For Memorial day I’m sharing a very rare and bizarre 1941 how to draw cartoon book, “Armstrong’s How to Draw ‘Em”. This book teaches kids how to draw Hitler and his cronies–and kind of off handedly throws in Roosevelt and Churchhill for good measure. It’s “an amusing instructional drawing book for the young artist specially prepared by Armstrong, cartoonist of the Melbourne Argus“.
Armstrong’s instructions on drawing the failed artist and Nazi leader Adolph Hitler says, “drawing this drip should present no difficulties except that of overcoming the feeling of nausea which his countenance exudes. Where black masses present themselves, such as the hair and moustache, outline then first before filling in.” I like the anti-Fuhrer schmear combined with good practical cartooning.
Stalin fares a lot better. He’s referred to as “Uncle Joe” and young cartoonists are encouraged to note that he has “a rather benign expression about the eyes and his ‘Mona-Lisa’ smile”. Tojo’s lessons present a nifty “example of how a likeness can be built up from the subjects name”. “Note the slanting eyes, high cheek bones and thick receding under-lip, characteristic of the Oriental races”.
All the lessons of how to draw the ” ‘Em’s” in “Armstrong’s How to Draw ‘Em” are preceeded with the secret of the secret “Simple Simon Shorthand System”. I could tell you what that is but “the system..use for republication, correspondence or personal tuitions is expressly forbidden”. I really wish I could have told a young Adolph the secret Simple Simon Shorthand System of cartooning, he might have become a successful cartoonist instead of a nauseating megalomaniac.
Please pause today with your families to honor the brave men and women of the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives fighting for freedoms. I’d like to respectfully end this post with the words that used to end DC war comic books in the 60s: “Make War No More!”
— C. Yoe (in the funny papers)