Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out in No Man's Land with Roy Doty

Determining whether someone is a cartoonist or an illustrator may seem inconsequential to a lot of people... but for some artists it has been the source of some frustration. I asked Roy Doty about the issue during a series of correspondences.

I had discovered his work, along with pieces by some of his contemporaries, Jan Balet,

Jim Flora,

and Joe Kaufman...

... were garnering multiple awards and honourable mentions from the New York Art Directors Club as far back as the mid-40's, when these hard-to-categorize young artists were just beginning their careers. Roy sent this revealing - and disturbing - reply:

Good to hear some of the old names. Knew Jim Flora, he was a Connecticut neighbor, lived in Darien.

Joe Kaufman and I both did stuff for CBS. I really didn't know many of the illustrators. I thought of myself as a cartoonist..tried to join the NCS. Two of my neighbors in North Stamford were Ernie Bushmiller and Alex Raymond. Both proposed me for membership in 1950... got turned down, they said I was an illustrator...

...tried to join the Society of Illustrators, they said I was a cartoonist.

Sixteen years later I finally got into the NCS. The Society of Illustrators then asked me to join... told them to go to ____!

I'd really been in the business for twenty years and had won damn near every award around before I ever got into the NCS. I was always an outsider because I never did gag cartoons.

Of course I met a lot of the other cartoonists in Connecticut because in those days that's where all of the strip and New Yorker guys lived. Had a great golf foursome for many, many years. Chuck Saxon, Whitney Darrow, Vance Packard... great fun.

Someday I'll fill you in on more of this. Back to the board for now, got deadlines tomorrow and Friday...and sweating out the acceptance of two new 175th and 176th... I hope.

Best Doty

Incidently, all those wonderful guys you mentioned never were member of the NCS either. They wouldn't let any of us in.

My Roy Doty Flickr set
My Jan Balet Flickr set
My Jim Flora Flickr set
My Joe Kaufman Flickr set


  1. The old joke used to be (still relevant i guess) is that the difference between an illustrator & a cartoonist was about $500....

    As for clubs, don't think you really even need a substantial body work/ peer recognition these days either. Whatever you want to call yourself, as long as you can cough up the annual dues, you're in....

    Don't get me started on the premise of fee-based illustration competitions :-)


  2. A classic case of not fitting in. Which in Roy Doty's case is a GOOD thing, since he is so marvelously unique.

  3. Anonymous5:51 AM

    The top image, the Trade Periodical item, is staggeringly beautiful. The complexity of the layout and the consistency of the line and style is dumfounding.

    To be honest, it almost makes me want to roll over and quit.

  4. Want to learn a little more about Jan Balet??? Visit