Cartoonists use pluck, verve to send message
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Cartoonists use pluck, verve to send message

Jun 23, 2023

Aug. 3—Whether drawn on paper or digitally, cartoons can make people think, laugh, or even feel inspired to pick up a pen themselves.

Tahlequah cartoonist Steve Cypert — who is also a filmmaker, actor, and musician — said he is always drawing sketches, often on napkins. Hence the title of his series "Angry Napkins."

"I sign them and leave them laying because there are people who enjoy finding them," said Cypert. "I've been told there is a big collection of my sketches on a wall at the Cherokee Casino."

Cypert joked that the drawings may be in the casino's snack bar kitchen.

Cypert started drawing when he was a kid, but only began sketching regularly in his late '50s. When working on paper, Cypert said he likes to use regular ink pens and sharpies. On the computer, he prefers using the grease pencil tool in Blender, a 3D computer graphic software.

"Roy Boney is the professional around here. So is Kindra Swafford. Matthew Anderson at the Spider Gallery is an especially good artist," he said.

Cypert said he enjoys a lot of different artists.

"The best of them are political cartoonists. Crazy, demented jokes are my favorite," he said.

As cartoonists often use an exaggerated or unrealistic art style, satirizing political events lends itself to the medium. Cartoonists can also flex their drawing skills in comic books, strips, and 2D and 3D animation projects.

In a Aug. 3 Facebook post, Tahlequah Daily Press readers were asked to share their favorite cartoonists.

Tahlequah resident Gary Courtney said his favorite Oklahoman cartoonist is Chester Gould, who was born in Pawnee before statehood. Creator of the "Dick Tracy" series, Gould wrote and drew the comic strip from 1931 to 1977.

"[Gould] had the vision and foresight to predict the personal communication device — a 'wrist radio' — which is today the cell phone," said Courtney.

Courtney also favored "Peanuts" creator Charles Schultz, whom many other respondents — Matthew Davis, Dana Beene, Lori Darling — also called their favorite.

While not necessarily a cartoonist, Martin Handford, "Where's Waldo" illustrator, was Chris Ray's favorite.

Three respondents — TDP special writer Lee Guthrie, Laura Courser, and Jordan Anderson — said they liked Bill Watterson, the man behind the "Calvin and Hobbes" strip, about the adventures of a boy and his stuffed tiger.

Two others said Gary Larson, and one reached far enough back to choose Charles Addams.