Monday, August 25, 2008

George Dole Cartoons

Here are some cartoons by George Dole that appeared in the above book PEPPER ... AND SALT CARTOONS FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, copyright 1984 by Cartoon Features Syndicate.

I know little about George Dole. The only thing I know is his work. All of his cartoons I have seen are gag cartoons. They are all good. The one above, a 24 year old cartoon, still works -- especially in light of this week's Democratic Convention.

I like the sketchiness of his finished drawings. I mean, the top of the boss's desk is three disconnected lines. And it all works.

On a personal note, many years ago I had a regular day job career. I was good at my job and brought money into the place. For six years, like everyone else, I took a vacation for two weeks in the summer. One year, I was told I could not take my vacation from my 9 to 5 job because I was "irreplaceable." I laughed and then I quit.

I like looking at those little lines over the foot to signify sandals. It's very basic and works fine. I like Dole's eyes as well. They are sometimes small, sometimes big -- and always in the moment.

I like Dole's use of language. The quick shapes of the glass and ashtray impress me because they are (a) so sloppy but (b) they still "read" as a glass and ashtray.

"Go on in Harry -- What are you waiting for?"

Several cartoons in the collection have straight borders around them, like the one above. This reveals one of Dole's great stylistic choices: no one stands straight. Even the 2 salesmen stand slightly akimbo.

Above: a true cartoon if ever there was one. Look at those four doodly lines in the background to denote rocks. The unibrow line over eyes of the caveman speaking shows us that he's one tough guy.

Above: I like this one and it would sell today I think. Or is it offensive to Muslims? I don't think so at all.

Cartoonist George Dole whose contemporary, fast sketch style I love. I wish I knew more about you!


Snowman Expert said...

I love this guy's work. Thanks for this post.

Bira said...

Fantastic and simple style.
I love that!
Hey, I've done a caricature/homage to the great drawer and illustrator W.M.Kaluta.
It's here:
He turned 61 yeras old yesterday, august, 25.
Best wishes

Brian Fies said...

I think Mr. Dole's stuff looks a lot like yours--or at least I could see your style evolving in this direction. Great work, and one has to wonder why he isn't better remembered.

Mark Heath said...

I've seen that signature all my life, but I could never read it. Thanks for spelling it out for me. He and Henry Martin seem to draw from the same timeless line. Love their work.

Fawad, Improv P.I. said...

hi mike. came across your website while looking for info on how much to charge for online cartoons and how to make a contract for it. gotta job on tap. lots of great info, thanks. (could use some more, though.)

anyway, great dole cartoons.

i'm a muslim-american, born and raised in miami, fl., and to answer your thought about the cartoon with the arab guy at the desk: A. no, it wouldn't be offensive to muslims, but B. they wouldn't get what's funny about it. Because to them there's nothing funny about it. It's just real life. Women from various muslim cultures around the world do cover their faces sometimes. And people do have pictures of their families up at work. Snd some of those pictures sometimes are indeed of women with covered faces.

often, though, if a couple are conservative enough that the woman is covering her face, they're of the kind of Muslim bent that believes photography is forbidden. So on that score the cartoon is a bit unlikely. But at the same time, there are plenty of people who cover their faces and still pose for a picture, too. So, it's possible.

In any culture, the point of keeping a picture of a loved one on a desk is to remember the person. Not necessarily to get a full view of all of their features. Though i can see how this thought may be lost to a wester audience unfamiliar the concept of a woman covering her face with a veil.

And there comes a third issue C), that the cartoon actually may be slightly offensive for a different reason. It uncovers a lack of perspective and information.

Given all these factors, 1) the joke here is subtle: Namely, the irony of keeping a picture of a loved one up when you can't see their face. So presumably it could be anyone in the picture. i.e., "What's the point of having their picture up when you can't see them?"

2) Muslims probably wouldn't be offended. Many of them probably wouldn't get the joke, but since it's not showing Muslims in a foolish, directly savage, or murderous light, they probably wouldn't be offended by it either. But then it's not aimed at a Muslim audience.

3) It actually is, when one thinks about it, slightly offensive for the fact that it forces a western concept of "the picture of the wife on the desk" onto a muslim setting without considering the difference in cultures, in order to possibly point out the silliness of the muslim lifestyle. Or maybe it's just to point out the irony in the difference between the cultures. In which case it's pro-multiculturalism and not at all offensive.

Free speech is grand. :)

is it laughing with muslims or at them? *shrug*

personally i'm not offended. nor am i able to find it funny, just cause i know more than the intended audience about the subject matter. i just go "hm."

Mark Anderson said...

Wow, I wish I could let myself throw the ink around that freely. What a great cartoonist! Thanks for introducing him to me!

Mike Lynch said...

My dark thought when I was scanning these was that this post would come and go with no comments because no one would see what I see in Dole's work. I am glad that the dark thought was completely wrong.

Thanks to all for your heartfelt and considered comments.

Unknown said...

Hi Mike,
I am the daughter of George Dole. My mom asked me to run his name on Google and I saw the cartoons etc. Thanks for appreciating his work. My father died in 1997 after a short illness. Thanks again for highlighting his work. Rachel Dole

Mike Lynch said...

Rachel, thanks for posting a note here. Your dad was a GREAT cartoonist and I hope maybe one day there will be more about him on the Web.

MM said...

Thanks for posting these. I've been trying to track down information about this cartoonist and there is little out there. Thanks, Rachel for commenting. If you by any chance see this, I'd be interested in knowing more about your father.

Unknown said...

In response to your post Susan, here is a little information about my dad. He grew up on the lower east side of Manhattan. His father died when he was in the 8th grade so he had to drop out of school to help support his younger sister and brother and mother who spoke little English. He hung out at the local boys' club where he first started drawing. He was very active in the labor movement. Later he studied painting at the Art Student's League and apparently won a number of medals in painting. He used to sketch constantly and used to tell the story about how he was sketching a fellow on the subway one day. When he got up to leave the train, he noticed that the fellow that he was sketching was also sketching him!
In the fifties, he learned that someone who had appeared during the McCarthy hearings had mentioned his name. His real name was Anthony Vincent LaMendola. Fearful that he might lose his livelihood, he moved the family to Maine where my mom is from, changed his name to George Dole and continued working. He loved Maine, had a studio on Exchange St. in the Old Port area of Portland. He was always surrounded by artists and painters. Much later, my parents moved to Florida where he continued to work.
He used "gag men", but also used to like to have gag sessions with me to come up with lines for his cartoons. He sold many cartoons to Playboy, Penthouse, Esquire, Parade and many, many more. Once I remember he got a letter from Hugh Hefner who admired his work and told him that when he was young he wanted to be a cartoonist too.
Syracuse University and Kansas University both have collections of his work in their permanent collections. My mom has the bulk of his work (many thousands of his drawings and several paintings.
My father was also a great reader and collector of first edition books and we treasure his extensive library. Thanks Susan for your interest.

Nobody's Favorite said...

To Rachel Dole,
An old friend from Portland would love to re-connect with you. Please post a note to this blog -- --to say hello to Juanita.
Happy New Year all.