Remembering Bob Weber

REMEMBERING BOB WEBER

I loved and admired Bob Weber’s cartoons because they were real: funny observations about emotional moments in true-life situations. They were always about somethng —and that made them memorable, because of the insights at their core. Bob’s humor was perceptive and often pointed, but always gentle, and sympathetic to the human frailties he made fun of—and instantly recognizable to everyone.

For example, his plump, matronly woman peeking at herself coquettishly in a mirror, asking her husband in an armchair, buried in his newspaper, “Do you think I’m too old to act my age?” Of course, the way Bob drew those characters ….well.

His gorgeous drawings, unerringly animating his ideas, are truly unique. They are realistic, but look as if they were sketched so casually, so artlessly, with such an air of innocence that you don’t see the humor coming and the surprise makes the cartoon even funnier.

Plus, his process was exceptional. Bob could compose and visualize a complete drawing in his mind, and then just “transfer” it to a blank ledger sheet. That enabled him to draw directly, with ultra-soft Swiss charcoal sticks, to produce fuzzy lines and lush gray tones that might smear at the faintest touch. To avoid that, he would draw his characters and backgrounds from top to bottom, starting on the left, then draw vertical areas, moving right across the page, completing the picture in one sweep.

He was uniquely talented and I’m fortunate to have known him through the years.
I first met Bob sometime around 1962, in an ad agency where he was sub-letting work space. He was wearing a white surgeon’s mask and a long smock, holding a can of Krylon fixatif in one hand and a drawing in the other. I was meeting with the agency head about a project when Bob walked in from an outside patio, where he’d been spraying his drawing. We were introduced and I, then just starting to think seriously about cartooning, recognized Bob’s name and told him how much I admired his advertising illustrations. He lowered his mask, and our conversations began.

I’m grateful for his generosity and assistance to me, and I feel honored for his contributions to my cartoon collection, “Last Laughs,” which includes some of Bob’s last work —when he was 83: Eight Weber cartoons, created especially for that book –including this one.
Unique classic art.
Unique, classic guy.

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