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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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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sick Days

I'm doing my editorial cartoon at home today, sparing my co-workers the hacking and coughing my poor family has suffered with for several days now. Yesterday my brain was AWOL but today I'm giving it a go.

People have asked me for years why I go into the office at all. "Can't you do your cartoons from home, with the internet and email?" Technologically there is nothing stopping me from a life working in my pajamas, and there are lots of Cincinnati winter days when even I don't understand why I make the commute.

But there's something about going into my 19th floor office downtown overlooking ribbons of asphalt hustle and bustle that gets me in the mindframe to think about the Big Stuff in the news. There I overhear conversations among reporters and editorial writers, pick up bits from the bank of TVs in the newsroom, and generally absorb the helpful stress of complaining readers and anxious editors. OK, I don't really understand it either, but it's worked for a long time now.

From my little studio space here at home I'm more tempted to think about the little stuff of family life, which is why I draw Zits almost exclusively here. The house is quiet during the day, my dogs sleep nearby, the birds feed outside my window -- it's harder to get cranked up about global markets crashing and candidates clashing, even if the same information is available to me in both locations.

Which is why I'm making another pot of coffee right now. Surely I can get twisted into a knot about something.


at 1/22/08, 2:35 PM Blogger Haystacks Calhoun said...

I'm at home with a sick one myself today...I have a feeling that I'm next.

To me, you can never go wrong with people freaking nout over a half inch of snow. That, or people really need to take the time, especially with all the crap going on worldwide, to take a minute, stop, and be thankful for what they have.

A sick kid on a snowday with a half inch of snow...probably not funny, but it's made for a good day off thus far.

at 1/22/08, 2:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see some pictures of your office & home studios!!

Get well soon!

at 1/22/08, 3:44 PM Anonymous BorgFan said...

Let's see some studio pics.
I bet you have some really cool things hanging on the wall of your awesome set-up(s).

at 1/22/08, 7:14 PM Blogger Axinar said...

"... pick up bits from the bank of TVs in the newsroom ..."

Sounds like a blogger's paradise ... :)

at 1/22/08, 8:34 PM Blogger EOCostello said...

How much feedback do you look for/get from colleagues in the office? Herblock in a few of his books has mentioned that he would ask opinons quite often, and I think he had the same need for the peculiar energy that you can find only at a newspaper.

at 1/22/08, 9:44 PM Blogger Jim Borgman said...

I visited Herrblock's office once. After his heart attack he had a couch/bed brought in so that he could essentially live in his office for periods of time.

I'm not there yet. And there's only one person in the newsroom besides my editor that I ever show roughs to for his input -- that's my buddy Bruce, who has that rare crisp clarity and a working sense of visual language and nuance that a cartoonist relies on for worthwhile feedback.

at 1/23/08, 9:36 AM Blogger Wettengel said...

But you show us your roughs. Maybe that is why the anonymous person sometimes writes such nasty stuff, they have been sitting next to you for 20 years and you never once asked their opinion but now you show the whole world. :)

at 1/23/08, 1:52 PM Blogger Larry Levine said...

Jim, Wishing you s speedy recovery!

How about putting a live cam in your office so all your fans can watch you work.

at 1/23/08, 6:32 PM Blogger EOCostello said...

Given the handful of photographs I've seen of Herblock's office, as well as crestfallen first-person testimony, I'm amazed that a couch and two people could fit in there. Truly a man who created geologic layers of paper that would worry even the Collyer brothers.

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