Bill Watterson in College

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Like Schulz’ Peanuts, Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip Calvin and Hobbes was beloved by many and still has a devoted following – despite it’s retirement in 1995. Tim from the Calvin and Hobbes: Magic on Paper website has unearthed a selection of Watterson’s student artwork, from his days at Ohio’s Kenyon College, drawn for the school newspaper and the 1980 yearbook. Considering that new Watterson art is rare, it’s great to see some old stuff that’s new to our eyes.


  • http://clockroom.blogspot.com smacleod

    What a gold mine of art and information. Thanks for sharing this one.

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    Sweet! A few of his political cartoon work was in the Complete Calvin & Hobbes set, but the rest is a real sight to see!

    I heard a rumor that he might go public with a new comic someday, but a rumor is a rumor.

  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    God damn, the guy knew how to work a brush.

    Awesome finds :)

  • Kelly Tindall

    There are geniuses, and then there’s Bill Watterson. Astonishing skill right from the very start.

  • red pill junkie

    I love this man’s work. It is almost painful how much I identify myself with Calvin…

    Pity we never had the chance of a Calvin & Hobbes animated cartoon. But I understand his reasons for it.

  • JeffM

    He is a true artist. His brush work is truly amazing.

    I hope Bill returns soon. I always hoped he would have kept C&H alive in comic books.

  • http://tangoland.com Cynthia

    In today’s world, change that “twenty one” to “forty” and he’d be dead on.

  • HH

    If he was this good at 21 one i couldn’t even imagine how great his ink work is now. It’s too bad he became a recluse.

  • Sarah

    This was a really good find. I learned how to read and draw thanks to C&H comics, oh and my father too. I remember writing a letter to Bill Watterson when I was much younger asking him if he could teach how to draw and whether or not he would make more C&H comics. To my surprise he wrote back, months later of course. I lost the letter but there’s two things I will always remember: “Keep drawing, practice makes perfect” an a quick drawing of Hobbes with Watterson’s signature. Sometimes I wondered if it was really Bill Watterson that wrote that letter.

  • red pill junkie

    “If he was this good at 21 one i couldn’t even imagine how great his ink work is now. It’s too bad he became a recluse.”

    Well HH, from what I’ve read through scattered info all over the net, Watterson is focused now on painting oil landscapes of forests with his father. So if he could make such an awesome use of ink for a daily strip, undoubtedly his work now would probably deserve to be exhibited in any museum, if we’re lucky to ever see it. Maybe that won’t happen, partly because nowadays “serious” art is supposed to be all about abstract and portraying nature is considered rather “quaint”. Not that Watterson ever gave a rat’s ass about modern trends. That’s why Calvin was NEVER shown playing video games for example.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > I remember writing a letter to Bill Watterson when I was much younger asking him if he could teach how to draw and whether or not he would make more C&H comics. To my surprise he wrote back, months later of course. I lost the letter but there’s two things I will always remember: “Keep drawing, practice makes perfect� an a quick drawing of Hobbes with Watterson’s signature. Sometimes I wondered if it was really Bill Watterson that wrote that letter.

    Glad to see you’ve started questioning authority through that experience! (sorry if I sounded sarcastic there)

  • Spock Foolish

    Sarah, I’d be willing to bet the letter was genuine. Watterson was a solo act; writing, drawing, inking and lettering his entire ouput. He had nothing but contempt for the likes of Jim Davis, who basically did nothing but sign the work of his small army of assistants.

  • Randy

    > He had nothing but contempt for the likes of Jim Davis, who basically did nothing but sign the work of his small army of assistants.

    I’ve never quite understood why Jim Davis is invariably singled out for his reliance on assistants in producing his comic strip. Fact is, artists who do it all on their own, such as Waterson and Charles Schulz, are genuine rarities. Most successful comic strips may have just one signature on them, but there are almost invariably other folks functioning in the background, to a greater or lesser degree, and as the years go by, those assistants have a tendency to take on more and more of the responsibility for producing the strip. That’s why, when the artist of a long-running strip dies, the strip almost invariably continues without a hitch. The “new” artist is generally the same person who’s been drawing the strip over the last few years, anyway.

  • Jorge Garrido

    These are genius!!! Bill Watterson, where have you gone?

  • RAB SMITH

    INTRUIGED that there is a strong possibility that there are bogus WATTERSON ‘originals’ out there……is this the only way these losers can earn a few bucks out of cartooning?—They obviously can’t come up with anything good on their own………WATTERSON often played down his abilities as a political satirist, but his work had ‘bite’ enough, in my eyes.

  • http://www.cartoonbrew.com/comics/bill-watterson-in-college Zoran Taylor

    >INTRUIGED that there is a strong possibility that there are bogus WATTERSON ‘originals’ out there……is this the only way these losers can earn a few bucks out of cartooning?—They obviously can’t come up with anything good on their own………WATTERSON often played down his abilities as a political satirist, but his work had ‘bite’ enough, in my eyes.

    Wow, you’re not kidding. C&H could be edgier than Doonsbury on a good day. Remember the one where Calvin asks Mrs. Wormwood if he’s allowed to express his religious faith in a public school -i.e. “Strip down, smear myself with paste and set fire to this little effigy of you….in a very non-denominational sort of way”? Holy shinola. I am completely stunned that such a strip made it to press. It practically makes the “Man’s Best Friend” episode of Ren & Stimpy look like the G – rated fare that it was supposed to be.

  • http://www.willbraden.com Will

    I, like Sara, wrote Watterson a letter as a child, and I can confirm that he not only wrote back personally, but answered my specific questions. Class act. Fortunately, I’ve kept the letter framed for about 20 years since I got it, and it’s one of my most treasured possessions. I’m sure a personal, signed letter from Watterson is worth a pretty penny, but I’ll never sell it! Take a look:
    http://img80.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc0010es6.jpg
    http://img143.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc0013gz1.jpg

  • http://www.billwatterson.net Bill Watterson Fan

    Bill is retired now, he’s taken up painting.