselves.

This one came about from being in character of Dealin’ Dan the Tour Man. Doodling him. Thinking about people; watching people; writing; him writing to his girlfriend – a love note. He sees another woman pass by and immediately she becomes the object of his affection.

All of this came out being in his character – aggressive, intense and fickle as the shifting sands. What you see is what you get without apology. Painfully honest, tactless and oblivious of his affect on others. Loves the “idea” of women and the idea of being in love with them though hasn’t a clue what they’re really about. He was so much fun to work with!

I ran a lot when I lived in Victoria (pretty much covered the whole city either on foot or on my trusty 5 speed bike) and one of my favourite routes would take me past the Empress Hotel and the tour buses. I’d often stop and watch the tour guides luring in the tourists and making their pitches for the double decker bus tour of the city. I thought the whole scene was kind of cheesy and Dealin’ Dan was a composite of these guys.

The decaying rose at the corner of each box just “appeared” reflecting my cynicism about love at the time and giving the cartoon an edge and deeper dimension words couldn’t express. It was spontaneously inspired after a visit with Sid Barron.

Sid Barron was a childhood idol of mine. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for the Barron cartoon in the Star. Mom would pass it over to me and I’d sit with it spread out on the floor to find Puddytat, the biplane towing one banner or the other or the phrase “warm isn’t it?”

I was at a yoga group party when the conversation turned to my cartoons. The yoga group was always very supportive of my work which appeared regularly in the Yoga Centre of Victoria Newsletter. Somehow I got talking about Barron’s cartoons and in the middle of the conversation I heard the words, “I know Sid.”

I couldn’t believe my ears one of my yoga mentor’s best friends knew Sid Barron! How on earth would she know Sid Barron? If I recall correctly, I think she went to school with him in Victoria. In any case she assured me that she could introduce me to “old Sid”. And sure enough she did.

We met on a few occasions in the mid-80’s. At that time he cartooned standing up, in a closet-like space which was crammed with cartoons, art boards, pens and other cartooning paraphernalia. I felt a kinship as I too had an unorthodox approach, cartooning sitting cross-legged on the floor using a portable drawing board that my brother had made for me.

He talked about his process of coming up with cartoons. One time he found himself doodling, drawing chairs from every possible angle – that provided the basis of a cartoon. When he found he had a difficulty drawing cars to his satisfaction he put more in to challenge himself. His irritation at clothes hangers inspired another piece. (Every time I struggle with clothes hangers I too get irritated but it reminds me of him and the irritation disappears.)

I always loved the many tid bits of humour hidden away in the bigger picture. So, when you’re reading a Barron from this link I hope you take time to find Puddytat, the plane, and/or “warm isn’t it?” as you scan for the intricacies in each cartoon. I hope you too appreciate his gentle humour and sense of style as I do.

Sid was a truly funny, quirky, gentle man, who was amazed and genuinely flattered that the National Archives (now Library and Archives Canada) were in the process of gathering together a collection of his originals. What a delightful gift it was to have met him.
*cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1985

No comments:

Post a Comment