CLS: Comic Strips & Political Cartoons

Gain a better understanding of how comic strips and political cartoons are made in this week’s lectures in Orchestra Hall as the Chautauqua Lecture Series presents ‘Comics Strips & Political Cartoons’ Week. Funny, informative and thought-provoking – learn about the inspirations and creative process behind comic strips and political cartoons.


“Political Cartoons”
10:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 15 | Orchestra Hall 

This lecture will focus on how Ron Hill has blended a comic strip character with newspaper editorial cartoons. He will present slides and drawing demonstrations on a white board or pad while describing the process of creating characters and discuss how he has created characters for the Armchair Theologians series published by Westminster John Knox Press. Hill will also relate stories from his 40-year career as a cartoonist, illustrator and caricaturist.

Ron Hill has been drawing cartoons for books, newspapers and magazines for over 40 years. His editorial cartoons and BB BluesBird opinion comics have appeared in the Chagrin Valley Times, Solon Times, Geauga Times Courier and West Life. In 2008, one of his cartoons was selected as the best non-daily cartoon in Ohio by the Cleveland Press Club. He has also illustrated 15 books in Westminster John Knox’s Armchair Theologian series, which have been published in English, German, Japanese, Korean and Italian. In 2016, Hill helped form Act 3 LLC, a media and design company specializing in illustration, web, publishing and video services. Hill provides quick-sketch, caricature entertainment for private, corporate and institutional events. He is a member of The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. Currently, he is directing “We Are Doc Savage,” a documentary on fandom. Visit for more information.


“Aging with an Attitude: A Cartoonist on Becoming Her Own Demographic Group”
10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 16 | Orchestra Hall 

Jenny Campbell will discuss her 33-year career as a cartoonist and how she got into this business. She will share samples of her work and highlight her syndicated strip, “Flo & Friends.” She will also talk doing a daily and Sunday cartoon strip about senior citizens has gotten very personal now that she’s in her 60s.

Workshop on Strip Cartooning & Gag-Writing
3:30-5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 16 | Train Station 

Jenny Campbell has been a freelance cartoonist and a children’s illustrator for 33 years. Most notably, Campbell writes and draws, “Flo & Friends,” a daily and Sunday strip featuring an ensemble cast of senior citizens that is distributed by Creators Syndicate. Currently, “Flo & Friends” is published in newspapers from Kailua-Kona, HI, to Newark, NJ, and has a loyal internet following.

In addition to the cartoon strip, Campbell also has been a prolific children’s book illustrator, with more than 25 picture books to her credit, including several that have won national awards. Her other work in kids’ literature includes hundreds of K-5 textbooks and a myriad of other children’s publications, including Highlights for Children, for whom she was a monthly contributor for more than a dozen years. Her work in children’s books also has made her a popular speaker, who often takes her interactive art and literacy program to schools and libraries throughout the Midwest, and occasionally nationwide.

In addition, Campbell is the principal cartoonist for Outside the Lines Creative Group (, which supplies innovative cartoon communications to corporations and organizations across the country, ranging from manufacturing to healthcare to national parks.

Before she became a fulltime illustrator, Campbell was an award-winning newspaper writer for 13 years, first for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix; then the Pasadena Star-News and The Orange County Register in Southern California. Following in her father’s footsteps, she was a sixth-generation journalist when she graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in ‘79.

Campbell lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her partner of 33 years, Amy Sancetta, a retired Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer.  She shares her studio on three acres in the woods with Tanner and Grayson, two enthusiastic hound mixes; and Rizz, a 9-year-old formerly feral tabby who is not amused by the pups.


“Memes Replacing Editorial Cartoons”
10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 17 | Orchestra Hall 

Don Lee will discuss how the editorial cartoon, succumbing at traditional papers, is being replaced (in the increasingly do-it-yourself world of the internet) by the meme. He also notes that photographs repurposed for editorial expression isn’t exactly a new thing (the famous photo of Teddy Roosevelt riding a moose across a river was, in fact, altered by a newspaper designer to illustrate a political statement), with a little speculation as to what would have happened if practical photography had been available to newspapers a lot earlier. Lee will also talk about further speculation as to how the “meme” could be refined into an effective political cartoon.

Don Lee was editorial cartoonist for several papers, including the Swanton Enterprise, Fulton County Expositor, Philadelphia Region’s Business, Toledo Free Press and (for 34 years) the Sandusky Register. He was also wrote and reported for the Enterprise, Free Press and Register. He now works as a freelance illustrator and caricaturist, and does the occasional editorial cartoon for his blog.


“Abraham Lincoln in Political Cartoons”
10:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 18 | Orchestra Hall 

At 10:30 a.m., Tom Culbertson will discuss how Abraham Lincoln ranks as America’s finest president by both historians and ordinary citizens. His successful conduct of the war, issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and the subsequent ending of slavery along with his martyrdom make Lincoln a nearly mythical figure. However, prior to his elevation to sainthood, Lincoln was viewed like any other politician. Political cartoonists had a field day exploiting the sixteenth president’s unusual appearance as well as his perceived failings. “Abraham Lincoln in Political Cartoons” is an exploration of the president fared at the hands of political cartoonists from 1859 to his death in 1865 and beyond.

“Thomas Nast: America’s Favorite Political Cartoonist”
3:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 18 | Orchestra Hall 

Culbertson’s 3:30 p.m. talk is an overview of Thomas Nast’s life and career. Most Americans are familiar with Santa Claus, Uncle Sam, the republican elephant and the democrat donkey. These and several other icons were created or popularized by Thomas Nast during his long cartooning career from 1860-1902. Nast came to America at age 6 speaking no English and received little formal education. These handicaps did not keep him from becoming the most popular and well-known political cartoonist of his era and perhaps all time. He is still one of the most imitated cartoonists to this day.

Tom Culbertson was raised in Moline, Illinois and St. Louis. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and a master of information science from Syracuse University. From 1970-72, he served as a lieutenant in the United States Army. Culbertson was a college librarian at Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa, for four years followed by nine years as a stockbroker in Fremont. In 1988, he began a 24-year career at the Rutherford B. Hayes Library & Museums in Fremont and retired as Executive Director in 2012. He is the author of Rutherford B. Hayes: A Life of Service. His academic interests are reconstruction, the Gilded Age and political cartooning. Since 2016, he and his wife, Mary Anne, have lived in Westlake, where he builds furniture, plays golf, travels and reads to keep busy.


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Aug 15 - 19, 2022



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