"What could be nicer? I draw funny pictures and people send me money."
March 20, 2015 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Roy Doty, awesome illustrator, particularly known for drawing the popular, 50-year-running Wordless Workshop instructional comic strip for Popular Science, Family Handyman and syndication, the puzzle page for Make, and also the covers and illustrations for popular Judy Blume books Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge and Otherwise Known As Shelia The Great, among many other things, has died at 92. This episode of the Danny Dee Show (YouTube 27m) shows off his drawing and narration skills. Here's some illustrations from his website. Here's a sample panel of Wordless Workshop.

This Flickr album shows off some of his work.
He illustrated this map and cross-section of New York.
Here's one of his Eureka! strips from Make. (It's supposed to have an archive on the site but I couldn't find it.) This erratum reprints another one.
Here's a Leap Day card he drew for BoingBoing.
Every year he drew a new Christmas card to send to friends. Here's an interview with him and an archive of his cards.
Three Wordless Workshop strips are viewable on Flickr here. Amazon has the print collection.
He had a show on the DuMont Network in the 1950s, but no episodes survive.
posted by JHarris (19 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Rash at 3:21 PM on March 20, 2015

posted by Smart Dalek at 3:23 PM on March 20, 2015

Aww, man.

If you magnify this . then you will discover a picture of a bunch of cheery-looking people doing something immensely technical.
posted by egypturnash at 3:26 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I looked forward to Wordless Workshop every month. I remember once I built one of his gadgets, a remote wasp sprayer. You duct taped the pesticide can on the end of a broomstick, then taped a metal hinge over that, so one side of the hinge laid on top of the spray nozzle. Then you tied a string to the end of the hinge, and pulled on it to spray. Worked like a charm. I still had to run like hell, but at least I had a couple of steps head start.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:29 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, I love his style. Reminds me a bit of Richard Scarry. The same eye for detail, the same fidelity to the real world - but not at the expense of feel.
posted by misterbee at 3:32 PM on March 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

posted by dlugoczaj at 3:44 PM on March 20, 2015

What misterbee said. He illustrated one of the defining books of my childhood, "Girls Can Be Anything."

posted by Melismata at 4:08 PM on March 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

charlie don't surf: “I looked forward to Wordless Workshop every month.”
Me too. It was often the best part of The Family Handyman.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:10 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Girls Can Be Anything was one of my favorites, too. Such a cheerful style. Seemed like he illustrated half of my books as a kid, though it couldn't have been anything like that many. He was memorable.

posted by asperity at 4:12 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by radwolf76 at 4:59 PM on March 20, 2015

posted by Annabelle74 at 5:26 PM on March 20, 2015

Some other comics veterans have been passing away lately (as noted by the number of obits in Mark Evanier's blog)
Irwin Hasen,
Fred Fredericks,
Lou Silverstone,
the youngest of whom was 85 and the rest in their 90s. These are all men who influenced our culture in ways most of us don't realize. (Anybody besides me remember "Dondi"?)

posted by oneswellfoop at 5:39 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 5:41 PM on March 20, 2015

I encountered Wordless Workshop in a relative's Popular Science magazines while I was growing up. I was particularly impressed, even as a kid, by the skill by which the construction was made evident. The guy was an amazing draftsman, but better yet, could show how something was constructed in a small number of brilliantly clear drawings. I don't think anyone has done it better.

Just about the only knowledge I have about Dondi, coincidentally enough foop, is an obscure MST3K joke.
posted by JHarris at 5:43 PM on March 20, 2015

posted by brujita at 6:09 PM on March 20, 2015

I used to read Dondi in the New York Daily News, which was the best comics daily of the Big Three--Times, (liberal) NY Post, News--of my childhood.

The Daily News was the most Runyonesque of the three, by far. It carried strips and features that would be unrecognizable and alien today. Smokey Stover? Ching Chow? And next to Brenda Starr or Gasoline Alley, the little war orphan from Italy. I read hundreds of his strips, and all I can remember is he had a little dog.

At any rate, I've heard Roy Doty's name for literal decades, though I couldn't think of what his art looked like until refreshing my memory here. Great stuff.


posted by the sobsister at 8:49 PM on March 20, 2015

Aw. 92 ain't a bad run, though. Sleep sweet, Ray.

posted by MissySedai at 10:32 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:12 AM on March 21, 2015

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:38 AM on March 22, 2015

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