Valley Reporter cartoonist Keith Davidson
By Sarah Blow, Contributing Writer
Longtime Valley Reporter cartoonist Keith Davidson developed an interest in art at a young age. He is encouraged by his father who teaches him to draw and provides him with cameras for his other passion, cinema.
As a child, Davidson always knew he wanted to be a cartoonist and was convinced by the idea after an exchange of letters with his childhood idol, Charles M. Schulz, the cartoonist and creator of “Peanuts”.
“I wrote Charles M. Schulz and said, ‘My fool brother says there’s a character named Peanuts in your cartoon and I told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. was talking. Please straighten it out,” he said.
Months later, one day in December 1967, 10-year-old Keith Davidson received a hand-signed letter from his comic book idol, Charles M. Schulz.
The letter thanked him for taking the time to write and assured him that he was right; there is no character named Peanuts in the iconic cartoon.
“I was in a state of dreamy bliss. I couldn’t believe my idol actually wrote to me,” he said.
The Mount Tabor, New Jersey native continued to pursue his artistic passions as he got older and spent a year at Syracuse University studying fine art, occasionally drawing his professors’ caricature during class.
Davidson started working at The Valley Reporter in 1992, after seeing an ad in the newspaper looking for a graphic designer. He started drawing comics and working on commercials along with a plethora of other tasks, including the weekly Chinese food run on Wednesdays.
His first comic strip featured in the newspaper was of Elvis Presley who was rumored to still be alive at the time despite his death in 1977.
“There was something about the fact that Elvis was still alive. The first cartoon I did was Elvis slipping something into his tax returns. It was Elvis Presley incognito,” he said. declared.
Although no longer a salaried worker, the Moretown resident continues to supply the Valley Reporter with his weekly cartoon and has no plans to stop.
“I hope I can do this forever,” he said.
The draftsman is also an art painter and works on personal projects in his spare time. As for the future, Davidson hopes to release a book soon with his 30-year accumulation of comics, a project that’s been a long time coming.
“It’s about 10 or five years of preparation,” he said.
Davidson promised his father, his first art teacher and total inspiration, that he would publish a book of his comics. Although his father died last year at 96, he intends to keep that promise.
Sarah blow is a student at UVM’s Community News Service, which matches student writers with local newspapers.