Thomas Myron Bachtell
November 6, 1957
| Yellow Springs High School
Cleveland Institute of Music
Case Western Reserve University
|Illustrator, Caricaturist, Pianist, Dance instructor, Dancer
|Andrew Patner (1990-2015)
Tom Bachtell is a self-taught artist who is an illustrator and caricaturist for The New Yorker's Talk of the Town as well as other sections, contributing regularly for 23 years.He has done work for Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Forbes, Bon Appétit, Town & Country, Mother Jones, New York, Poetry, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer and London's Evening Standard as well as Marshall Field, Lands' End and the chamber-music series at the University of Chicago as part of his ad-campaign clientele. His brush-and-ink style is considered to be reminiscent of American cartoonists from the 1920s and 1930s. He was a finalist for the 18th Lambda Literary Awards as illustrator along with editor Robert Trachtenberg for the book When I Knew under the Belles Lettres category.
Tom Bachtell was interested in drawing as a child and was especially fixated on the older works from New Yorker cartoonists from the 1930s and 1940s such as Peter Arno, Charles Addams, James Thurber, Syd Hoff and Al Hirschfeld.His mother, an editor and writer, encouraged him to draw. The earliest portrait he did is that of his mother when he was 4 or 5 years old. When he was 10, he drew his impression of the guests at his parents' cocktail party at their Ohio home on a portable chalkboard. He saw the adults as fancily dressed, laughing and drinking. He remembered enjoying it. He never planned it but thought it was good and had social satire in it.
Tom graduated from Yellow Springs High School in 1975.He thought drawing was not a legitimate career so he pursued other interests and went to university and conservatory. He majored in English and music (under the Joint Music Program at Cleveland Institute of Music) and minored in dance at Case Western Reserve University. He trained as a pianist and studied the harpsichord at the Cleveland Institute of Music. During college, he drew for friends and for himself. He graduated his liberal arts degree magna cum laude in 1980. In his early 20s he started a modern dance company. At a point Tom thought he wouldn't be good enough to make a living from performing music. After finishing college, he decided to teach himself how to draw and make a living from it.
In 1983, Bachtell moved to Chicago and worked as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward.He observed other illustrations, then drew his own illustrations and sent his work to art directors. Mare Early, an art director for the Chicago Tribune, called him in to show his work. He then got jobs in Chicago, working for the Chicago Tribune (which led to him quitting his copywriting job) as well as some other publications and doing a caricature of Tom Wolfe for Advertising Age. Bachtell's illustrations appeared in the Chicago Reader from 1990 through 1992.
Around that time, The New Yorker editor Robert Gottlieb was actively seeking to incorporate more illustrations into the magazine, and was looking for illustrators to hire.[ citation needed ] In 1989, after seeing Bachtell's caricature of Tom Wolfe in another magazine, New Yorker art director Chris Curry called Bachtell and hired him to do occasional caricatures for the "Goings on About Town" section. The first illustration of Bachtell's published in The New Yorker was of David Byrne in the 30 October 1989 issue. (Coincidentally, Charles Addams drew the cover for that issue.) Bachtell continued to draw for "Goings on About Town" and other sections through early 1995; his subjects during that time included Kris Kristofferson, Madonna, and a young Allison Janney (at the time performing in a short-lived off-Broadway play Five Women Wearing the Same Dress).
Bachtell began drawing for the "Talk of the Town" section of The New Yorker with the 20 March 1995 issue. He drew four illustrations for that issue, including of Conan O'Brien and the cast of Absolutely Fabulous . [ citation needed ] Bachtell drew for "Talk of the Town" for 23 years; his final illustrations for the section ran in the 9/16 July 2018 issue. His work has appeared in various sections over the years; overall, Bachtell has drawn over 2800 illustrations for The New Yorker.At first Bachtell was one of a rotating cast of "Talk of the Town" illustrators, including Eric Palma, Michael Witte, Robert Risko, and others, but by June 1997 he was the sole illustrator for the section.
In 2005, Bachtell was a finalist for the 18th Annual Lambda Literary Awards as illustrator along with editor Robert Trachtenberg for the book "When I Knew" under the Belles Lettres category.
In 2016, Bachtell drew the book cover for Mark Singer's book Trump and Me, published by Penguin Random House.
In 2018, Bachtell drew Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the CD cover of Notorious RBG in Song, performed by vocalist Patrice Michaels and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. The CD was released by Cedille Records 8 June 2018.
Bachtell took only one life drawing class and avoided art classes in order to develop a natural style. He thought the art classes were strict, pompous, would make him obsessed with technique and weren't fun.He developed his own style through experimentation and observation. Through his unorthodox methods, he learnt and discovered a lot by accident, using his ignorance to experiment with tools. When he first started coloring he would create masks out of contact paper and used anything to create color such as using deodorant to draw clouds. He had no knowledge of brush types, techniques and materials and would buy interesting brushes to experiment with them. He primarily works in black and white, however, he has also done color works outside of the New Yorker. In his current process, he superimposes different heads over others on paper and will draw a variety of caricatures in order to achieve the type of caricature he is looking for and remain adaptable. His style is said to be "fluid, spontaneous".
Bachtell met Chicago writer and music critic Andrew Patner in 1989; their relationship lasted until Patner's death in 2015.
Tom is currently an active chamber pianist and teaches and performs swing dancing, mainly the Lindy and Balboa.
