After nearly 35 years Steve Sack has retired from the Doodles feature. During that same 35 years it has been a team effort, now, beginning February 2, 2020 (below), it will be a Chris Foote solo project.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Steve Sack told The Daily Cartoonist:
I decided to step back mainly because I have other projects I want to focus my energies on, and 35 years of doing a kids feature seemed about enough. I started Doodles out of my love of drawing cartoons, and a kids puzzle/activity feature offered a great excuse to draw the things I liked to sketch since I was old enough to hold a pencil; monsters, aliens, dragons, wacky inventions, dinosaurs and critters of all kinds. Also it was a place to make art that had nothing to do with politics (both Craig and I were staff political cartoonists at the time. I still am, with the Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Chris Foote joined the Doodles comic in December 2012, we asked him about going solo:
After seven years I feel very comfortable with the characters, and thoroughly enjoy the process of producing and carrying forward a strip Steve worked so hard to create. Steve fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine and I owe him a lot.
Doodles began in 1986 (Allan Holtz dates its beginning to October 19, 1986) as Professor Doodles (Just For Kids Corner). At that time it was a Sunday activity page and a daily comic strip.
Around 1998 the daily strip was discontinued and the Sunday page became “Doodles.”
When we asked Steve about how the team creates the page he replied,
We’ve had a variety of arrangements and divisions of work over the years.
Mostly alternating the large panel.
In an early (1987) interview Craig MacIntosh described the collaboration:
Steve gives me a list of ideas for the large panel and I work out the small panels. I pencil in the drawings and he inks them.
In 2009 the arrangement was described:
Sack handles the main panel.
MacIntosh [handles the] three smaller panels.
So yeah, all kinds of collaboration.
And maybe also decided by one or the other partner having a big outside project.
When Craig MacIntosh retired from Doodles in 2012, Chris signed up:
I spent many years doing freelance cartooning for General Mills and other manufacturers (my cartoons appeared on most of Big G’s kid’s cereal boxes at one time or another). As I recall, Steve stumbled across some cartoons I’d uploaded to MNArtist.org, a website run by the Walker Art Center here in Minnesota to feature local artists, and he felt my style might be appropriate for his feature (Craig was leaving to focus on other things at the time). Steve very generously offered me half the strip and we went from there, with me spending much of the first year or two struggling to match the legendary quality of his work.
Steve values his time spent on the comic, a place to stretch his cartooning in a different style:
It was a fun experience for me collaborating with Craig and Chris, and engaging with all of the children who enjoy the feature. Chris will do a terrific job taking the feature forward.
As for Chris and the future of Doodles:
I continue to draw the strip the old fashioned way, with ink over pencil sketches, but I recently purchased a tablet and am experimenting with digital illustration (we’ll see). I have no plans to alter or remove any of the existing Doodles characters, but I will be introducing some new characters in time. Much of the humor is still provided by fans (children and occasionally adults), which is heart warming and makes my job a little easier.
We wish Steve success in future projects and will continue to enjoy his political cartoons,
and we will laugh and be puzzled by Chris Foote’s Doodles in our papers and at Creators.com.