The Line of Our Times: Richard Thompson

Franz Kafka by Richard ThompsonThe Washington Post‘s Comic Riffs blog is reporting the passing of Richard Thompson, illustrator and cartoonist, from complications of Parkinson’s Disease.

I’ve been a fan of his work since I saw his caricature of Franz Kafka trying to figure out the key concept of “The Metamorphosis” to illustrate a column in the March 5, 1993, edition of the Post.

The linework looks easy but belies a keen understanding of the human figure, with an economy that focuses the eye on the important details. I saved a clipping of that illustration, and thereafter, I began to see his work popping up everywhere, from the New Yorker to National Geographic and beyond. When he began “Richard’s Poor Almanac” for the Post and then the syndicated “Cul de Sac,” well, it was like a holiday every time I opened the paper.

You could do worse than spend twenty minutes watching a short documentary on his life and work, and collections of his illustrations and cartoons are available via his site.

My condolences to his family and friends.

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