Ask A Cartoonist: The Great Outdoors

By Tea Fougner

For thse of you who read every day, you know that August is Tree Check Month (and if not, you can learn more from Mark Trail).  And apart from protecting our trees, there’s a lot of geat stuff to do outdoors this time of year. 

I asked our cartoonists to share their favorite outdoor objects to draw in today’s blog post.

My favorite outdoor scene is a golf course. I look forward to my weekly day of golf, the green rolling hills, the lush trees and the blue sky with fluffy white clouds. I especially like it if the script calls for the putt to roll in the hole. That makes my heart beat.

–Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey

I used to hate having to draw cars. Now I love drawing cars. Same for trees, windows, hands and pants legs. After you hate drawing something 2,000 times, you learn to draw them—then you love to draw them. Something to do with brain synapses or a pact with the devil or something.


–Bill Griffith, Zippy The Pinhead

My favourite outdoor object to draw is trees. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many in the Arctic, but sometimes I use artistic licence!

–Alex Hallatt, Arctic Circle

The outdoor objects I enjoy drawing most are buildings. Specifically, buildings as they relate to people so they need to be on a human scale. My least favorite objects are also buildings, usually modern and always ‘Brutalist.’

–Kieran Meehan, Pros & Cons

I enjoy drawing all kinds of animals in their outdoor habitats, and birds are a particular favorite as feathers and wing structure are fun to draw. Flight also allows for a multiple of camera angles.

–Bill Holbrook, On the Fastrack and Safe Havens

I really hate drawing buildings of any kind. Instead, I try and suggest them in the background (and get away with as little detail as possible). On the flip side, I enjoy drawing anything that’s more fluid and organic, like plants and trees.

–Terri Libenson, The Pajama Diaries

I love drawing insects. This comes in handy, of course, with me being a political cartoonist. I’ve had a field day these past few years here, with the invasion of Asian longhorned beetles.

I enjoy drawing most anything with texture to it. Trees and old buildings and scaly reptiles come to mind. I hate drawing modern buildings that lack architectural character. Give me an old shed to pen and I’m happy. Skyscrapers just don’t do it for me, artistically.

–David Hitch, Editorial Cartoonist

I LOVE to draw trees and foliage, as well as old rickety wooden fences in backgrounds. Simple, lush cartoon foliage is so fun to look at and even more fun to draw. It doesn’t even have to be highly detailed. It’s just so bright and fun and organic. I confess I feel the same way about clouds. I think I just really love to make the little curly squiggle strokes that create the cartoon leaves and clouds. Hey, it’s the little things, right? 😉

–David Reddick, Intelligent Life

I’ve always loved drawing buildings, storefronts, and trees. It’s something I look forward to whenever my characters happen to be outdoors. (Sometimes I’ll put them outdoors just so I can whip up a storefront or two!)

My sketchbooks show a lot of exterior props, too… here are a couple of drawings



–Rina Piccolo, Tina’s Groove and Six Chix