Sadly, very little of Jack Cole's pencil work exists in any form. Here are two extremely rare examples of his masterful drawing from around 1952-54.
It's a sheer delight to see how loose Cole's pencils are, and how well he captures the necessary round, feminine forms.
The bold strokes on these pages, which were probably done with a very thick pencil lead or perhaps a conti crayon of some sort give us an indication of the strength of his compositions. For example, in the cartoon below, we can see how Cole intends for the lines of the brickwork and even the lines of copy in the newspaper to direct the eye towards the sultry siren he has so beautifully sketched.
These drawings are what is known as "roughs" of cartoons that were sent to magazine editors. It's not known if these cartoons were ever completed or published. In the top right corners of the pages, you can see Jack's address stamp from his New Milford, Connecticut home.
Instead of taking the effort to finish a cartoon, a cartoonist could send in a "rough" preliminary drawing. This also afforded the editor a chance to alter the cartoon or caption, as in the example below, where the caption has shifted towards a more screwball tone.
|Jack Cole cartoon rough, probably for a Humorama publication|
As in the first rough, this drawing's bold pencil strokes and composition elements indicate exactly where Cole wants the eye to go.
For more on Cole's cartoon composition, see our popular guest post by Timothy O'Neil: Jack Cole's Playboy Style Cartoon Composition.
And, speaking of screwball, be sure to check out my new blog, The Masters of Screwball Comics. This blog features some way cool nutty stuff, including many rare comics scans from my collection that fans of Jack Cole will appreciate. This week's post features more incredibly wacky Gene Ahern comics!