Cartoonist Documentaries About Cartooning

Cartoonist Documentaries

cartoonist documentaries

Crumb – like character I scribbled from memory. Somewhere in farm country of Southern France

Cartoonist documentaries are great inspiration for aspiring cartoonists. They are a great reference tool and can help young artists and cartoonists understand the business of cartooning. Many of them are available and I wanted to profile a few of my favorites starting with Crumb, since cartoonist Robert Crumb had got my attention back in the 1970’s based on his highly controversial content and extremely detailed drawing style. If you see a Crumb cartoon, there doesn’t have to be a signature. It’s that identifiable and unique.

As many comic book and underground cartooning fans know, Robert Crumb is considered the “Godfather” of underground cartoonists. He was one of the first cartoonists who published his own comic books and actually sold them out of a shopping cart on the street corners in San Francisco. He didn’t have to conform to the rules of an editor, or a ‘Comics Code Authority‘. Because of this, his work fell into it’s own niche and his work got the attention of advertisers and music recording studios right away. He even illustrated one of Janis Joplin’s album covers.

You’ve also seen his Keep On Truckin’ character on literally every type of item, ranging from mud flaps to t-shirts and those off-the-wall black light posters. His work was so controversial and bizarre, many who stumbled upon his work thought he may have gone mad, when in reality, he was under the influence of mind altering drugs.

His story is quite an enduring one, and better to let you learn more by purchasing your own copy of Crumb. I highly recommend it! I’ve also listed a few more documentaries in varying lengths that focus on other interesting cartoonists and cartoon related content in the hopes it will help to understand this unique art form, and the creators a bit better.
I realize I’m leaving out many influential artists, but think these specific docs will help to enlighten those who seek some initial platform of understanding the medium a bit better.
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Cartoonist Art Baltazar

Cartoonist Art Baltazar video is highly recommended. I was going to post his You Tube video but think it’s better to post a direct link to his site here. Art initially tried following the “traditional method of getting his cartoons into publication until it was the urging of an editor to do his own publishing after seeing Art’s sketch book!
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Animation Studio Doc Featuring Walter Lantz

Walter Lantz of Woody Woodpecker fame talks about animation techniques. So in depth and interesting to see how these animators worked in the era when cartoons on the big screen were the big thing. There is now CGI and computer cartoon animation software that studio utilize in the production of animated cartoons.
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Gag Panel Cartooning Reviewed In This Video

Funny Business – An Inside Look At The Art Of Cartooning. One of my favorites because it involves gag cartooning. Near and dear to my heart and this features many cartoonists whose work I have always appreciated and enjoyed and gone over meticulously…and yes, I still have Mort Gerberg‘s book who is also featured in this hour long doc that I wanted to add to this list here.
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Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Opening

Cartooning And Comic Strips -The Essence Of The Art part 1
When the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library And Museum opened, Brian Walker of Beetle Bailey gave a lecture.
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Peanuts Creator Charles Schulz Documentary

Charles Schulz Documentary. Famed Peanuts comic strip cartoonist is interviewed, profiled and the history of Charlie Brown is recapped along with many other interesting facts on the life of the biggest of all syndicated comic strip creators.
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Walt Disney – Cultural Icon

Walt Disney Documentary is almost an hour and a half in length providing a good insight into Walter Elias Disney’s vision. Even though Walt liked being a cartoonist, his “vision” of Disneyland proved he was to be more of a business oriented professional. He turned into one of the world’s greatest entertainers and entrepreneurs based on his interest in animation and cartooning.
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Cartooning great – Eldon Dedini

New Yorker magazine, Playboy magazine and many others have published the single panel gag cartoons of cartoonist Eldon Dedini. His style is so identifiable from the second you lay eyes on his work. This is a relatively short doc but provides great insight into the lift of Eldon, his cartoons and how he worked. I’ve absorbed this one just for “artistic inspiration” in order to get the creative juices flowing or at the very least, generate a spark to sketch out some cartoons in the sketchbook or what have you. I think his contribution to the cartooning business goes without saying. Check out this Dedini documentary to glean some insights into one of the greats.
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Editorial Cartoonist Documentary

Cartoonist documentaries in this small collection wouldn’t be complete without providing something about editorial cartoonists. Ray Osrin did cartoons for The Cleveland Plain Dealer and this link about Ray Osrin‘s cartooning gives a great look at the cartoonist.
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For the sake of these cartoonist documentaries being informative, I wish this kind of information had been available 30 or 40 years ago. I say this because my inspiration came from anthologies, treasuries and cartoon collections of my favorite cartoonists and illustrators.  New cartoonists have it so easy to gather information, all in one place! Most cartoon artists only have to navigate to the web for browsing clips and short interviews with cartoonists.
The few I’m sharing here are a small portion of what’s available and I highly suggest using You Tube or even Vimeo and just search around for what discipline in the business might pique your interest and spark your creativity.
Lastly, another recently produce documentary is Stripped which is about comic strips and many of the artists who create them. This video can be purchased separately but I’m providing a link to a brief synopsis of the documentary that is  well produced and extremely informative.

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