I’ve just learned that Berkeley Breathed has retired as a cartoonist (after 30 years in the field) and will be concentrating his career on illustrating children’s books.
There’s a good article on washingtonpost.com with more detailed info about Berkeley’s retirement and career past as cartoonist for “Bloom County” which turned into “Outland” and finally “Opus.”
My dad and I shared a love for Opus & Bill cartoons, as you’ll notice from my small gallery of Opus & Bill sketches. While my dad was working for Wells Fargo on the armored truck, I sketched out a few cartoons for him as gifts per request. It was perhaps my first practice at drawing licensed characters (while in high school).
When I joined the Ornament Team at American Greetings in 1997, I was thrilled to find Opus & Bill on the spreadsheet and jumped at the chance to design ornaments for Berkeley’s beloved characters. It was thrilling for me to see some of Berkeley’s own sketches come through as I collaborated with him (long-distance through Jeffrey Conrad) to develop the ornament designs. I also made it a point to make sure every year he was given his own sample of the finished product for his collection. Working with Berkeley will always be remembered as a special perk!
As Berkeley gives focus to his own pursuits as a book illustrator, I begin my own journey into my dream field of book illustration as well. I’ve been given the ol’ divine kick in the pants into the realm of “Freelancer.”
Hey, Berkeley! Need a second pair of hands?