One of the exercises he would have us do every week was draw horses. The following are a few examples I kept (circa 1987). Jose’s corrections are in pen over my pencils.
Jose Delbo was a great teacher because he wouldn’t let an inferior drawing slide. When you got a compliment or a good grade from him you knew it was well deserved.
I got the chance to catch up with Jose Delbo at SpringCon 2012 in Minneapolis and I had him sign the drawings shown above. I showed him some of my more recent work and he made a point of telling me I was really doing some good work – so good in fact that he would pass on a script he had just received.
A cowboy strip – lots of horses…
A quick remembrance of a cartooning class taught by Jose.
A student was getting critiqued – during the critique Jose stated that the student needed to spend more time on his work. The student responded that he had already worked on the page for two weeks. Jose replied, “How much of that time was actually pen to paper.”
I never forgot that insight. It doesn’t matter how much time you have to work on something if you’re not putting print pen to paper.
For the Kubert School panel, Joe Kubert alum (and current President of the Kubert School) Anthony Marques moderated, as Joe sketched and answered questions. Here’s just a few highlights featuring Joe’s comments…
The following video is Joe sketching Nite Owl from the Before Watchmen series. The image was projected sideways on a large screen – my video is rotated to one side so the drawing can be seen correctly. While Joe sketched Anthony was fielding questions.
What amazed me during Joe’s drawing demo was that every time Joe was asked a question instead of Anthony (and this is not seen on the video) Joe was so focused on the drawing that Anthony had to repeat the question numerous times just to get Joe’s attention – repeatedly – EVERY time.
Joe finally apologized repeating what he had said moments before – that when he’s drawing, that’s where he’s focused, so he’s not listening to the conversation going on around him.
THAT’S how focused Joe was while drawing – it was remarkable and inspiring to watch…
After the drawing demo Joe stayed for a short time to meet and greet fans. I went up to say hi and the guy standing in line in front of me told Joe he was a huge fan, then asked for Joe to sign his arm so he could then get the signature tattooed.
Joe immediately protested, “Why would you do that? I can’t…” The fan persisted and Joe kept protesting until the guy’s friend explained it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, that his friend really was that big a fan.
Joe finally acquiesced.
This last little clip is of Joe signing the fan’s arm.
My time with Joe was relatively brief. It had been years since I had seen him last, but he recognized who I was after I mentioned the Flash Gordon page we had worked on. A smile lit his face and his strong handshake followed. He asked me what I had been up to and I told him about my freelance and teaching.
I then told him, “I just wanted to thank you for my career.” That warm smile again and the handshake.
And that was the last time I saw Joe Kubert.
There’s more to say, much more, but I’m going to leave it at that. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends – he’ll be sorely missed.
Joe Kubert Obits and Remembrances From Around the Web: