Gannett Cartoonist Profiles Series, Part 4: Jim Borgman

Jim Borgman first felt the exhilaration of having other people see his artwork when he was 5 years old.

The Cincinnati native, who would go on to illustrate the award-winning ‘Zits’ cartoons, submitted a drawing to ‘The Uncle Al Show’ as a kindergartner.

Borgman began drawing weekly cartoons for the school newspaper, where the thrill of others seeing his work grew.

A week after graduating from college, Borgman started as The Enquirer’s editorial cartoonist.

Victoria Moorwood at The Cincinnati Enquirer profiles cartoonist Jim Borgman. (hat tip: Lynn Larkin)

Borgman and ‘Zits’ writer Jerry Scott went from friendly acquaintances to cartooning partners in March 1997. Scott joined Borgman on a trip to Sedona, Arizona, where he pitched Borgman his idea.

‘He said, ‘I’ve been thinking about a comic strip about teenagers. Here’s what I’ve got so far,’’ Borgman said.

Scott’s sketches were done in a similar style to ‘Peanuts’ characters, Borgman recalled – big heads on little bodies. Borgman went in a different direction, drawing the teens as lanky characters who took up space.

Borgman said Scott saw his drawings and said: ‘That’s the way the strip should look.’

‘Zits’ debuted in more than 200 newspapers that July.

Zits © ZITS Partnership