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Exhibit draws on Geneva’s connection to sketch art, comics

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 2:52 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
Tom Lichtenheld works on a panel of the next book he is illustrating at his Geneva studio. Lichtenheld will be among local artists featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Geneva History Center.

GENEVA — What do Yogi Bear and Dick Tracy have in common? Geneva, that’s what. Daws Butler, the voice of Yogi Bear and many other Hanna Barbara cartoon characters, lived in Geneva during the late 1930s and early 1940s, said Geneva History Center Curator Jessica McTague. Chester Gould, creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip, had a daughter and a grandchild who also lived in Geneva. To honor some 11 local sketch artists and cartooning professionals and educate the community about their lives and their work, museum organizers are exhibiting “Start With A Sketch”, opening Feb. 9 at the history center . “To have so much illustrative talent in and around the community is just amazing,” McTague said. (The exhibit) is kind of our way to pay homage to this art form.” She said visitors to the exhibit will see original sketches next to published pieces so they can examine the creative process. For example, early drafts of a cartoon will include pencil lines that aren’t shown in the finished copy. “People would see how it changes so much,” McTague said. She said there also be interactive displays, designed for young artists and the young at heart, such as an Etch-A-Sketch for visitors to draw their own cartoons and a cartoon caption contest. Another display will be include a touchscreen device featuring the many cartoon voices of Daws Butler. In addition, several presentations are scheduled in conjunction with the exhibit. A Feb. 18 program on animation will be offered by Tribeca Flashpoint Academy and March 9 will feature a conversation with Pulitizer Prize-winning political cartoonist, Dick Locher. Geneva resident Tom Lichtenheld, an author and illustrator of three New York Times Bestselling children’s books, will give a presentation on April 6. Lichtenheld’s had 15 children’s books published since 2000, including the New York Times Bestsellers “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site,” “Shark Vs. Train” and “Duck! Rabbit!.” Lichtenheld has two more books scheduled to publish in 2013 — “Sing ... Sing ... A Song ...” and “Steam Train Dream Train.” Lichtenheld, 59, became a full-time children’s book creator just two years ago. He created his first children’s book “Everything I Know About Pirates” for his eight-year-old nephew Adam in the late 1990s. Lichtenheld said many people told him the book was good enough to be published so he began submitting to various publishers. It was rejected for three years before finally being accepted Simon & Schuster.  He said many people a great idea comes to someone like a lightening bolt. However, Lichtenheld said ideas for him start small and he usually has to work to make them big. “To me, an idea is more like a mosquito bite,” Lichtenheld said. “It pricks you and you see if you can develop it.”

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