28 December 2007

Birds a Dynamic Theme for Cartoonists

By James Ed. Ducey

In many a daily way, birds are expressively shown by cartoons.

A broad array of world birds behave, react and exist in a myriad of distinct ways. Variety of colors, shapes and sizes, habits, and other aspects of bird biology can be a constant source of topics to express, often with a focus on humor, for a cartoonist.

Bird types are readily emphasized and enhanced in an obvious manner, presenting the sketchers perspective.

Cartoonist Steve Ward, drew Buzz the Fly, but would depict other animals upon request, and did some interesting views of birds from Nebraska. There weren't any named birds in the Buzz strips, which were multi-paneled, focused on the life and times of the fly and fellow insects, hither and yon.

[Ward cartoon of a Killdeer] [Ward cartoon Sandhill Crane]

The celebrated BirdBreath theme "is about how birds view life - hence 'Life from a bird's point of view,'" said cartoonist Robert Seymour, of San Francisco Bay, coastal California. "The cartoon looks at all of us from their perspective."

Robert conveys a simplicity with BirdBreath. "I try to generalize birds drawn to commonly recognized species, like pelican, cardinal, quail, bluebird etc. I also occasionally add non-bird characters, like polar bear, brown bear, grey wolves, deer and others, depending on the topic or point being made."

"The focus is on the expressions and situation of the subjects. Most of the time it's all about being funny, but at times more sobering, especially when dealing with animal rights, the environment, and global warming. I try not to make them goofy looking, but rather more humanized. I want the readers to be able to identify with them.”

“Their personalities are still developing and maturing. The main characters are Smarty and Devin, followed by the nemises Harvey, Vinnie and Poody.Hennie appears in work related cartoons, Daryl in dealing with hunting, and Willy appears in a variety of cartoon topics. Some of the others have names and others as yet do not.”

BirdBreath was started in July 1, 2005. Each new cartoon presents “a unique way to approach a variety of topics,” Seymour said in an email interview. “Much of what they do translates well our own experiences. Just about everything they do makes me (and others) laugh.

“My goal is to allow BirdBreath to mature and gain greater depth. It began as strictly slap-stick humor and has grown to include a broader spectrum of humor. I want it not only to be funny but make a positive contribution to society, in terms of humor and morals. At times I also want it to subliminally make a point.

Topical news may become the subject of a cartoon.

One idea being considered for BirdBreath is the "huge oil spill here in the San Francisco Bay recently after a tanker collided with the Oakland Bay Bridge," Seymour commented. "It created all kinds of havoc."

“BB has been very well received. I continually get complimentary emails from people. The email cartoon subscribers continues to grow. Word really seems to be getting out.”

New cartoons are generally featured five days a week at the website of this contemporary cartoon.

Robert began July 1, 2003 with "a cartoon called DuJour which occasionally featured birds. I enjoyed the bird cartoons more, so I spun them off. It grew on me. I now have several bird books and enjoy birding. It's addictive. I still have much to learn."

[Ward cartoon of a hawk] [Ward cartoon of a Northern Cardinal]

1 comment:

Spurwing Plover said...

I once saw a Killdeer that had its nest on a roadside and it refused to leave the nest shows these birds have adopted well to civilization

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