“We had a thing, where there were four of us, I don’t know if we ever mentioned this, I would get together with Sam Gross, Bill Woodman… once a month we’d all meet at Sam’s apartment, and we would sit down and we would open the phone book— we’d get the yellow pages, and then we would just blindly put our finger down. For instance we’d end up with plumbing,“Ok, we’re gonna do a plumbing gag.” We would drink afterwards. So we’d pick three topics to do cartoons on, and then we would just sit and just quickly sketch out cartoons and show each other.”
“…and one day, I was taking night classes with Bob Blechman and [Charles] Slackman, and they gave an assignment to do a storyboard, to do an animation. I overdo things sometimes, but everyone came in with two pieces of paper, a little storyboard, or rough storyboard, and I did four full boards—248 pounds! [laughs] Meanwhile, Blechman had gotten me a job at Pushpin Studios… there was Milton Glaser, Seymour Chast, Isadore Seltzer, Jim McMullin… all the big illustrators that were in Pushpin, and I would get on the back of the bus to deliver things, and I’d take all of their drawings and study them.”
Today’s Case is not in the usual survey format, because a little over a week ago, I called Arnie up on the phone, and we had a wild conversation about cartooning. I’m posting the interview in two pieces. The first part (which you’re currently reading!) is focused on his background, and the second part will be mainly about his art supplies and drawing process. Arnie has lived a life just as colorful as his art, and I hope that you have as much fun reading about it as I had interviewing him!—Jane Mattimoe
A Case For Pencils interviews cartoonist Arnie Levin.
update: The Interview, Part Two.
hat tip to Michael Maslin for the heads up