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Our Chicago Midwest chapter of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) will host its first ever exhibit of cartoon art by chapter members Sept. 15 through Nov. 3 at the Beverly Arts Center.

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Welcome to NCS Chicago Midwest

Chicago Cartoonists to Exhibit Works at Beverly Arts Center

Our Chicago Midwest chapter of the National  Cartoonists Society (NCS) will host its first ever exhibit of cartoon art by chapter members Sept. 15 through Nov. 3 at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407  W. 111th St., Chicago. The exhibit opens with a reception in the Simmerling Gallery on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The NSC chapter members participating in the upcoming exhibit are newspaper  comic strip and comic panel artists, caricaturists, magazine gag
cartoonists, editorial cartoonists, humorous illustrators, and other  professionals working in and around Chicago and surrounding states.

“It’s not often that cartoonists emerge from their studios to reach out to  the public, so this is a great opportunity to meet them in person and see  their original work up close,” said Jim McGreal, a member of the NCS  Chicago Midwest Chapter and an organizer of the exhibit. “We have members  who work in nearly all aspects of comic art and cartooning, and we’re  really excited to be a part of this first-ever event.”

In addition to the exhibit of works of NCS cartoonists in the Simmerling  Gallery, an exhibit of works by talented cartooning students from the  Vanderpoel Art Association (Chicago) will be on display in the Center’s  Atrium Gallery.

Also in conjunction with the art exhibits, the NCS Chicago Midwest Chapter  will host a cartooning open house on the weekend following the exhibit  opening. It will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21, 12 to 6 p.m., at the  Beverly Arts Center as a featured event of the 6th annual Beverly Art Walk.  The Beverly Arts Center is a trolley stop on the Walk. The open house will  feature two workshops led by professional cartoonists demonstrating their  cartoon art, and video cartoon presentations with selected artists in the  Center’s Baffes Theatre.

Brian’s Corner

T. Brian Kelly
NCS Chicago Midwest Chapter President

It’s been a busy chapter year in 2018.

The chapter met at a new brew pub location in October for the 6th open cartoonist meeting event of 2018, thereby completing our first year of regularly scheduled bimonthly meetings without a cancellation. This called for a toast. Our scheduled meeting location for that day had quietly gone out of business, and somehow they forgot to inform us of this sad fact. Luckily, we were able to convince the management of the new place of the long established custom of providing lots of space to cartoonists having meetings, so that they can spread stuff out, be kind of loud, and generally not bother the other customers. They upgraded us promptly to a private room with no additional cost. Feel free to use this.

At this meeting we met Holden Henry who is a very talented young caricaturist from Wisconsin who is preparing an NCS application under the auspices of the 27 Club, our first one yet. Richard Laurent, a former editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Sun-Times, showed a cover tear sheet of his new book of Donald Trump cartoons titled Laughing Matters. Chuck Senties showed off a few Chicago Bear caricatures from his sketchbook. He came straight to the meeting from Soldier Field where he has a booth on game days. We started what we call “The Cartoon Incubator” of professional opinionating on cartoon sketch ideas, with a couple of volunteer members bringing in cartoons that didn’t sell to find out why. We’re going to try and make this a regular part of our get-togethers.

We convened our annual meeting in a private wine cellar room at the historic Hotel Carleton in Oak Park, IL in early November, discussing the many events and activities of the year. Managing to keep the meeting to a reasonable length, we successfully concluded it in less than 2 hours with one major decision of chapter business going forward into the new year. Upon taking a vote, we voted unanimously (in session) to change the name of our chapter from Chicago to Chicago Midwest to reflect the wider geographical area of our current, and likely future chapter membership. This should also help in recruitment of cartoonists who work in smaller cities and towns surrounding the metropolitan Chicago area.

Our plans for our “The End* is Coming” Holiday Party in early December in Chicago are nearly complete so we’ll have pictures of that next issue. By the way, the * means the end of the year and refers to one of the most well-known cartoon clichés in existence, along with the psychiatrist couch and the guy on the desert island. Maybe we can use one of them next year.

Have a fantastic holiday season and we’ll see you in 2019!

Beverly Arts Center- NCS 2019 Exhibit

We are working with the BAC  to create an exhibit of our member’s artwork, past and present.

Cover Story

How Chester Gould Created Characters
by Richard Pietrzyk

“Calling all cars!” “Calling all cars!” “Be on the lookout for a person of interest. Description as follows: flat head, hooded eyelids, pug-nosed, fish lips and freckles. Known as Flattop.” A character fitting this description would be hard to miss by the police or by the readers of the Dick Tracy comic strip. Uniquely named characters appearing in exciting, pulse-pounding stories with the stories being the walls on which cartoonist Chester Gould hung his art. Foremost in this display of art were villains whose names fit bizarre images: Pruneface of the weathered, furrowed face; the Brow with a forehead resembling a stairway to evil; the Mole, a subterranean sewer scurrying creature; all boldly drawn as if by a nightmare bound police artist. And nightmares these pen and ink characters caused in the readers of the day.

From where did cartoonist Gould imagine these villains? Many started with a name. While listening to the war news on the radio in 1943, the cartoonist heard that a …”Flattop went down in the Pacific”. The nickname of the World War II aircraft carrier provided the spark for his most famous villain. But from where did the image come? Gould kept no notes, no preliminary sketches, no first drafts. When a character saw print in the newspaper, all character studies were discarded, and when a villain was eliminated by detective Tracy, he also was eliminated from the cartoonist’s mind. Save for the classic villains, Gould had no memory of lesser creations. However, if shown a comic strip featuring a specific character, a story, a memory may materialize.

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