Thursday, April 16, 2009


I shouldn't have to say this...after all, it's obvious...but cartoonists shouldn't dress like the rest of humanity. Let everybody else have their wrinkleless, tapered shirts; a cartoonist should wear one-size-fits-all, boxy shirts that have to be gathered up like a bed sheet and stuffed into pants that are too big or too small. That's the way the Deity intended cartoonist men to dress, and any other way is blasphemy.

Of course there's something to be said for undersized clothing like the kind Harold Lloyd wears wears in the picture above. The clodhopper shoes are a nice touch. Come to think of it, the old lady, the kid, and the bum are dressed pretty well, too. They all dress like the stereotype of the kind of person they are, which is what cartoonists should do. That's what we can do to make the world more interesting. 

It's not enough to have the nice threads (above). You have to learn how to strike the poses that set them off.

I suggest starting with a thrift store jacket like the one above.  

Don't avoid clothes that wrinkle. If the Duke of Windsor can wear them, so can you.

Naturally sneaky people (above) should wear the kind of clothes that look good on sneaky people. Dishonest people should always wear white gloves. 

Middle age paunch (above) is a gift, which cartoonists should exploit. Wear the pants high, with a tight shirt and loose collar. Cultivate the disdainfull, irritable look that goes with them.

Padded shoulders (above) of course.

Throw out your shampoo. Wash your hair with bar soap (above) and comb it down the middle.

If you're a fairly mild person (above), then flaunt it. Wear clothes that emphasize it. Study hen-pecked husbands in old films and dress the way they dress. 

If you're a big guy (above), then start dressing like a bully. Don't actually BE a bully...real bullies are evil...but there's nothing wrong with looking like one. People who look that way make the world more interesting.

I know what some of you are thinking: "I'm a big guy, but I don't have the personality required to look like I push people around." Well, you don't have to push anybody around. Here's (above) Eric Campbell, the guy who bullied Chaplin in so many of his best films. In real life Campbell was a nice guy who wouldn't think of hurting anyone. He simply geared up to look intimidating, and if you have the frame for it, that's what you should do. 

Every cartoonist should find a funny stereotype that suits them, and dress that way. 

Oh yes...comb your eyebrows up. It's required.


Anonymous said...

Very good stuff to know. A valuable life lesson!

Nico said...

this post is fantastic!!! I agree with Eddie 100 per cent!

Kirk Nachman said...

Harpo beats 'em all.

pappy d said...

That's so true, Eddie. The world needs more archetypes. I'm going to stop pruning my eyebrows for a start.

Unknown said...

I'll start right now!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I've been following this logic for years but occasionally i must admit it, it leads to terrible personality crises. Non cartoonists--even creative ones-- tend to resent you for not taking things seriously.

lastangelman said...

This is great advice for THE MEN! But how should the female cartoonist dress accordingly?

Jeff said...



This one is a win, Uncle E.

Anonymous said...

The top photo features Lloyd wearing his special prosthetic glove, worn after a filming accident blew off his right thumb and forefinger. It never slowed him down nor depressed him.

Owen said...

Everyone dress like George Mcmanus!

Jack G. said...

Actually, these are good ideas to apply to cartoon drawings.

I think you can expand on the idea more.

Like what would a folically challenged guy do?
Should he sport the most ridiculous comb-over?
Or should he go more for the circus clown look? You know: bald-plate with hair that skicks out far on the side?

Take the concept further. I'm intrigued.

Kali Fontecchio said...

Yes yes yes, hahahahaha!

A.M.Bush said...

yes, please do one on ladies next.

Thank you

The Anne Society

mike fontanelli said...

Eddie -
In a more enlightened time you wouldn't need to identify someone as famous and important as W.C. Fields, because the average American was culturally literate and already knew him.

Unfortunately, those days are gone forever. As a personal favor, can you please identify Fields for the uninitiated, (as you did with Harold Lloyd and Eric Campbell)? Other than that, I agree with Nico.

(BTW, to your point: it would be impossible for me to dress down any further. Mets cap, sweatshirt and sneakers are strictly de rigueur for the modern Brooklyn-bred cartoonist.)

Brubaker said...


If there's any consolation, I've heard of Fields and recognize him, even if I didn't see many of his films.

You can thank Looney Tunes for that. Fields was caricatured by them alot, even into the late sixties (Merlin the Magic Mouse, anyone?)

Speaking of old actors and current culture, this is a true story: Over at my University they recently did an exhibit of student artworks. One of the students did a portrait of Charlie Chaplin.

The potrait got selected to appear, but it ended up in the hidden "controversal" room, where pieces of artworks that may be deemed controversal were placed in a hidden part of the lobby. Yes, even though this is 2009, some people are still skittish of naked breasts.

Why did they put that Chaplin potrait in the "controversal" room? Apparently it was because he held views that were deemed "communist". That and he apparently raped little girls (according to one of the faculty members, at least).

No, I'm not making it up, this really happened. As a result lot of students were talking about the Chaplin piece. It was essentially the hot topic at the campus.

On a positive side, it was at least refreshing to know that some of my fellow students at least know who Chaplin is, even if they never saw a single movie of his.

(Hey Mike, mind if you email me? You can find my address in my profile)

Ricardo Cantoral said...

Eddie, do you reccomend ascots ?

Mike: A reporter once asked why W.C. Fields drinks so much liquor and not water and W.C. replied: "Because fish fuck in it." XD

Ricardo Cantoral said...

Working at Wal-Mart has given me a infinite list of people to charicature and to contemplate funny ideas. There has been back lash though, a severe one. Every day I grow more and more digusted of ordinary people, I don't want to know them or aknowlege them. I now see them as parasites leeching from themselves. They waddle around in their dull little lives with aboslutely no desire to edcuate themselves and to break from their narrow minded point of views. That's why they hold so dearly to their beliefs of silly things like inept figure heads who promise "hope" and "change" or worse, they believe in "god". Taking all this into consideration, maybe it would be better to make cartoon characters who step on the world and crush people who get their way. Just a thought Uncle Eddie.

Ricardo Cantoral said...


Brubaker made an excellent point. "Polite" Society still seems to afraid of nature.

Brubaker said...


Have you ever seen a comic strip called "Retail" by Norm Feuti? It's pretty much about what you wrote.

It's a good strip, and I'm not saying that because I appeared in the strip once.

Oh wait...

Ricardo Cantoral said...


Yeesh Chuck, I do now. X(

Mick said...

absolutely on the button there eddie... that is of course if the button is a rubber one that makes a noise like a frightened miniture beast when anyone happens to lean on it