Monday, October 1, 2012

Darrell McClure...In His Own Words

I was born in California when the century (the current one) was very young. I had a great deal of exposure to the kind of outdoor life available in the West at the time...including trips to the sea as a a seaman aboard the last of the old sailing ships...a vanishing era even then I received my art school training in San Francisco. My first commercial art jobs were in animated cartooning. This had no appeal for me, but it seemed to be the only art opening in my native state, so at nineteen I headed for New York City. To my astonishment, New York was not exactly panting for the superlative talents I was ready to bestow upon the public. Then with the aid of Jimmy Swinnerton, creator of the comic strip, Little Jimmy, I became an apprentice cartoonist with King Features Syndicate. That was in 1923. Jimmy Swinnerton, not the foremost desert painter of America, strongly urged and encouraged me to try my hand at painting as an antidote to constant black and white work. I have now done color work over the years, and it's a pleasant diversion. In 1930 or 1931 I took over the drawing end of the Little Annie Rooney comic strip. At that time it was written by the late Brandon Walsh. Later on, I became the writer as well as the artist, and so it remains today. At the present time, my wife and I divide our time between our home in San Francisco and our boat in Fort Lauderdale. She didn't know what she was in for when she married a rabid yachtsman. Most of her first year of marriage was spent aboard a 38-foot motor sailor, which I owned at the time. In addition to drawing Little Annie Rooney, I also do cartoons and illustrations for Yachting Magazine. The magazine recently published six of my paintings of Bahamian scenes.

 
I maintain a routine, businessman's five day, nine-to-five work-week...and it's often six days. My assistant backgrounds artist works on the strip two days a week. His name is James March Phillips, and he's a leading water colorist whose work appears in the best art galleries. When I am out of state, I mail the work in for Jim to finish. There is nothing unusual about the long hours required to turn out comic strips, but my habit of working afloat is unusual. Long ago I learned that I could never get far enough ahead in my work to take a decent vacation, so I simply take my work with me. Only occasionally have I found it necessary to tuck the job under my arm and seek a less lively base ashore. The toughest part of my job is when a story runs its course and it's time to come up with a new continuity. I suffer until it starts rolling properly. However, it's not bad to suffer, and I can't complain about any of it because I'm doing exactly what I've wanted to do since I was six years old.

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