Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Bottle green Betty

Seeing Craig Yoe's post last week about Nell Brinkley reminded me of Trina Robbins' 2001 book on the artist. We don't have enough monographs on the great cartoonists that we should allow one to slip from our attention. Apart from being a great little book, though the publisher allowed a smaller format than would be ideal, it is of special interest to me because it contains a handful of cartoons by one of my favourites, Tad Dorgan and also involves some courtroom sketching. During the first year of her career on the Hearst-owned New York Journal, Brinkley was assigned by editor Arthur Brisbane to cover the famous Thaw murder trial, for the womens' interest that it provoked. It was a crime of passion at the the center of which was the beautiful chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit. Brinkley accompanied her drawings with lavish sentimental prose in the style of the period. Where it gets really interesting is when Tad, in his regular spot in the sports pages, starts lampooning Brinkley's work. Tad was ten years older than Brinkley and by this time both an influential cartoonist and a friend of many famous sporting figures. Robbins showed and discussed four instances of this jollity and described a fifth which occured during the weeks after the trial. I wrote to Trina at the time in the hope that while obtaining images from the old microfilm she had acquired more than she needed for her book. This turned out to be the case and she was able to send me photocopies of the unseen cartoons that she had only described as well as large copies of the others in their newpaper settings. Unused by Trina, here is Brinkley, in the women's pages, in one of a series matching types of young lady (Betties), distinguished by colours, to young fellows (Billies), likewise. Thus she matches the 'Billy of opal and change' to the 'Betty of brown.'


(click these for very large versions)
In his usual manner of using dogs as stand-ins for people, Tad in the sports section matches the 'bottle green Betty' to the 'lavender Billy', and 'salmon pink Betty' to the 'heart-of lettuce-green Billy' etc.


There's an untypical boldness to the piece by Brinkley, who can often get lost in the frills, and the Tad is just deliciously uncouth. (both from 1908)
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Following my post about beer yesterday, Mick Evans sends this link to Bestadsontv.dom:
George Patterson Y&R, Melbourne has created a new spot for Victoria Bitter, featuring members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria playing the VB tune with nothing but VB bottles. Says art director Ben Couzens: "At first we weren't even sure it was possible, but with renowned conductor/composer Cezary Skubiszewski's help and after a few early tests we knew we were onto something quite amazing. The result speaks for itself." (see the whole video.)

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6 Comments:

Blogger spacedlaw said...

That posts seems to feel lonely...

A question for you:
Nicki is writing about making faces when she draws and I was wondering if you did that too or if you felt any need to empathize with your characters in order to give them life?

1 November 2007 1:20:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley said...

Dad makes faces when he draws but it's got nowt to do with the character. He furrows his brow and sticks out his lips. He also does this when playing his violin and grating the cheese.

I'm not sure if he knows this.

1 November 2007 9:06:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Ah... The concentration mimick.
Does he stick his tongue out as well? I find it helps when drawing straight lines.

1 November 2007 11:36:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Menawhile it seems that our artist has done a runner...

1 November 2007 3:48:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Nathalie, wee hayley,
yes I' was upin the middle of the night phoning New York. Now we're doing a completely new cover for Leotard.
It will be worth the extra efort.
later
Eddie

1 November 2007 6:43:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley said...

Excellent. I was a little nonplussed about t'other one.

2 November 2007 4:30:00 am GMT-5  

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