Ann Cleaves – RIP

Editorial cartoonist Ann Cleaves has passed away.

Ann Elspeth Whitney Cleaves
July 26, 1945 – July 7, 2022


From the obituary:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved sister and friend, Ann Whitney Cleaves. Ann Elspeth Whitney was born on July 26, 1945 in Schenectady, NY to Elspeth Paterson Whitney and Douglas Brainard Whitney. Ann married Courland Cleaves in 1969 and is survived by him.

From Ann’s AAEC profile:

Ann Cleaves is an award winning cartoonist whose cartoons appear in the Palisadian Post (Pacific Palisades, CA), Random Lengths (San Pedro, CA), and La Prensa San Diego. Her cartoons have also appeared in The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, the Pasadena Star News, and the Temple (TX) Daily Telegram. Several of Ann’s cartoons have won first place awards from the CNPA (CA Newspaper Publishers Association).

From The Random Length News obituary (via PressReader):

She began cartooning as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia. Then as a volunteer in Fiji she illustrated schoolbooks for the Fiji Ministry of Education.

Ann worked at her studio at Angels Gate Cultural Center for more than 15 years as a full time cartoonist.


From Ann’s Angels Gate Cultural Center page:

Her cartoons have also appeared in the annual edition of Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year as well as in several cartoon shows. Her illustrations have appeared in the book Oh No, Not Another Problem and in the biannual educational magazine The Change Agent.
She has been a member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) since 1989.

Below miscellaneous selections from Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year.


In 2012 Angelo Lopez interviewed Ann:

I had no idea what to do when I graduated from college. So, I joined an ice show – traveling with Holiday on Ice for a year throughout the US, and in Brazil and Argentina. Best job I ever had, with cartooning a very close second.

Back in the US we settled in Houston. I dreamed my first editorial cartoon while I was attending art classes (stone lithography in honor of Daumier, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Redon) at University of Houston. I dreamed a lovely silvery Christmas card. Looking at it closely – it was Kissinger and little silver planes dropping bombs on Vietnam.

My strongest influence and aggravation when I started cartooning was Ronald Reagan. My first published cartoons were in the Temple Daily Telegram in Texas – one cartoon concerned a local bond election. I also did a series of cartoons documenting the weekly battles between local high school football teams.

I have been inspired by a lot of cartoonists/artists (Thurber, Steig, Booth, Arnold Roth, Etta Hulme, Stayskal, Conrad, Magritte, Matisse, Miro, cartoonists from the magazine The Masses, and the artists of the ‘Ash Can’ school) but my style is simply mine.

Below from the 2014 art show Habit Forming: Makers of Matter.

More typically featured in a local newspaper, Cleaves is a working cartoonist, a viewer of the societally sick, whose drawings are are an attempt to make things right.