Classic Cartoons

Martin Plimmer on George Booth
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The Independent Culture
THE FELICITOUS combination of form and funny that makes for a good cartoon is not easily come by. Drawing skill is hard to acquire; sense of humour easy to lose. Then there is the vital enchantment factor, a slippery fish (if it is a fish, which it isn't). Cartoonists can spend days wrestling an idea down to its apparently effortless essence.

Few achieve an expressive formula good enough to get them past the New Yorker's six-foot submissions pile. It took George Booth more than 40 years, the same time span it took him to develop his loosely buttoned style and stop drawing jokes he thought the New Yorker wanted and stick to ones that made him laugh (usually involving itchy, gormless dogs).

An auction of cartoonists' originals in aid of the Cartoon Arts Trust, is at Bonhams, London, 20 May, 6pm