Monday, September 3, 2012

Out-Drawn by Dr. Seuss

Eight years ago, I made this drawing for my cousin Harry on his birthday. Happily, I periodically go through these optimistic periods when I believe I can spread a little cheer through my cartoons, and at such times I truly think I'll somehow have the time and the energy to do something equally ambitious at some point for all my various relatives. Opportunity and inspiration don't seem to coincide often enough for me to keep up any kind of gift-drawing on a regular basis these days. Still, Harry got his birthday drawing and he even kept it, bless him.

For Harry's Birthday, September 3, 2004

Unbeknownst to me, in that very same year, 2004, Charles D. Cohen published The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel, a marvelous collection of Dr. Seuss's less familiar work. Now, I did not get to see a copy of the book until sometime after I had given Harry his birthday drawing, and then I learned that the good Dr. Seuss, Ted Geisel, had made a drawing back in 1937 for Collier's of the very same subject: a sea serpent encountering a pool toy.

Now, I don't make any special claims to originality, and it doesn't really bother me that this subject has been drawn before and by a much more talented hand. When things like this happen, as they invariably do from time to time, I like to take a step back to acknowledge and appreciate the work of a true master, and to remind myself that it's probably a very good thing for me that I did not go into the business. In the meantime, I may have been out-drawn by Dr. Seuss, but still I'm grateful that I can accomplish what little I can given my amateur status as a cartoonist. Professionally, though I still might be able to out-doctor Seuss, at least on a good day.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Collier's 100, No. 5, July 31, 1937,
in Cohen, Charles D. The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss.
New York: Random House, 2004, p. 180.


Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Collier's 100, No. 5, July 31, 1937,
in Cohen, Charles D. The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss. New York: Random House, 2004, p. 180.

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