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Why I Started Drawing

Learn why my cartoonist buddy Randy Enos started drawing!

Email Randy Enos
Visit Randy’s archive –Daryl

It all started with the son of my father’s best friend, Jose. The kid’s name was Jerry and he was about my age. I must have been 8 or 9 when Jerry seriously stole my father’s affection by being very skilled at drawing. Jerry would go to the zoo, come back home and draw all the animals from memory. My father would rave about these drawings.

As I mentioned in another story, I would read the comics every Sunday with my dad and he would pour over the details of the drawing in the strips. He didn’t know much about art but wanted to. So this kid, Jerry, was encroaching on my territory with my father. One day, my father showed me a pencil drawing of an ear of corn that Jerry had made. It was, honestly, pretty damn good, with lots of neat shading and detail. My dad said that Jerry was taking classes at The Swain School of Design, New Bedford’s only art school. He asked if maybe I’d like to take some classes there. I wanted to get some of that admiration from my dad, so I went to the Swain school one summer and it was the most boring, tedious and frustrating experience of my life. The only thing I remember about the teacher was that he had one eye that refused to look in the same direction as the other one, which was a little unnerving. I was forced to hone my pencil to a wedge shape with a sandpaper block and then to draw smooth, even,  parallel strokes close together. I filled page after page of these pencil strokes only to be told that they weren’t up to par. We also made strokes that graduated from light to dark –over and over and over again. We would not be allowed to draw anything else until we mastered these exercises. I was failing miserably. I quit.

When I was about 10, I think, I was walking with a fellow classmate, Barbara Camara, down at the bottom of the street where I lived and where her father had a hardware store. All of a sudden, I saw a new little shop that hadn’t been there before. It was just a tiny place next to the hardware store. It was a store front with two windows, one on either side of the doorway. It seemed to be the studio/shop of a commercial artist. A small sign said “Art Lessons”. I went in and met the artist inside seated at a drawing board. He told me the price of lessons. It wasn’t very much. I rushed home and told my dad and he agreed to me taking some lessons there.

This was a whole other world from the Swain school. I went down to the shop once or twice a week and the guy sat me on a stool at a drawing board right next to his and encouraged me to draw anything I wanted. I wish I could remember his name but it escapes me. He gave me India ink and a brush and a pen with which to draw. I told him what interested me and he helped me in that direction. Milton Caniff was making a big impression on me at that time so our efforts were on replicating some facsimile of Caniff’s brushwork. I didn’t know cartoonists used brushes as well as pens until this fellow told me about it. He showed me how to draw half-lock folds. He showed me how to crosshatch. He inspired the hell out of me. He had a friend who often dropped by and they would include me in their “art talk”. I realized, at a certain point, that their main source of work was in drawing the corny little spots you see in the phone book. They were two very small-time commercial artists but they had big hearts and they shared my enthusiasm about drawing and comics etc.. I was finally getting excited about the world of art and illustrating and cartooning. They showed me books and discussed the leading artists of the day.

One memorable sunny day, they said that they were going out to paint watercolors in the outdoors. They asked me if I wanted to go along. Do bears do poo poo in the woods? Of course I wanted to go along and paint with two professional artists, so off we went. We arrived at a farm house. We trudged out into a field and split up, each finding something interesting to paint. So, I’m there with my little watercolor box and my brushes and I settle down to paint the barn I see before me. Halfway into my very enjoyable foray into the plein arts, I became aware of a presence off a way to my left. I turned my head to see a big cow bearing down me! I had never had a large cow bearing down on me before and didn’t quite know what to do about it. She very determinably strode directly at me and was gaining speed all the while. I leaped up and stepped away from my watercolors, brushes and watercolor pad which were on the ground. The cow didn’t seem interested in me but, rather my painting of the barn, because she didn’t come at me anymore, but strode directly at my painting and stopped. She lowered her head to my picture. Then, this giant cow tongue came out of her mouth and slurped across my freshly painted watercolor. Then, she looked at me and walked back from whence she came. My watercolor had this big “splootch” right across the barn.

Afterwards, I enjoyed showing people the watercolor that a cow helped me paint.

And, Oh … remember Jerry back up there in the beginning of this story, the kid who was a drawing genius ? He became a car mechanic and never drew any more.


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Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

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

Blog Syndicate

TRUE Stupid Stuff 2!

Here’s another new batch of my old TRUE cartoons from the 1990’s – at least the ones that look like they could still be true. This is from a batch about government.

Blog Syndicate

TRUE Devils, Angels and YUCK!

Here’s a new collection of my old TRUE cartoons about devils, angels and yucky stuff!

