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The Garden (of Earthly Delights)

My cartoonist buddy, Randy Enos, writes more about his illustrious career …

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About 20 or 25 years ago I started working on a large linocut, just for myself, entitled “The Garden (of Earthly Delights)”. I’m still working on it and I’ll probably never finish it. Every few months, I pull it out and do a little more on it. It’s tucked away in a closet in my studio and I tend to forget about it. I guess I’ve lost interest. It started out as a grand idea. My “garden” doesn’t have any flowers, vegetables or weeds in it. It doesn’t have any caterpillars, dung beetles or worms. What it has are dozens and dozens of famous cartoon characters in it. My grand plan was to pay homage to all the old wonderful “delights” of the magical world of cartoons.

It’s a kind of street scene hustle bustle with a building behind with windows. The characters pass each other on the cobblestones going to and fro while Superman and Captain Marvel attempt to save Fritzi Ritz who is falling from the roof of the building.

My picture contains, so far, Dick Tracy, Li’l Abner, Krazy Kat, Superman, Captain Marvel, Secret Agent X9, the Gumps, Barney Google, Tillie the Toiler, Popeye, Olive Oyl, Prince Valiant, Alley Oop, Hagar the Horrible,
Captain America, Jiggs & Maggie, Ella Cinders, Li’l Orphan Annie, the Cap’n and the Kids, Smilin’ Jack, Beetle Bailey, Harold Teen, Skippy, Archie Andrews, Moon Mullins, Nancy, Felix the Cat, Happy Hooligan, Smokey Stover, The Little King, Ferd’nand, Fritzi Ritz, Mutt ‘n’ Jeff, Pogo, The Yellow Kid (with “Is dis da gardin?” lettered on his gown), Walt from Gasoline Alley and a few dozen others that I can’t even remember the names of. But, I have a lot of space left and many many more characters to include. I get worn out just thinking about it.

I’m cutting on an old, very hard piece of linoleum which is dark brown in color. They don’t even sell this stuff any more. It’s like engraving on a hard wood block. It holds the finest detail. I don’t know if I have the patience to continue on in the dense detailed style I set for this piece. The big 24X36 lino block is even starting to crack in places but I think I can work around that hazard. The formidable task of inking and printing it when it is finished presents another challenge. I don’t use a press. I print everything by hand so I’d probably have to ink and print it in sections and then paste ’em together or just keep lifting my paper and freshening the ink as I go along. I’d have to find a nice big sheet of fairly thin and absorbent paper to use. But, as I said before, I’ll most likely abandon this project before I finish it. My wife keeps urging me to go on with it, however, and she often gets her way. More than often.

A while back, meaning a few years ago, I decided to see how the work was proceeding and whether or not things were coming out as planned so I actually inked a few small sections and took some quick prints off of it hoping to encourage myself to continue. I’m showing some of them here in this article along with a couple of shots of the big brown block itself.

To make matters worse, I started another picture in 2011 that still isn’t finished. It seems to be going the way of “The Garden”. It’s named “The Conqueror Worm” after my favorite Poe poem. At least with this one I’ve started printing and pasting up. It got interrupted when I worked on my Mocha Dick book and I have never gotten back to it.

Well, if my “Garden” never fulfills its destiny… at least I got a story out of it.

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Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

Happy Times in the Morgue

I was the Green Canary

Born in a Volcano

When I was a Famous Chinese Watercolorist

My Most Unusual Art Job

A Duck Goes Into a Grocery Store

A Day With Jonathan Winters and Carol Burnett

Illustrating the Sea

Why I Started Drawing

The Fastest Illustrator in the World!

Me and the GhostBusters

The Bohemian Bohemian

Take it Off … Take it ALL Off!

I Eat Standing Up

The Funniest Cartoon I’ve Ever Seen

The Beatles had a Few Good Tunes

Andy Warhol Meets King Kong

Jacques and the Cowboy

The Gray Lady (The New York Times)

The BIG Eye

Historic Max’s

The Real Moby Dick

The Norman Conquests

Man’s Achievements in an Ever Expanding Universe

How to Murder Your Wife

I Yam What I Yam

The Smallest Cartoon Characters in the World

Chicken Gutz

Brought to You in Living Black and White

The Hooker and the Rabbit

Art School Days in the Whorehouse

The Card Trick that Caused a Divorce

The Mysterious Mr. Quist

Monty Python Comes to Town

Riding the Rails

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the NCS