Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I WANNA GO HOME by Hank Ketcham

The last week in August. The traditional time to get away from the routine. In the 1960s, Hank Ketcham took his first big trip abroad. And, Ketcham being Ketcham, he took along pad and pen. The result is a must-see.

Marcus Hamilton, who currently draws the Dennis the Menace dailies told me about Hank Ketcham's book I WANNA GO HOME. It's about Ketcham's first European tour in the 1960s. I had never heard of it. I found the book online and bought it sight unseen, on Marcus' suggestion. Boy, Marcus was right! The book is fun, sure -- but the sketches! WOW! I could not get over the sketches. So alive, so loose. All those lines -- all those 50 year old lines -- still vibrant and full of the excitement that Ketcham had for the excursion.

"This is the story of my maiden voyage, the first time I ever ventured beyond friendly U.S. shores. I was pretty 'gee whiz' about everything and my head was on a perpetual swivel."

I like looking at the controlled messiness and immediacy of a quick sketch. You can see that Ketcham was a master.

Here, we see a self-portrait of Dennis the Menace creator Hank Ketcham as he demonstrates one of the problems with sketching ....

... people notice.

I would love to see a graphic novel with these people in it. Very characterful. Look at that assured, quick linework.

And here is Trafalgar Square, with squiggles of pigeons cascading in the London sky. How Ketcham is able to make amorphous loopy blobs appear to be flying birds, I don't know. It's some kind of magic from a master, isn't it?

Wonderful to see this. Thanks again, Marcus!

From a blog entry originally published August 17, 2006.

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