Cartoonist, illustrator, comic artist
Bransom Paul, american cartoonist and illustrator born in Washington, D.C., in 1885. Paul Bransom left school at 13 to work on technical drawings for the Patent Office. He enjoyed sketching at Washington’s National Zoo, and his familiarity with the natural world led to his first work in cartooning.
In 1903 Gus Dirks committed suicide, and the Hearst papers needed someone to continue his very popular feature, The Latest News from Bugville. Young Bransom was the replacement for the Sunday cartoon, and he continued the bugs-and-small-animal doings for nearly a decade. Seeking more “serious” work, Bransom set up a studio at the lion house of the Bronx Zoo on breaks from the New York Journal. His portfolio of animal art became respectable enough to impress several magazine art directors, and his career as a magazine and book illustrator was launched.
Bransom gave his cartooning influences as T.S. Sullivant and Walt Kuhn, who used to draw little bird cartoons for Life. He also admired the work of Charles Livingston Bull and followed Gus Dirks’s delightful style very closely throughout his association with Bugville. With Bull. Bransom was probably the consummate animal illustrator in the American school. He died on July 12, 1979.
Books: Kings in Exile (1909); Neighbors Unknown (1910); The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1912); Children of the Wild (1913); The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graliame (1913); The Secret Trails (1916); Over Indian and Animal Trails (1918); An Argosy of Fables (1921); Jungle Babies (1930); and Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (1932).
Reference: The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, 1981