In 2016, Bachtell was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
A cartoon is a type of visual art that is typically drawn, frequently animated, in an unrealistic or semi-realistic style. The specific meaning has evolved, but the modern usage usually refers to either: an image or series of images intended for satire, caricature, or humor; or a motion picture that relies on a sequence of illustrations for its animation. Someone who creates cartoons in the first sense is called a cartoonist, and in the second sense they are usually called an animator.
Sir John Tenniel was an English illustrator, graphic humourist and political cartoonist prominent in the second half of the 19th century. An alumnus of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, he was knighted for artistic achievements in 1893, the first such honour ever bestowed on an illustrator or cartoonist.
The New Yorker is an American weekly magazine featuring journalism, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. Founded as a weekly in 1925, the magazine is published 47 times annually, with five of these issues covering two-week spans. Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside New York and is read internationally.
Albert Hirschfeld was an American caricaturist best known for his black and white portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars.
Morris "Mort" Drucker was an American caricaturist and comics artist best known as a contributor for over five decades in Mad, where he specialized in satires on the leading feature films and television series.
Daniel Gillespie Clowes is an American cartoonist, graphic novelist, illustrator, and screenwriter. Most of Clowes's work first appeared in Eightball, a solo anthology comic book series. An Eightball issue typically contained several short pieces and a chapter of a longer narrative that was later collected and published as a graphic novel, such as Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (1993), Ghost World (1997), David Boring (2000) and Patience (2016). Clowes's illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, Vogue, The Village Voice, and elsewhere. With filmmaker Terry Zwigoff, Clowes adapted Ghost World into a 2001 film and another Eightball story into the 2006 film, Art School Confidential. Clowes's comics, graphic novels, and films have received numerous awards, including a Pen Award for Outstanding Work in Graphic Literature, over a dozen Harvey and Eisner Awards, and an Academy Award nomination.
Tony Millionaire is an American cartoonist, illustrator and author known for his syndicated comic strip Maakies and the Sock Monkey series of comics and picture books.
Edward Sorel is an American illustrator, caricaturist, cartoonist, graphic designer and author. His work is known for its storytelling, its left-liberal social commentary, its criticism of reactionary right-wing politics and organized religion. Formerly a regular contributor to The Nation, New York Magazine and The Atlantic, his work is today seen more frequently in Vanity Fair. He has been hailed by The New York Times as "one of America's foremost political satirists". As a lifelong New Yorker, a large portion of his work interprets the life, culture and political events of New York City. There is also a large body of work which is nostalgic for the stars of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood when Sorel was a youth. Sorel is noted for his wavy pen-and-ink style, which he describes as "spontaneous direct drawing".
Drew Friedman is an American cartoonist and illustrator who first gained renown for his humorous artwork and "stippling"-like style of caricature, employing thousands of pen-marks to simulate the look of a photograph. In the mid-1990s, he switched to painting.
Miguel Covarrubias, also known as José Miguel Covarrubias Duclaud was a Mexican painter, caricaturist, illustrator, ethnologist and art historian. Along with his American colleague Matthew W. Stirling, he was the co-discoverer of the Olmec civilization.
David Levine was an American artist and illustrator best known for his caricatures in The New York Review of Books. Jules Feiffer has called him "the greatest caricaturist of the last half of the 20th Century".
Bob StaakeSTAK is an American illustrator, cartoonist, children's book author and designer. He lives and works in Chatham, Massachusetts on the elbow of Cape Cod.
Philip Burke is an American caricature artist and illustrator, known for his vivid portraits that appeared in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine for almost a decade. Burke's work extends beyond the likes of contemporary musicians; often serving as a chronicle of the political and social undercurrent on the pages of Vanity Fair, Time, Vogue or The New Yorker and others.
Tom Gauld is a Scottish cartoonist and illustrator. His style reflects his self-professed fondness of "deadpan comedy, flat dialogue, things happening offstage and impressive characters". Others note that his work "combines pathos with the farcical" and exhibits "a casual reduction of visual keys into a more rudimentary drawing style".
Rea Irvin was an American graphic artist. Although never formally credited as such, he served de facto as the first art editor of The New Yorker. He created the Eustace Tilley cover portrait and the New Yorker typeface. He first drew Tilley for the cover of the magazine's first issue on February 21, 1925. Tilley appeared annually on the magazine's cover every February until 1994. As one commentator has written, "a truly modern bon vivant, Irvin was also a keen appreciator of the century of his birth. His high regard for both the careful artistry of the past and the gleam of the modern metropolis shines from the very first issue of the magazine ..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson Barton was a popular American cartoonist and caricaturist of actors and other celebrities. His work was in heavy demand through the 1920s and has been considered to epitomize the era. Barton was nearly forgotten soon after his death, shortly before his fortieth birthday.
John Cuneo is an American illustrator whose work has appeared in publications, including The New Yorker, Esquire, Sports Illustrated and The Atlantic Monthly. His ink and watercolor drawings have been described as covering everything from politics to sex.
David Alan Parkins is a British cartoonist and illustrator who has worked for D.C. Thomson, publisher of The Beano and The Dandy. Now based in Canada, he illustrates children's picture books.
Barry Blitt is a Canadian-born American cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his New Yorker covers and as a regular contributor to the op-ed page of The New York Times. Blitt creates his works in traditional pen and ink, as well as watercolors.
Andrew Patner was an American Chicago-based journalist, broadcaster, critic, and interviewer.