Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Complete Guide To Cartooning by Gene Byrnes (1948)


The Complete Guide to Cartooning by Gene Byrnes is available at Archive.org, and do take a look at the Animation Resources site, which has hi res scans and more detail about this how to cartoon book, which features "157 Outstanding Artists."

The author, Gene Byrnes (1889 - 1974), created the long running Reg'lar Fellers syndicated comic strip (1917 - 1949). He had planned a career in sports, but broke his leg during a wrestling match. While convalescing, he copied cartoons by Tad Dorgan. Then he took the Landon Course. After meeting Winsor McCay, he applied for and received a position as sports cartoonist at the New York Telegram on his recommendation.

He drew a couple of cartoon features at the Telegram, with names like Things That Never Happen, Wise Awake Willie and It's A Great Life If You Don't Weaken. That last one featured a couple of the kid characters that would star in Reg'lar Fellers

Via Wikipedia:

"His humorous look at suburban children (who nevertheless spoke like New York street kids) was syndicated from 1917 to 1949.

" ... In 1923, he was interviewed by Helen Hilliard of The Oakland Tribune:

"I sat and watched Gene Byrnes draw a cartoon of himself for me. And I marveled as I watched. How anybody could sit down off-hand, take up pencil and paper, and start right off on a picture. When I had asked him for a photograph, he had looked rather dubious. He had his doubts if he had any pictures of himself. 'But,' he continued, 'I can make that all right.' A soft drawing pencil appeared magically in his fingers, and deftly he began to trace various figures on a square of drawing paper. As I looked on the lines gradually began to take shape until I could see the faint resemblance to a man. The pencil suddenly disappeared and its place was taken by a pen. This he dipped in India ink and with big swift strokes blotted out the penciled lines with streaks of heavy black. A small paint brush put on the finishing touches. And lo and behold! there was the picture all finished, showing Gene Byrnes, cartoonist, with two Reg’lar Fellers on the top of his desk."

His Complete Guide to Cartooning was influential on a generation of comic artists, including Ralph Bakshi.

Below are some sample images. 


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