The Marvels of Cartooning

Comics artist emboldens Badger talent.

Jeff Butler looks over students' drawing in a classroom

Andy Manis

Just like the superheroes he creates, artist Jeff Butler x’18 provided powerful inspiration when he led a workshop on drawing cartoon characters in July at One Alumni Place.

Butler, whose past jobs included illustrating the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, leads courses in the graphic design and illustration program at Madison College. He’s also returned to campus to complete his degree 36 years after leaving to pursue his career.

Butler began the Wisconsin Alumni Association event by detailing how he turned a childhood obsession with comic books into a career. Participants then tried exercises such as drawing the Statue of Liberty with their eyes closed. As the class concentrated on simple strategies to draw figures and other lessons, the room grew quiet, punctuated only by Butler’s delighted laughter and comments of “Wow,” and “Awesome!” as he examined their work.

“It was wonderful to see Badgers of all ages who came out to learn more about Jeff’s story and share in his talents,” says McKenzie Glynn-Zdrale ’00, the Alumni Park and Place program director. “It was a fun night for everyone.”

Len Mormino ’91 attended the workshop with his daughter Sophia, an aspiring artist of 13. Mormino had planned to spend the time working on his laptop, but he was drawn into participating. “I was glad I did it,” he says, adding that he enjoyed watching Sophia find the inspiration and confidence she needed through the workshop. Her takeaway message, he says, was, “Stick with your art, and you can grow it into unpredictably great things.”

One Alumni Place is the visitor center for the new Alumni Park. See for more information and a schedule of events.

Published in the Fall 2018 issue


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