The Life and Lines of R.O. Blechman
Designer and author Stephen Heller perhaps best describes the work of cartoonist R.O. Blechman: “Although many cartoonists have copied the shaky look, no one has ever duplicated the human qualities of his everyman … images.” Blechman’s first cartoons began to gain notoriety in the 1950s and 1960s. His work, however, was very different from most cartoons of the period. Blechman’s approach to drawing was as unusual as the topics he dealt with.1
This past June, R.O. Blechman was “inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, which includes America’s most illustrious practitioners from Norman Rockwell to Rube Goldberg”1.
R.O. Blechman, The Aquarium (2005).
Born Oscar Robert Blechman (the artist inverted his initials for his pen name) in Brooklyn, New York in 1930, the artist studied at Oberlin College and worked as the editorial cartoonist for the student newspaper, the Oberlin Review. At age 22 he published his first book, “The Juggler of Our Lady”2, precursor to contemporary graphic novels.1 The book caught the notice of animator John Hubley, who invited Blechman to join his Storyboard Studios.3
R.O. Blechman, New York at Night, cover illustration for the New Yorker Magazine (1979).
Blechman later opened his own studio in 1960, worked as an ad agency art director and even ran an animation studio4; In addition to his animated work Blechman drew cartoons and covers for many popular magazines, most notedly the New Yorker. Blechman has also authored almost a dozen books and illustrated many more.
The Stomach Speaks
In 1966 Blechman created CBS’s touching animated “Christmas Message” that the network rebroadcast for many holiday seasons following its debut. Perhaps Blechman’s most recognized work is a 1967 animated advertisement for Alka-Selzter featuring an interview with a talking stomach.1
GIF turns 25
The Graphical Interchange Format (GIF), one of the most popular image formats used in web site design, was introduced twenty-five years ago this month by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe. Gif files use lossless compression, which favors flat areas of uniform color with well-defined edges. They can store low-color sprite data for games, and are often used for small animations and low-resolution film clips.1
The Daily Dot celebrates gif’s silver anniversary with twenty-five gif animations (including the one below) created by top digital designers. View the animations and read more about the gif file in their blog.
Wikipedia, (2012). Graphical Interchange Format. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF