High School Drawing by Tex Avery

Tex Avery

This comic from Tex Avery’s days at North Dallas High School (see larger version here) is currently up for auction on Howard Lowery’s site. Bidding is currently up to $610 with 13 days left in the auction. It’s hard to see any signs of the future cartoon genius in this drawing, but it’s interesting as a historical piece.


  • James Ciambor

    He always sold himself short he was so modest and claimed that he was never a proficient draftsman. Though this was obviously enough for him to be employed as one of the lead artists at Lantz which by the way had more polished product than most studios in the early thirties even Disney who after Ub Iwerks departure had problems finding proficient draftsman. More people should be commenting on this brilliant jack-of-all trades artist.

  • Toonio

    Gotta love Avery.

    He pushed the envelope with his true knack for innovation and creativity.

    Sadly we might never get to see any other genius like him for a loooong while if we are optimistic about it.

    • James Ciambor

      I agree the industry is at a pessimistic state Toonio. A testament to the fact that the industry is in disarray is that the most sought after animation is merchandised based. Avery proved that you could make original material and still make a profit. It wasn’t just him pushing the boundaries but encouraging others as well he was a father figure to Clampett and Jones. While everyone was going on an imitation binge for Disney Avery defied the rule and took the studio and eventually the rest of the industry away from Disney.

      Again Avery may be more accomplished than meets the eye he opened up people to different styles aside from what Disney was accomplishing and might be one of the runners up in terms of importance to Disney in animations history.

  • http://ghostdigits.blogspot.com Kat

    I agree, there is nothing standout about this piece, but it exists as proof that not every respected artist sprang from the womb a child prodigy. Focus and dedication mean everything.

  • Obo

    How do we know this is real?

    • Sardonic Tuba

      One clue might be the signature, “Fred Avery”. His wasn’t nicknamed “Tex” (for his twangy Texas accent) until he got out to California, according to Joe Adamson’s book.

      • Sardonic Tuba

        Make that “HE wasn’t nicknamed ‘Tex’..” Whoops.

    • James Ciambor

      Don’t worry Obo its real I can understand because people have made fake cels impersonating the likes of the nine magic old men thorough investigating has taken place as a result.

      The reason that this the real mccoy is like Sardonic said. He wasn’t yet referred to Tex at this point. Also stylistically this has a lot of correllations with his other cartoons for North Dallas High. He was known for his erratic sense of humor and scrawny figures though he still didn’t stand out of the crowd as distinct as he would later be.

      Because this has no indication of a genius brewing so this seems to be genuine due to the fact that ingenious artists seldom start out with promise but develop it through rich life experiences. I look at Walt’s work as a commercial artist in Kansas City in the early twenties and actually seems on the surface that UB Iwerks and his contemporaries have more promise than Walt in the industry this was obviously not so when looking at their track records show what Walt did for the industry, but again you cant just judge based on draftsmanship. Though had it been false it would have been reminisicent of Avery’s established style not focusing on the years that he was budding and growing as this conveys.

    • The Gee

      Obo,

      if you look closely at the blades of grass, you’ll notice it sez:

      “Oh, it’s real alright!”

      just kidding.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    I agree with Kat. Talent is overrated; it’s passion, dedication and an original sense of humor or storytelling that makes a great cartoonist.

  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    This highschool gag is funnier and better executed than many adult cartoonists during his time and ours. And for the record, I don’t know many highschool artists that anyone could look at and say to themselves, “Gee that guy is going to be a cartoon genius!”

  • The Gee

    Yeah, but….

    one, sure, talent may be overrated but that “sense of humor or storytelling”is a gift, too. It’s usually something that shows up early in kids and it doesn’t atrophy, from what I’ve seen.

    It really does take a certain sensibility to figure out how you can do it to the best of your ability. But, for sure, you have to want to grow, too. And that is where passion and stick-to-itivness comes in. Let’s face it, some people have that sensibility and don’t continue cartooning. They give it up and do something else. But, that sensibility should be evident because it shows up in the work.

    In that cartoon, I’ve seen better ones by cartoonists when they were young. But, if you look at certain parts of it, the figure in the car being more confidently drawn than the car or the trees…just look at the fingers…

    It looks like he used a hard quill or maybe a fountain pen. Who has a knack for that out of the gate? His mistakes are one you’d expect, like the size of the tires, the cross-hatching. But, for what it is, it isn’t bad. Heck, he probably had other things he wanted or needed to do that day anyhow.

    Though, I gotta admit, I don’t get the gag. The “three downs” makes me think of football as much as it obviously is about the tires. I’m guessing it is a local joke for those in the know.

    And I’m sure other kids and his teachers thought he was pretty good. Isn’t that one way that keeping at it happens:
    encouragement despite what you think how good you are or aren’t?

    As for genius…who knows what the hell that is or how it comes into fruition?

    • Courage, A Cowardly Dog

      Genius is just what other people call hard workers with an original message. It comes from outside, not from within. Unless you are Tesla. That guy was really smart!