Jeannie (Silver T-Square) Schulz Interview

Jeannie Schulz, who will receive the Silver T-Square from the National Cartoonists Society at this year’s Reuben ceremony, sat for an interview with The Santa Rosa Junior College Oak Leaf recently.

The Oak Leaf: The 20th anniversary of the museum is this year. What was your original vision?

Jean Schulz: It has to be homey and have a space for [Sparky’s] original art. I didn’t understand that, a museum where everybody [has seen] all the [“Peanuts” comic] strips. But other people said, “No, that’s the wrong way to look at it.” People want to see the original art, and they don’t know all the background. So that’s what you put in the museum. Our whole thing was we wanted it to be comfortable, we wanted it to be welcoming.

When Sparky and I married, I would go into his office, and he was drawing a comic strip, and he was so good at it that he could draw and talk to me at the same time. I saw this happening day after day and for 25 years; I took it for granted. I didn’t realize how hard it is, how every line is a decision. You have to make the square, and you have to decide how much is dialogue and how the characters are, and if you look at a comic strip, say there’s Snoopy and Charlie Brown, they all have different proportions. He had to decide how to make the panel look interesting, so they couldn’t just be exactly the same; maybe they would be bigger or maybe he would put just a side of the doghouse and Charlie Brown standing there. So every panel was a new decision to make. And I didn’t realize that, so I took it all for granted. He used to draw the last panel first, because he said, “I don’t want to have an idea, and then I get to the end and it doesn’t work.” He wanted to make sure the joke worked. He would make sure that panel worked and fill in the others. He had to think all the time, but by the time I met him, he had been drawing it for over 20 years, and he was just an expert at it.

Read the entire interview at The Oak Leaf.

The Schulz Museum