Day 24 – Johnny Gruelle

American children’s illustrator and political cartoonist John Barton Gruelle was born on Christmas Eve 1880. He created the comic strip Mr Twee Deedle, (which briefly ran alongside Little Nemo In Slumberland in the New York Herald), but he is best known for the hugely popular character Raggedy Ann who appeared in a series of children’s books and was later turned into toys, films and animated TV shows.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to look at these Advent daily drawings. It’s been an enjoyable and I think worthwhile exercise for me, I hope it’s been interesting for you. Merry Christmas!

Day 23 – Otto Soglow

A very happy birthday to Otto Soglow, born in New York 110 years ago today. Otto was a cartoonist, best remembered for his creation The Little King, which ran first in The New Yorker, then in Randolph Hearst’s King Features Syndicate. Lambiek has an overview of his comic strip career, and this gallery has examples of his cartoons used in advertising campaigns of the 1940s and 1950s.

Day 22 – Jean-Michel Basquiat

American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat would have been 50 today. Originally a graffiti artist working under the tag SAMO©, Basquiat was also involved in the New York music scene (he can be seen as a DJ in the Blondie video Rapture, dated Madonna and worked with David Bowie). He began exhibiting in 1980 and gained attention rapidly. He collaborated with Andy Warhol from 1982 until 1986, the year before both artists died.

It was fun drawing Basquiat on a larger scale than I’m used to, and in the snow. I know New York Winters are a lot colder than this, but still, it was chilly enough to keep me focused on finishing quickly. It was also the shortest day of the year and the light was fading. Here are some shots of the drawing taking shape.