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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Away Message

I'll be on vacation for a couple of weeks. Watch for the Best of Borgman 2006 package on December 24 in the Forum section.

See you again on the first of the year. Happy, peaceful holidays to you all!

Simple is Hard

The artists who read this blog (and maybe even the writers, actors and musicians) will understand the statement Simple is Hard. This week I've drawn two cartoons (Santa above and Bengals Wild Card) with simple images that gave me fits.

Give me a hectic room filled with lots of action to draw any day. Busy images are very forgiving. But the pressure is on when the entire mood and nuance of a cartoon hinges on the exact angle, lighting and intonation of a simple image. Anyone who draws knows that even microscopically misplaced lines will cause the power of a simple image to vaporize.

I drew the Bengals booze bottle and car keys three or four times before I was reasonably satisfied that it was reading right. First came the temptation to draw the simple still life from a dramatic angle to lend it extra oomph. Those histrionics usually fail, as did my attempts. I had to keep going back to the thumbnail in my sketchbook to get a bede on the original concept as it continued to slip away from me visually.

Then the temptation was to letter the Jack Daniels label too clearly, which drew attention away from the point of the cartoon and planted the thought in the reader's mind, "Was Jack Daniels involved specifically in these mishaps?" when all it was meant to do was stand in as a symbol of alcohol and drunk driving. Even the car key, ultimately executed feebly, was a challenge.

Lynn Kahle at The Framery on Hyde Park Square here in Cincinnati, which handles my originals, tells me that people love the drawings I wrestle with. Invariably, on the back side of such drawings is an earlier aborted version. You'd probably find a few more in my trashcan. Some people ask her to frame the drawings so that the botched attempt on the back can be seen, too.

What do you suppose was the hardest part of the cartoon above? The fireplace. Go figure. It kept drawing attention away from the focal point (the cookies), so I had to simplify the brickwork and give a big halo to the table to keep the fireplace in the background where it belongs.

Cartooning lore passes down the story of a cartoonist with a minimalist style, whose editor became frustrated with his seemingly simple drawings.

"We pay you all this money and you hand me a drawing made up of six lines??" bellowed the editor.

The cartoonist replied, "If I could draw it in five you'd have to pay me more."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday 12.11.06

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rummy and Gates

Apologies to Saul Steinberg

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Will Anyone Get This?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Killer Pace

Friday, December 01, 2006


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