September 21st, 2007


Bud Fisher's Advice.

Bud Fisher, creator of Mutt & Jeff, is the current entry on our roster of cartooning bigwigs of the '20s who replied to Clare Briggs' questionnaire. Fisher's answers are brief, so I'll transcribe 'em below (in tandem with Briggs' questions, in blue), and follow them up with a page about Fisher's colorful life, from R.C. Harvey's entertaining and informative book, The Art of the Funnies.

1. What do you consider the greatest contributing factor to your success?

"I will have to say 'Ambition.'"

2. How much importance do you attach to an art education where the student intends to adopt cartooning as a profession?

"I will answer, 'Very little' except, 'Self-education.' I have never seen an artist educated in model-drawing much of a success in cartooning. As a professional, I am inclined to think that most people desiring to be cartoonists attach more importance to the drawing than they do to the humor."

3. What is your opinion of the average correspondence school?

"My answer is 'Nil.'"

4. How did you get your start?

"By camping on the doorsteps of all the art departments in San Francisco."

5. What general rule or advice would you give to the average beginner?

"To practice constantly and remember that humor goes further than a pretty drawing as far as cartoonists are concerned."

Now for some background about Fisher, from The Art of the Funnies:

Harvey goes on to describe Fisher buying a stable of racehorses, nightclubbing with beautiful showgirls, driving around in a Rolls Royce, marrying a countess he met on a voyage home from France (and divorcing her 4 months later), relocating whole rooms from European estates to his posh New York digs, relying on assistants to do most of his cartooning, and ending up in a lonely, squalid, Howard Hughes-like existence after alienating most of his friends and colleagues. When I think of his profligate cartoonist lifestyle, I can't help but recall this B. Kliban cartoon, which in Fisher's case was probably closer to the truth than Kliban intended:

See y'all next time!