Monday, May 22, 2006
ONE LOVELY DRAWING, part seven
This drawing by Hank Ketcham dates back to the era before comic strips were drawn with the monotonous line of a felt tip marker and reproduced at the size of a postage stamp. Looking at this original drawing, you can feel the bite of Ketcham's pen nib on paper. You can see how Ketcham expertly guided the flow of the ink around the page like a master hydrologist. The energy and variety of Ketcham's line create a joyful little design at the same time that it conveys a wealth of information about his subject.
By the time this drawing appeared, Ketcham had been drawing Dennis the Menace for over 35 years. His creation had become a big business, and the weary Ketcham often resorted to ghost artists to draw his panels. Yet, when Ketcham picked up the pen here, he still took obvious pleasure in drawing the folds in the pants or the squiggle of the child's elbow. This drawing may have taken Ketcham only minutes to execute, but it took decades to be able to draw it.