It’s a terrier’s world, we just live in it

Booth’s bull terrier

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No matter how expressive his cats, the hands-down favorite is a sour-looking pointy-eared dog. Its creator is clueless as to why the dog, who adorns souvenir T-shirts sold by The New Yorker, is so popular. “I don’t try to analyze humor,” he said. “You go nowhere doing that. A thing is funny or it’s not funny.”As for the famous dog icon, “I started drawing what I thought was an awful-looking dog,” he recalled. After receiving a letter from a fan asking whether the canine was an English bull terrier, “I went to the library, improved his breeding, and made him an English bull terrier.”

Once Mr. Booth starts drawing dogs and cats, he has a hard time stopping. His record for a single cartoon is 86 cats and 74 dogs. Each portrait is individualized, a tour de force of cartoon art conveying personality and mood through skilled line drawing. “From a business perspective, it doesn’t make sense to draw 86 cats and 74 dogs,” he acknowledged, because he is paid by the work, and not the hour, “but I enjoy it.”

Several years ago Mr. Booth was asked to draw his trademark terrier as a gift. “I never do what I’m told,” Mr. Booth recounted. So he drew a “diseased chicken.” Only then did he learn the picture was for President Ronald Reagan. “Mr. Reagan was very gracious,” Mr. Booth said of meeting Mr. Reagan in the Oval Office, “and he never had me shot — to date.”

“Nothing intimidates George,” Mr. Lorenz recalled of the encounter. “He’s willing to try anything once.”

 New York Times. 1993


Written by aterrier

July 22, 2008 at 3:31 am

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