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THE LOST ART OF ZIM

The Lost Art of Zim coverThe Lost Art of Zim: Cartoons and Caricatures
By Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman
edited by Joseph V. Procopio
128 5.5x8.5-inch pages
b/w text and pictures
paperback
Lost Art Books, an imprint of Picture This Press
$19.95

If Zim didn't invent "bigfoot" cartooning in America, he was at least the foremost practitioner of the form during his career on the staff of the humor magazine Judge, roughly 1885 - 1910. He continued freelancing his cartoons and various writings until his death in 1935 at the age of 73, and he also conducted a correspondence course in cartooning and, in 1910, produced an instructional tome on the subject, which Joseph Procopio has now carefully reproduced in the book at hand, adding to its pages from an earlier (1905) Zim effort, This and That About Caricature.

The book brims with sound, practical advice about drawing — some of it, like the caution against having lines overlap in a picture, not readily available elsewhere anymore. But Zim infiltrates the how-to’s with other valuable tidbits:

“In the first place, try to forget that you are a great artist and lead a natural life. Don’t be too eccentric. Be like other poor mortals who love to earn an honest living, and the world will love you the better for it.”

Zim page“When you make a character sketch, be sure to append an appropriate foot. ... It’s the proper treatment of details that earns big salaries.” Illustrated with an array of different footwear.

 “Refrain from caricaturing acquaintances unless you are sure they are not of a sensitive nature, else you may incur their enmity. If they are sensitive or vain, they do not deserve the attention of your pencil or pen. You may ridicule, but don’t offend.”

“Sage advice,” saith Procopio, “on a variety of esoteric subjects, including Swiping, Booze and Bohemianism, Dealing with Editors, and Cartoonists and Marriage."

About Bohemianims, Zim cautions: “To follow this life in its true sense is all very well, but the average art student is quite apt to mix it up too freely with beverages of amber and more ruddy tints — a nerve-wrecking and career-destroying course.”

And marriage: “In the face of the facts before me, it would be safe for me to state that a man, to be successful in any matter he undertakes, should be either married or unmarried.”

“The main point in the profession is ‘The Lead Pencil.’ Whenever you sketch in public, in order to throw your audience off the track and make them think that you are a full-fledged caricaturist, always wear a reckless air and a common twenty-five cent necktie.”

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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