I’m not much for compiling lists of favorites, but if I had to ever list my favorite cartoonists, there’s no question that Robert Osborn would appear high atop the pantheon of greats alongside other cartooning heroes like Ronald Searle, Otto Dix, Vip Partch, Rowland Emett, and Miguel Covarrubias.
Osborn’s work has been on my mind recently. His name came up in a conversation a few days ago, and then there was Jerry’s post about Grampaw Pettibone, a character that Osborn designed and drew for a long time.
Osborn is the definition of late bloomer. He was approaching forty years old when he began drawing cartoons for the Navy, his first major body of work. He created between 2,000-3,000 drawings for posters and military training booklets, many of them featuring Dilbert, a goofball pilot who did everything incorrectly. It’s a crime that these drawings have not been collected nor reprinted anywhere since their original publication seventy years ago.