Saturday, April 06, 2013


The great T.S. Sullivant (1854–1926) was hilarious from any angle.

For most artists it would be a challenge to draw a recognizable head from this odd angle:

Sullivant goes much further, fearlessly distorting the head with a comical hodge podge of bizarre shapes.  Yet, it is still persuasive.

And look at the liberties Sullivant takes with this sleeping pig, or the unorthodox perspective on the chicken's butt in the air:

In this next drawing, Sullivant doesn't need to show a face; he gives us all the information we need with that wild beard and stooped posture:

Here, we see an elephant who has inadvertently hurt the feelings of the giraffe:

This could be my very favorite drawing of a crying giraffe:

And here we see Sullivant's wicked cave boys tormenting some poor dinosaur:

We can see from the original how Sullivant shaped the dinosaur as he went along, scratching out some of the lines of the head to achieve the structure he wanted:

A stumbling, upside down dinosaur, mid-air and foreshortened-- now that's doing it the hard way!


chuck pyle said...

How rich, indeed! What a delightful sense of the absurd done with such solid drawing and technique. Thanks, David, as usual.

MORAN said...

Sullivant was a favorite of Walt Kelly and the Disney animators.

Anne said...

Thank you to Sullivant for the laughs and yourself for posting. Those drawings are amazing.

Some of these remind me of George Booth's work least in sentements lol

kev ferrara said...

His work is like a warm hug.

David Apatoff said...

Chuck Pyle-- Glad to hear from another Sullivant fan!

MORAN-- Yes, I am always impressed at the extent of Sullivant's inluence. He does not have a household name but he is beloved by today's artists who draw humorous characters, especially animals.

Anne-- I agree, they are amazing. I hadn't thought of it before, but both Booth and Sullivant did a marvelous series of cartoons on cave man life.

Kev Ferrara-- I have to wonder what Sullivant was like as a person. What a warm sense of visual humor.

henry the fifth said...

...and still funny!

I wonder what sort of pen he used....steel nibs are the devil to work with.

Lenora said...

Really cool illustrations. I like the movement of them. Black ink is my favorite medium. Well done!

Francesca Natale said...

Beautuful and witty work! And obviously a huge influence on Chris Sanders

Francesca Natale said...

Beautiful and witty work. And obviously a huge influence on Chris Sanders

Nudge said...

Thanks for posting this. I have some catching up to do, I didn’t know about this artist.

Unknown said...

Exciting drawing. A very great artist. Thanks for the post!