It’s funny when you get older you feel as though you have been around for a long time. Depending on your age maybe you have but when you look back at the history of a time or industry you realize you are still a baby. I have been drawing since I was ten years old and I will be celebrating my 56th birthday this month. When I am drawing at events people will often ask me how long I have been drawing and I usually answer with either, “A long time!” or “Since I was 10.” If it is children I often refer to their age and tell them, “I started when I was your age.” and then have them try to guess my age now. For 18 of those years I was busy in my former career as a truck driver and didn’t do too much art, but it was still in me. I have been drawing steadily for the last 24 years and plan on going until the end whenever that may be. Since it’s my birthday month and Canada Day I started thinking about when Canadian Cartoonists began to emerge and the history of the industry. History was never my strong point, but hey there’s still time. Here is what I found out.
Canadian Cartoonists have been around since 1807. As the publishing and newspaper industry developed so did the world of cartooning particularly editorial and political cartooning. Much of the rise for this was that Government funding for publications ceased with advertising and circulation revenues taking over.
“Punch” was the first comic published in Canada by John H. Walker in 1849 and was followed by quick development of comics with the first Canadian drawn strip appearing by artist Jean Baptiste Coté in 1863 who worked for La Scie (The Saw) in Montreal Quebec.
The cartoon industry continued to expand as the industry developed and presses moved around the Country. Comics became main stream during the War period of the early 1900’s and has continued to grow over the years to help show the development of Canada. The history of Canadian Cartooning has many notables and talent, too much to mention here in this article but you can read about the full history through the Canadian Encyclopedia website https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/cartoons-and-comic-strips.
I do want to mention some of the top cartoonists that I have followed over the years and that have influenced my work as it develops. Lynn Johnston, Terry Mosher ( Aislin), Sandra Bell-Lundy, Cathy Thorne, Doug Sneyd, Guy Badeaux, Blaine, Andy Donato, Stephen Nease, Ben Wicks, Doug Wright and many more too many to mention and that doesn’t include many American artists that I adore. If you weren’t mentioned it doesn’t mean you didn’t influence me, I’m getting older. Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting some of these amazing artists or helping them get celebrated. I had the pleasure of being asked to draw caricatures for the opening of The Doug Wright Park here in Burlington, have shared the stage with Sandra Bell-Lundy and Cathy Thorne, and met the amazing Doug Sneyd years ago at Fan Expo. I am a member of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists who include my idols such as Aislin, Guy Badeaux, and countless others. You can learn more about the association at https://acc.format.com
To close this article I feel proud to be a small part of an industry with such a colourful history. I feel sad that as a young student my former teachers didn’t explain or suggest I follow a life as a cartoonist when they saw me drawing on my notebooks. They just gave me detentions! Now I spend much of my time helping future generations know that there is a career path in the arts if you are willing to do the work and follow your dreams through my cartoon business and podcasts.
Let’s keep the history of cartooning alive by encouraging future generations. If you are looking for someone to talk to your group or you would just like to see how my art career developed then view the video below. Enjoy!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a professional cartoonist living in Burlington Ontario Canada. He specializes in the art of caricature for live caricature entertainment, editorial illustration, and advertising projects. Bruce is well known in the transportation industry for his cartoons and they are regularly published in publications like Road Today Magazine, Ontario Trucking News, and many private clients and organizations. You can learn more and view Bruce’s work at www.bruceoutridgeproductions.com