I’ll be posting more TRUE cartoons soon.

Want to see more collections of my TRUE cartoons?  Here are some cool links:











St Just le Martel, the Euro-Editorial Cartoonists Convention in France

I had great fun at the European editorial cartoonists convention in St Just le Martel France the last two years and I’m going again this year. It is a public event in the small French town, and any fans who would like to visit with the scores of attending editorial cartoonists are welcome to come. The cartoonists often sit at drawing tables and are happy to chat and do drawings for visitors.

The ancient and charming church in St Just le Martel that houses St Just’s bones.
This is an adult St. Just breaking his dinnerplate halo with his martel, in an image that the town seems to have adopted as a logo (I don’t know who the artist was on this one).

St Just le Martel is the patron saint of a little French town near Limoges; his bones are housed at an ancient little church in town.  The story goes that little St Just was walking along one day when God asked him to throw his hammer (martel); when the hammer landed, water squirted out of the ground. God told little St Just to build a church on the spot, founding the little town. That’s an adult St. Just (right) breaking his dinnerplate halo with his martel, in an image that the town seems to have adopted as a logo (I don’t know who the artist was on this one).  That’s the church that houses his bones at the left.

The tiny town opens itself up to editorial cartoonist from around the world every year at the end of September.  The townsfolks put the cartoonists up in their homes and get together to prepare giant meals for the cartoonists and what looks like the whole town through the “Salon.” And the little town has built a big, nice cartoon museum (below). It is hard to imagine any little town in America doing something like this (although it looks like Kenosha, Wisconsin and Marceline, Missouri may be headed in that direction).

Here’s an aerial view of the cartoon Museum in St Just le Martel, France. For scale, those are three colorful, life-size, cow sculptures on the roof, over the entrance to the museum.



This is my poster for the exhibition this year.



There is a contingent of Australian cartoonists attending this year, along with six American cartoonists that are coming with me:  Steve Sack, Rick McKee, Adam Zyglis, Monte Wolverton and Nate Beeler. We’re doing exhibitions of American Views of Putin and Ferguson Missouri; I expect the Australian cartoonists will have an exhibition of Aussie cartoons.

I did the poster for this year’s Salon (right, click here to see the sketch and a large version of the poster). The Salon/festival runs over two weekends from September 27th through October 5th. The first weekend they give their “Humor Tendre” (tender humor) award to someone like a children’s book illustrator who draws nice, sweet cartoons; the award consists of a live sheep.  The week between the weekends can be a bit slow, but some cartoonists hang out for the week between the two weekends.

The second weekend, when most of the editorial cartoonists attend, they give the “Humor Vache” (cow humor, or harsh humor) award to a more satirical, caustic cartoonist. I won the cow last year, which is why I did the poster this year; there seems to be a tradition of the cow winner doing the poster for the following year.  See me with my charming prize, Josette the cow, at  last year’s event here.

St Just le Martel is way out in the French boondocks, cow country, and they are proud of their cows. The cow has become a symbol for the Salon/festival – the Limoges cow is always brown, like Josette.  Here are some more posters from recent Salons …




We have programming on and that makes an artist’s work disappear if he/she hasn’t posted a cartoon in the past thirty days. Cartoonists retire and disappear quietly.

But today, I noticed – for the first time in three years – my cartoonist buddy Tab from Canada posted a new cartoon, and made his old archive reappear!  Tab retired when he was laid off from the newspaper in Calgary. Tab! So nice to see you’re back! I hope this won’t be the only cartoon from you! Here’s Tab’s cartoon.

 Tab! cartoons

And here’s Tab’s last cartoon from 2011, when he retired.

46262 600 Tab! cartoons

Blog Cartoons

Poster Sketch for Next Year’s St Just Festival

affiche%20web Poster Sketch for Next Years St Just Festival cartoons

Here is the last poster for the festival.

Winning the grand prix/humor vache (cow) at the St just festival comes with the obligation/honor of drawing the festival poster for the next year’s festival. I thought I would share the rough sketch that was just approved – I’ll start to work on the finish now.

This is based on an old painting of Marie Antoinette, that had such a huge derriere, that I thought it could, ambiguously, hide the body of a cow. In recent years the St Just festival poster has always featured a cow. They have cow statues on the roof of the cartoon museum there, in the middle of French cow country. And they have a recent tradition of dressing a cow statue at the entrance to the museum, to match the dress of the cow in the poster.

Last year, the cow was a ballerina – an easy costume. I thought I would put the volunteer seamstresses in St Just to the test this year, with a much more ambitious project.

StJustPosterCagleSketch600wide Poster Sketch for Next Years St Just Festival cartoons