See All Topics

Home / Section: Cartoonist

The End of Original Art – A Lament

With the growing popularity of digital drawing,
original art is becoming a thing of the past.

Maybe no one really cares about that anymore. In the end, it’s about the finished work and not the journey that gets you there…right? That’s true, but if you’ve ever held an original inked page by Wally Wood, or a watercolor by Jack Davis, or a cover painting for a book by Frank Frazetta in your hands, you cannot help but feel something special is being lost. These pieces have a connection to the physical world that moves you in a way looking at some print cannot … The brush strokes, the pen lines, the demonstration of mastery of the medium they used, all interacting with the surface of a humble piece of pulped paper or woven threads by the actual hand of the artist.

Tom Richmond is saddened by the passing of an art form.

Community Comments

#1 Tom Falco
December/6/2020
@ 10:00 am

I often think when I see original art at ComicCons, “Is this the last of the bunch of original art they are selling?” But I guess like antiques, which never seem to run out, these old pieces of original art will show up over the years.

On the bright side, the older original art will always go up in value since there is hardly any new original art to add to the collections.

#2 Nelson Dewey
December/6/2020
@ 6:30 pm

I was lucky enough to receive two Peanuts originals from Charles Schulz back in the late 60s — a daily and a Sunday (in which Woodstock hatched in front of Snoopy).
Unluckily, I later had to sell them (and many others I’d collected).
I learned a great deal from studying them — the not-quite-erased penciling, in particular.
Whenever I can, I draw on paper, thinking that maybe some day someone will learn from — and possibly treasure — my scribbles.

#3 Will Henry
December/7/2020
@ 7:52 am

I feel like I could go on about this or hours.

#4 Wiley Miller
December/7/2020
@ 12:42 pm

There’s a reason why museums don’t display prints of paintings rather than the actual paintings. No matter how exact the print may be, it’s just not the same. And who would bother go? To put it in the cartoon realm, I’m sure everyone here is very familiar with the works of Winsor McCay and have seen wonderful, large prints of Little Nemo. But if you should get a chance to go to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and view the original art of any of those prints you’re so familiar with, you will feel…yes, FEEL…the difference. There is a human quality, a connection, with original art that you simply cannot achieve with a print, regardless of the quality of the print. This difference is also there between pen and ink and digital. This is not to say digital art is bad or unworthy. It is still the expression of the artist. But there’s simply a loss of a soul to the work as a great deal of the composition is done by a program.

#5 Kip Williams
December/7/2020
@ 6:12 pm

Agreeing with Mr. Miller! We managed to hit Newark just as there was a show of comic art originals–talk about a cornucopia! Segar and Herriman and Feininger and Caniff and Gray and… too many to contemplate, almost. The McCay originals were gorgeous, and as I’ve said before, showed no signs of having been penciled in first. The only hint of erasure or correction was a pattern of white paint (in those pre-Liquid Paper days) that clearly covered a copious amount of misplaced ink, like a spill or a pen leak.

I was able to buy a book of Nemo pages at their original printed size. How lovely would it be to see it at the size it was drawn.

#6 Oscar Cairoli
December/10/2020
@ 2:41 pm

There is nothing like holding the original art in your hands, nothing.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.