Drawing Life (2022)

 

Drawing Life is a 23-minute documentary by Nathan Fitch for The New Yorker that looks at fifty years of work by 95-year-old veteran cartoonist George Booth. Booth drew the only cartoon published in the magazine’s post-9/11 issue. It was this one.

Drawing Life (2022)

Excerpts from the review of the documentary in The New Yorker.

“George Booth was born in the kitchen of his grandparents’ farmhouse in Cainsville, Missouri, a town so small you practically have to know where it is before you can find it on a map. He talks about brushing his teeth, not brushing them. He calls an outhouse an outhouse, because the only toilets his family had when he grew up were toilets

According to David Owen many familiar elements of George Booth’s work can already be considered permanent contributions to the iconography of American humour.

“He drew his first cartoon at the age of three, when he was scarcely old enough to hold a pencil. It depicted a Model T racing car stuck in the mud—early evidence of a deep and continuing fascination with debilitated cars. “That cartoon I drew when I was three made me laugh,” Booth told me, in 1998. “I showed it to my mother, and she was fascinated by the fact that I thought it was funny. In all the years since then, I’ve never wanted to do anything else.”

Drawing Life (2022)
Booth drawing at home in an image from the documentary

“Nathan Fitch, who made this documentary, lives in Brooklyn, not northern Missouri, but he feels a kinship nevertheless. “George served in the Marines at the same time as my grandfather, who was shot in the heart taking Iwo Jima.”

“My motivation in making the piece was not only George’s art but also the fact that he was the last of a generation. To me, he is a person with a sense of decency who straddles worlds, rural and urban. That’s rare these days.”

George Booth is the oldest cartoonist still active and publishing regularly in The New Yorker.

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