Bill Peckmann &Books &Comic Art &Illustration 22 Jan 2011 08:40 am

Peter Arno

- Peter Arno had set out to be a musician in his earliest years, but the sale of a gag cartoon to the New Yorker (which ran June 20, 1925) started him on a long, industrious and extraordinary career. He appeared in the New Yorker almost every week of my life, so I got used to seeing his work. I also took for granted the absolute ease with which he sold his gags, something that’s sorely missed today. The compositions, the use of grey tones (most of his cartoons were done in B&W&grey washes with black ink brush lines), and the use of angles all played perfectly to the service of the gag.

Bill Peckmann surprised me with these images from the book on Arno. Thanks, Bill.

The book’s cover.

Arno drawing his muse.












6 Responses to “Peter Arno”

  1. on 22 Jan 2011 at 3:02 pm 1.Eric Noble said …

    Cool! Peter Arno is a great cartoonist!

  2. on 22 Jan 2011 at 3:36 pm 2.Stephen Worth said …

    Peter Arno and Whitney Darrow Jr are masters of clear staging. You can read their cartoons from a mile away. That kind of directness is rare.

  3. on 22 Jan 2011 at 5:27 pm 3.The Gee said …

    There’s a lot that could be said about his work, isn’t there?

    Solid. In a lot ways, just solid.

    Look at the line of dancing girls and how the guy leaning in is designed.
    Hats. Fire. The spider stopping the kid in his tracks.

    The great use of space in showing a bunch of perspectives, not just something straight ahead, close-up, too crowded, too distant. For the gag panel dimensions, he really could work the space. He didn’t waste anything. Even sparse cartoons weren’t too sparse.

    It is always nice to be reminded that some maximized the potential for not only the gag but for the individual picture, the drawing.

  4. on 22 Jan 2011 at 6:20 pm 4.Eric Noble said …

    “It is always nice to be reminded that some maximized the potential for not only the gag but for the individual picture, the drawing.”

    I believe that was the kind of skill Alex Toth always sought in his work.

  5. on 22 Jan 2011 at 10:39 pm 5.The Gee said …

    Yeah. He is a great example. It is just something that makes a good cartoonist and even better storyteller. And, to be able to make a collection of great drawings is cool to behold. Seeing how they relate to one another on a comic book page is even cooler to see. Toth had that going on.

    If you have not seen it, search for Alex Toth’s critique of a young Steve Rude, who worked on a comic book adaptation of Jonny Quest. It is a blistering critique but the insight is amazing. Sure, in a way it might be backseat driving or whatever control freak metaphor might fit. But, from what I have read Rude gained a lot from it.

  6. on 23 Jan 2011 at 4:18 pm 6.Paul Penna said …

    Not to take anything away from Arno, whose work I also grew up with, first as a kid of 10 or so poring over New Yorker cartoon compilation books in the local library, then in the magazine itself when we started subscribing, but like most of their cartoonists in the earlier days, he generally didn’t write the gags or captions himself. Nevertheless, he certainly made them his own. Along with Chas Addams and Wm Steig, they just leapt off the page and captivated me even before reading the captions.

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