“I am still searching for that wonderful pen line that comes down when you are drawing Linus standing there, and you start with the pen up near the back his neck, and you bring it down and bring it out, and the pen point fans a little bit, and you come down here and draw the lines this way for the marks on his sweater. That is what it’s all about – to get feelings of depth and roundness, and the pen line is the best pen line you can make. That’s what it’s all about.” – Charles Schulz
As one who has collected original comic art (cartoons, comic strips, and illustrations) for over 35 years, Charles Schulz’s quote about “…that wonderful pen line…” is always on my collecting mind. It’s one of the things that draws me to certain pieces. That line may belong to Edward Sorel's masterful ink-slinging virtuosity with a dip pen, or to John Held, Jr.'s Art Deco-inspired figures, drawn with style and grace. And as one who has drawn with various dip pens and India inks for nearly the same amount of time, struggling to make those nibs sing a song that often seems out of reach, that quote gets nearly to the heart of the matter. It’s one thing to render an object, a figure, or landscape. It’s another thing entirely to give it life with your line.
I interviewed Bud Blake, the wonderful cartoonist of Tiger back in 2004. Bud spoke of his affinity for “dirty cartoonists”, specifically referring to Jimmy Hatlo and Billy DeBeck. When I pressed him on what he meant, Bud explained that he was talking about a “pure cartoonist”, one who went beyond simply drawing characters, but imbuing them with life.
What Bud Blake referred to as a “dirty cartoonist”, I consider an Ink-Slinger, an artist who is able to throw the ink around in both formal and felt ways, to get to the heart of whatever he or she is drawing. It’s what I look for in much of the original artwork that I collect, and it’s what I strive for whenever I pick up a dip pen. The Ink-Slingers blog is something I’ve thought about over the years, with prompting by friends (I’m looking at youse, Anthony!), but I’ve never thought of myself as a blog-kind-of-guy. On the other hand, as I look through my collection, at the work that moves me, it’s simply more fun to be able to share it with folks who enjoy the same type of work, maybe for different reasons. I don’t anticipate doing any long essays about artists, and can give you my 100% money-back guarantee that I’ll stay away from High Art Speak. What I do anticipate is paying homage to some of my favorite ink-slingers, chatting about aspects of their work that I love.
You’ll also note a sales gallery as a part of this website. One of the ways that I’ve afforded collecting over the years, especially as prices have risen, is to sell works from the collection from time-to-time. While I have a number of originals that I don’t expect to sell anytime soon, I’ve always enjoyed freshening up the collection, letting other folks enjoy pieces that have given me pleasure. If you have any questions about the sales gallery, feel free to drop me a line.
Lastly, my thanks to Troy Nixey, artist extraordinaire, who provided the Inkmunk logo and illustration. Troy is clearly an ink-slinger of the highest order, and you’ll see his work showcased in the blog at some point.
Thanks for stopping by, and take care.