Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Report from The Reubens: Roy Doty

This past weekend I attended my first Reubens - the awards ceremony of the National Cartoonists Society - held this year in New Orleans. I'm still feeling a little shell shocked from the experience. And I mean that in a good way. I was thoroughly starstruck after meeting some of my favourite cartoonists, people whose work I have admired for virtually my entire life. Among those gentlemen whom I had the great privilege to shake hands and chat with was Roy Doty.

Roy and I had corresponded a little in recent months, but I had not yet had a chance to tell him that I found his work in a recent ebay acquisition: the Art Directors Annual of Advertising and Editorial Art for 1948. When I mentioned that book to Roy on the weekend, his eyes lit up and he recounted a great story about the early days of his career.

I wished afterwards that I had had the foresight to bring my little recorder. However, having not done so, I decided instead to email Roy the scan you see below after returning home -- and so today we are fortunate to have Roy's reply to my email to enjoy. Here's how he tells it:

"I'd been seven weeks in New York at that time, my discharge pay had just about run out. Studio rent and the rent on my one room apartment on East 18th Street would run out in a week. I think I had visited every art director in New York by that time. Eight to ten appointments a day. Did have a ticket back to Columbus. On that last week the phone rang on a Monday morning... it was the New York Times Magazine. Could I possibly do three drawings for them... HAH! You bet I could. On Wednesday the phone rang and it was the art director of CBS... could I do a full page ad for them... you bet... Friday the phone again rang... this time it was Seventeen Magazine... two two page spreads! The CBS ad made the 26th Art Director's Annual. That was the l947 Awards volume."

"I guess I made the Annuals every year after that for many years. The Arthur Godfrey ad was one of my favorites however."

In the accompanying text to the Arthur Godfrey CBS ad, which won an 'Award for Distinctive Merit', Roy wrote, "I got the assignment for this series of drawings from Bill Golden in the form of a thumb-nail sketch and a stern admonition to fill the spread with people - not just shapes, but people drawn in complete detail."

"I was completely enthusiastic about the idea."

Another of Roy's CBS ads (below) was featured in that same 1948 AD Annual, unfortunately at a much smaller size. Still, a remarkable accomplishment for a newcomer to the competitive business of advertising illustration - and a powerful comfirmation from the Art Director's Club of New York that this kid from Columbus had the right stuff.

Roy's note concludes,"I really was down to my return trip home to Columbus, Ohio when I got my first assignment. I ended up back in Columbus anyway..but by my own volition..and fifty five years later."

* My pal Mike Lynch has posted a great series of photos from the Reubens weekend in New Orleans - go take a look - I'm even in one!

My Roy Doty Flickr set.


  1. Excellent, Leif! I love Doty's work, as you know, and am always delighted to see more of it.

  2. Hey! I've just come across your blog and it is by far the most inspiring one yet! This piece especially is timeless, I like the attention to detail within' the clothes. Very charming indeed!

  3. Thanks for your comments, guys - I'm very happy to know you enjoy the work I post here.

  4. It was great to see a photo of you. I like seeing who is behind the words.

  5. Well Liza; your comment spurred me on to post a set of photos from the Reubens weekend.