Cartoonists Draw Their Famous Cartoon Characters While Blindfolded (1947)


At some point in your life, no doubt, you’ve thought that you have done some­thing so many times that you could do it with your eyes closed — be it change a dia­per, make cof­fee, dri­ve to work or per­form a minor sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure. Not that this would nec­es­sar­i­ly be a good idea (espe­cial­ly that last one) but there’s some­thing about rep­e­ti­tion, rou­tine and mus­cle mem­o­ry that makes a task so famil­iar that sight seems super­flu­ous.

dick tracy

In 1947, LIFE Mag­a­zine asked some of the most famous car­toon­ists around to draw their com­ic strip char­ac­ters blind­fold­ed. The results are fas­ci­nat­ing, look­ing a bit like the out­come of a clin­i­cal test on artists before and after tak­ing illic­it sub­stances. (See our pre­vi­ous post: Artist Draws Nine Por­traits on LSD Dur­ing 1950s Research Exper­i­ment.)


Chic Young’s blind­fold­ed ver­sion of Dag­wood Bum­stead is all dynam­ic lines and spi­rals, look­ing a bit like a doo­dle from an Ital­ian Futur­ist. Chester Gould’s blind attempt at Dick Tra­cy’s chis­eled pro­file looks not all that dif­fer­ent from the sight­ed ver­sion. And Mil­ton Can­iff’s Steve Canyon has all the ele­ments there — the flinty eyes, the wavy hair – but it’s all jum­bled togeth­er.

steve canyon

You can see more such draw­ings here.

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Ger­tie the Dinosaur: The Moth­er of all Car­toon Char­ac­ters

Vis­it the World of Lit­tle Nemo Artist Win­sor McCay: Three Clas­sic Ani­ma­tions and a Google Doo­dle

How Walt Dis­ney Car­toons are Made

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrowAnd check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing one new draw­ing of a vice pres­i­dent with an octo­pus on his head dai­ly.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.


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