Originally created 11/04/04

Cartoonist carries on legacy of visual humor



Cartoonist John Rose is in the legacy business.

For three years, Mr. Rose has written and drawn Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, as it is officially known. He took command of Snuffy after the death in 2001 of Fred Lasswell, who drew the strip for nearly 60 years - and had in turn inherited it from Bill DeBeck. This weekend Mr. Rose will be in Augusta for a series of exhibitions and demonstrations as part of the Southeast chapter of the National Cartoonists Society's annual meeting.

"Cartoonists spend a lot of time alone," Mr. Rose said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Harrisonburg, Va. "So the once or twice a year we can get together like this is fun and, really, important. It's neat to be able to share the creative type of work you do."

Before taking over Snuffy Smith, Mr. Rose worked as his predecessor's inker and as an editorial cartoonist.

"It's been a lot of fun for me to work on this strip," he said. "I learned a lot from Fred Lasswell. He created this wonderful cast of characters that are very easy to work with. That's the secret of a successful strip."

One of the events planned for the Augusta meeting is a First Friday exhibition of Mr. Rose's work in the lobby of The Augusta Chronicle.

"An exhibition like this lets people see comics for what they are - a great American art form," he said. "Seeing the work in this way should be very interesting for folks, and maybe surprising. For one thing, they are drawn much larger than they appear in the paper and that really allows people to see how these are done."

Situated somewhere between drawing and writing, cartooning for Mr. Rose requires a creative balance and an ability to remember what the goal of every great strip should be.

"It's a balance between the verbal and the visual," he said. "And that's what's fun about a strip. It also has to really make people laugh. Really, that's the whole point. All that work is because you are looking for that single chuckle."

Drawn Out

WHAT: The Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society annual meeting. Events include an exhibition of work by John Rose and public presentations and workshops by members.

WHEN: John Rose exhibition 7-8:30 p.m. Friday; public presentations and workshops 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Rose exhibition at The Augusta Chronicle, 725 Broad St.; public presentations at Augusta Museum of History, 560 Reynolds St.

COST: Free; museum admission applies for museum presentations

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.