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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Brown Bags and Books features local cartoonist Lowell Patterson

  • Eighty-one year old cartoonist Lowell Patterson is old enough to remember “Pogo,” an American political satire cartoon strip popular from 1948 to 1973.
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  • Cartoonist Lowell Patterson speaks
    Brown Bags and Books features local cartoonist
    By Tom Kane
    tkane@dailyregister.com
    HARRISBURG
    Eighty-one year old cartoonist Lowell Patterson is old enough to remember “Pogo,” an American political satire cartoon strip popular from 1948 to 1973.
    Unlike Pogo’s creator Walt Kelly, Patterson came to be a cartoonist late in life with absolutely no formal training.
    He first started cartooning while working for the Forest Service in 1968. He was tasked with communicating the service’s fire control programs and found that more people read his comic strip on the subject than the press releases he labored over and delivered to local media. So, after retirement from the Forest Service he came to Harrisburg in 1974. He started publishing a comic strip in Harrisburg in March of 1989. He has been evolving his comic strips ever since and currently publishes only in “The Daily Register.” At his peak of sales he was carried by 25 mid-west papers from Wisconsin to Tennessee.
    He publishes “Briny Valley” — a play on our local salt connection — “Potomac Circus,” “Mort and Mert” and “Billy Bob and Mo.” These single panel cartoons appear as the spirit moves him. The recent news fuels his inspiration and choice of characters.
    “I used to be funny, now I am just cynical,” he said.
    In the early days it a pen and ink medium. Now it is computerized.
    “People ask where I get my ideas. I say they are all around us. Once I saw a woman throw a dirty diaper out the window of a luxury car at Walmart. That was the birth of the ‘Golden Skunk Award’ in my cartoons,” Patterson said.
    Patterson appreciates his local outlet.
    “I am really grateful to the Daily Register for being so kind to me. Once, a competing paper in Eldorado tried to steal me away and I turned them down,” he said.
    Patterson said that getting the dialogue just right with his countrified characters is a challenge, but that Daily Register editor Brian DeNeal keeps him out of trouble. He likes his hillbilly characters who still produce alcohol illegally and burn it in their cars and trucks but use it for other things.
    “Their dialogue is really tough to do,” he said.
    Patterson has a group of age appropriate friends who meet at Hardee’s each morning at 7:30 a.m. They all ride there on motorcycles. Some like Harley Davidson, but there is a real mix of brand names among them, he said.
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