Jim Borgman and Cartoon Soul

While we miss the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoons of Jim Borgman, we are glad to still have his cartoon strip Zits (with Jerry Scott). Loyal fans of the comics have their favorite cartoons, their likes and dislikes. The reason I like Jim’s work is because it has cartoon soul. Like soul music, it’s hard to define. Just the right mix of great drawing, three-dimensional characters, humor with some nuance and, yes, some wisdom. Cartoon soul is hard to do. You only have a few small square inches of “canvas”. Editorial cartoonists at their best know how to make a strong point and do it fast before the reader’s attention span drifts. We write in this blog about the tools of focal point and emphasis. Those are definitely in the editorial cartoonist’s toolkit.

Here’s the cover art from Jim’s book that came out in May…a novel with cartoons. Jim says it was “big-time fun trying a new medium for storytelling”. Cartoonists are sticklers for the telling detail. They want to get the details just right. Example: That’s a convincing guitar pic.