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The Cartoonist’s Cartoonists: Nate Creekmore

This week’s featured cartoonist is Nate Creekmore. Nate’s feature, Maintaining, launched last May by Universal Press. In 2005, he was named best college cartoonist by the Associated Collegiate Press and has the distinct honor of having been twice awarded the Charles M. Schulz award (Scripps Howard Foundation) in 2003 and 2004.

Arron Mcgruder– I first discovered The Boondocks on the pages of the Source magazine and I’ve been a fan ever since. My favorite comic strips prior to my discovery of The Boondocks had always been fairly abstract, but McGruder’s work was more tangible and recognizable. His characters were angry and relevant in a non-juvenile kind of way.

Frank Cho– Every panel in a Liberty Meadows comic strip is a work of art. The way he combines cartoon animals with classically rendered human characters immediately stands out. Frank Cho makes cartooning look easy.

Bill Watterson – He’s the Michael Jordan of cartooning. Charles Schulz is Dr. J, but Watterson is Mike (I guess that would make McGruder LeBron James). Everything about Calvin and Hobbes is genius.

Juanjo Guarnido – is my favorite artist. His work on the Blacksad books is phenomenal. Nobody can capture mood or expression as masterfully as Guarnido.

Keith Knight– I think K Chronicles is the funniest comic strip actively being published. I don’t know how he manages to get away with most of his material, but I’m glad he does. He has a loose, frantic way of drawing that matches perfectly with the informal, irreverent feel of his comic.

Charles Schulz – For me, the genius of Peanuts was in its ability to capture and depict the sublime melancholy in a way that left readers pensive instead of depressed. That’s a nearly impossible feat, but Schulz managed to do it every day for fifty years. If I can capture a fraction of what he had, I’ll be a’ight.

Al Hirschfeld – He’s not a necessarily a cartoonist, but I chase after his aesthetic more than anyone else when it comes to my cartooning work. Hirschfeld got more out of line than anyone before or since. His caricatures didn’t just look like the subject, they were often the definitive interpretation of the subject. While I’m not crazy about his questionable use of blackface, I love his work overall.

Winsor Mccay – His work on Little Nemo and Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend is impressive even after all these years. Again, I’m not crazy about his penchant for using blackface characters, but I think he ranks among the all-time greats.

Joe Madureira – is my favorite comic book artist. I mostly know him from his work on The Uncanny X-Men and Deadpool. I especially like the way he draws hands.

Wiley Miller – I get the feeling that Wiley Miller knows he’s one of the best. His writing is on an entirely different level and, visually, he uses perspective more effectively than any other newspaper cartoonist. I read Non Sequitur everyday, but I wish he’d revive Homer, the Reluctant Soul. That strip was genius.

Jules Feiffer – directly addressed the absurd with an approach that reminds me of James Thurber (and Keith Knight). I love his monologues and the way his speakers always seem to be right on the edge of insanity. Great writer.

Kadir Nelson – another non-cartoonist, but his illustrations have had a profound impact on me. He has a way of elongating and exaggerating his figures that is reminiscent of El Greco.

Community Comments

#1 Rich Diesslin
December/3/2007
@ 11:49 am

Nate, quite a range of influences! Thanks for sharing and especially identifying specific attributes that have influenced you.

#2 Josh McDonald
December/3/2007
@ 12:51 pm

I always love when the featured cartoonist brings up an artist I’ve never heard of before. A great list, Nate, and a great comic. Keep up the good work.

#3 josh s.
December/3/2007
@ 1:11 pm

Good list!
I’m interested in the difference between who I think influences a cartoonist and who they say influences them. Sometimes I can spot it, but others seem to come out of left field. It’s a cool surprise.

#4 Garey Mckee
December/3/2007
@ 11:52 pm

Finally. I’ve been waiting for someone to put Winsor McCay on their list, as he’s definately at the top of mine. To me, his Rarebit panels are much more interesting than Slumberland. Rarebit is much darker than Slumberland. Also, his lesser strips like Hungry Henrietta and Little Sammy Sneeze are a great study in progressive imagery, even more so than some of the Slumberland panels, where you can definately see his interest in movement and animation emerge.

Josh, I think the word influence is a broad term in the case of these lists. There’s really a difference between cartoonists you admire and cartoonists whose work actually influences your own.

Also, who’s this Wiley Miller guy Nate is talking about? Just kidding Wiley. I agree with his observation of Wiley’s great use of perspective. Perspective is tricky to use in comic strips and it’s not seen much in alot of work, I think because of the limitations of size and space the medium requires. Sometimes inappropriate use of perspective in a strip can lead to clutter and confusion and make the work difficult to read. But Nate’s right, Wiley does it effectively and naturally.

#5 Chris H.
December/4/2007
@ 3:28 pm

Garey, I agree about Winsor McCay…he is one of my favorite historical cartoonists because of his beautiful art. And I must agree about “Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend”…Nemo was great to look at, but with “Rarebit Fiend” McCay (or Silas, which was his pseudonym) really captured not only great art but also a sense of frenzy and human fear that is truly brought out in dreams — not just the adventuring of Little Nemo.

Congratulations to Wiley for being put on someone’s list. His use of perspective IS often astounding; there was a daily recently where Danae and some other girl are fighting for Jeffrey’s affections, and each panel is from a different perspective — facing each of the 3 kids and from then above. It really was an eye-grabber.

Wait, here’s the link:
http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2007/11/08/

#6 Garey Mckee
December/4/2007
@ 3:45 pm

Also, McCay was a Mason. Which was my first introduction to the fraternity. Any other Brothers with a pen out there?

#7 Mike Rhode
December/5/2007
@ 4:31 pm

This is an interesting list – Keith Knight’s work is hilarious. Feiffer rules. Some of the comic book people seem a bit… less likely. And if Hirschfeld’s not a cartoonist, I don’t know who is.

#8 Anthony
December/25/2007
@ 4:51 pm

Im an up coimg artist and i want to know how can i get myself out there

#9 Anthony
December/25/2007
@ 4:52 pm

Im an up coming artist and i want to know how can i get myself out there

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October/14/2011
@ 2:20 pm

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