A Visit from Chris Sparks with The Art of Richard Thompson

A post Christmas guest to the Museum was Chris Sparks,‎ seen here in Sparky’s recreated studio.

In addition to seeing the Museum with his family, Chris’ mission was to deliver to me The Art of Richard Thompson, a book of cartoonist Richard Thompson’s beautiful and clever drawings done over his 30 year career. Here are some illustrations from the book.


“I titled this ‘The Commuter.’ The concept tickles me no end. It’s from an ancient creation myth: something about a half-earth riding around on elephants staked on a giant turtle.” Richard Thompson from The Art of Richard Thompson, p. 32.


Name Your Own Holiday, a calendar for a design firm


Richard made this drawing specifically for one of our exhibitions in 2010 titled Imaginary Places in the Comics, which looked at the places cartoonists have created. As you can see, this is the Cul de Sac neighborhood.


Cartoon fans will know Richard for his cartoon strip, Cul de Sac, ‎relating the adventures of Petey and Alice Otterloop. Richard’s career, however, began long before that as a regular contributor to the Washington Post and other DC area publications.


Many of the pages of the book are of Richard’s caricatures which appeared in a number of magazines. Initially they appeared weekly in U.S. News & World Report and then later in The New Yorker.

The Nuclear Option for The New Yorker – a favorite of Richard’s

Nick Galifianakis
, cartoonist and Richard’s long time friend, wrote the introduction, a beautiful tribute to Richard and his work.

Nick will be in Sonoma County on Saturday, January ‎17th for LumaCON in Petaluma. His appearance is jointly sponsored by the Schulz Museum.

This book is the second book that Chris Sparks has collaborated on. His first book, Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s, was a fundraiser for Parkinson’s research for the Michal J. Fox Foundation. Team Cul de Sac, the nonprofit that Chris and Richard created, has raised over $200,000 for the MJFF in less than five years.

Chris said, “When I met Richard in 2008 I knew instantly he was one of the greatest cartoonists I had ever met. My surprise was the depth of his art skills and diversity of his work. Whether you are a fan or are new to Richard’s work, The Art of Richard Thompson is a must!”

Asked about what might be around the corner for Team Cul de Sac, Chris smiled and said, “2014 was unbelievable because we had Bill Watterson ghosting some panels in Stephan Pastis strips. To see Bill’s art in the newspapers again was magical and those three strips were all done to help us to raise money ($68,000 for the auction of three strips). I hope I can pull off more magic in 2015 in some of our fun events. Please follow our blog this year.”

—Jean Schulz

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