This day honors all of the different assortment of creative minds and artists who all share one thing in common––the creation of fascinating pieces of art. From the creators of Charlie Brown to Garfield, one of my favorite cartoons to read while growing up was Calvin and Hobbes, a comic about the adventures of a fun-loving little boy with often philosophical ponderings and his best friend, who was a stuffed tiger. Bill Watterson is the great mind behind the series of this witty comic strip.
Watterson was born in Washington, D.C. and developed an interest in drawing from a young age; he gathered inspiration from Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts cartoons. He enrolled in Ohio’s Kenyon College in 1976 and worked for the student newspaper drawing political cartoons. He bounced from job to job, where his work was often being rejected and left employers unimpressed. This was a challenging period as he took up odd jobs, like designing advertisements for cars and products. He later concluded that this time was important because he learned that his work meant more to him than money.
In a 1990 commencement speech of his alma mater, Watterson is quoted as saying, “To endure five years of rejection to get a job requires either a faith in oneself that borders on delusion or a love of the work, and I loved the work.”
Watterson played around with different cartoon ideas, eventually coming up with an odd pair––a talking tiger and a curious little boy. Universal Press Syndicate bought the comic in 1985, launching 27-year-old Watterson to national fame. Audiences loved the comic strip and the often deep, philosophical meanderings of the pair named after theologians John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. It ran successfully for ten years before stopping in 1995.
Bill Watterson is such an inspirational creator to me as he has repeatedly gone through rejection. However, he persevered to create the nationwide comic of what is known as Calvin and Hobbes. I have loved his work for an incredibly long time, as I have been reading the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip since I was eight years old. During break times at school, I would sit in a corner and, in my own little bubble, soak up the wit, humor and sarcasm of Calvin and wish I had my own talking stuffed tiger to accompany me wherever I went. As I grew up, I understood the deep thoughts and wise words of the main characters––my all-time favorite quote is, “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take the time to enjoy where we are.”
Whether or not you’ve read Calvin and Hobbes as part of your childhood, we all can take a small moment out of our daily life and appreciate the small tokens of wisdom these comics carry.