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The Drew Litton exit interview

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Drew Litton is perhaps one of the most rarest of cartoonists. His sports editorial cartoons have graced the Rocky Mountain News or 26 years. I had a chance to talk to him last night after he had drawn his last cartoon for the Rocky.
AG. How much advance notice did you have that the paper was going to close?

DL: We knew the paper was for sale and the possibility was eminent. I had taken the last week and a half off; we had told earlier that we should use our vacation days before March 1st. The sports editor and I were actually out to lunch today when we got the call.

AG: How long did you work for the Rocky?

DL: Twenty-six years. It was a great run.

AG: What did you do before you came to the News?

DL: My career started out at the bottom rung as a copy boy and then staff illustrator at the El Paso Times. I spent five and half years there when I answered an ad in Editor & Publisher for a sports artist at the Rocky Mountain News. They actually hired someone else, but two weeks before he was to start he told them he wasn’t going to move. They called me up. They were intrigued by my work; I did some sample cartoons for them and they hired me. It was nice to finish second for once.

AG: What’s next after tomorrow?

DL: I don’t know yet. I have ideas of directions I want to move. I want to do more animation. I’ve fallen head over heels with it. I’ll look at all my options. I’ve thought of doing children’s books.

AG: You’ve certainly been a unique position in cartooning – to work for a newspaper and do cartoons specific about sports.

DL: My dream has always been to try to influence editors to see the value of an opinionated sports cartoon. I still believe it remains a valuable way to attract readers. I mean I have been able to hold a piece of real estate on page two of the Rocky sports section, I think because local sports cartoons do impact a tremendous amount of readers in the community.

Community Comments

#1 Randy Polliard
February/27/2009
@ 3:05 pm

Very sad news about the Rocky Mountain News today.

Like Drew, I am a Sports Editorial Cartoonist, but for the Seattle Times newspaper. I guess you could say I’m currently the ONLY Editorial Cartoonist at the Seattle Times since Eric Devericks was laid off as the staff Editorial Cartoonist in late 2008. The Seattle market is unfortunately probably not far behind the Denver market, with a smallish big city trying to support competing daily newspapers, and will be a one newspaper market soon. Most likely the only reason I am still cartooning is that I am a contracted freelancer, submitting a Sunday cartoon every week, as opposed to being on staff.

Because I grew up in Denver, Drew Litton was one of my earliest cartooning influences, and his unique career was a compelling reason that upon moving to Seattle, I drafted some sample sports cartoons and pitched the idea to an editor back in June of 1993.

I just wanted to wish Drew luck. Let’s collaborate on an animation soon.

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