Monday, October 27, 2008

Willard Mullin: "Tops in Sports Cartooning!"

A note arrived a few weeks ago from a TI list member... "Seeing today's Robert Bugg post with sports illustrations made me think of the great Willard Mullin. To me, his drawings--so full of vitality, character, and humor--ARE baseball in its golden age (1940s and 50s). How about doing a feature on him?"

I am only too happy to oblige. I've been setting aside pieces by Willard Mullin for quite a long time now. What I know about sports could fill a thimble... but I do love great cartooning - and Willard Mullin certainly was a great cartoonist!

As luck would have it I recently acquired a terrific article on Mullin that will provide some very interesting background on the artist - and show us step-by-step how he did his thing.

And although I don't share our reader's passion for baseball, I did happen to hear that the World Series is currently underway - so what better time to highlight the work of this remarkable cartoonist?

Besides, if the above article from the October 1949 issue of Look magazine still holds true, these posts might be as close as anyone's going to get to a front-row seat at the big game!

* Bob Staake has a wonderful tribute to Willard Mullin at his website - go check it out.

* My Willard Mullin Flickr set.


  1. Anonymous2:01 PM

    He knows how clothes adapt to the body's tensions.

    Looking forward for the step-by-step thing, looking forward to any advice from such a great drawer.

  2. Wow! Willard!

    His book "A Hand in Sport" is a must read for his followers. And the Society of Illustrators recently did a great show of Mullin and Gallo. Bill told some very funny stories of working along side Mullin in those great days of New York City sports.

    On the sad note is that Bill will not retire until someone comes along to take his place. He does not want the tradition of the daily sports cartoonist to go with him.

    Terry Brown
    Director, Society of Illustrators 1984-2008

    1. Anonymous11:39 AM

      I was lucky to have spent the first 5 years of my life living in the home of Willard Mullin. My mom was his housekeeper. I remember sitting on "Pop's" lap as he sketched in his drawing room.

      I have an autographed copy of his book, "A Hand in Sport", handed down from my parents to me. I treasure it and the little memory I have of him and living in his home. Ingrid

  3. He was my hero when I was an 18-year-old kid drawing a daily sports cartoon for the old Boston Herald. I subscribed to the NY W-T just to keep up with his work. Thanks for running this great material.