November 10, 2011

TRIBUTE: Bil Keane

Sadly, I learned the news that Family Circus creator Bil Keane passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Reading The Family Circus comic strip in the newspaper was a Sunday highlight growing up.

I keep an interesting book in my office called The Artist Within which features more than 200 artists photographed in their studios along with a small description and drawing. Below is the spread dedicated to Bil Keane.

Years before I ever realized that Bil Keane was the father of Disney animator Glen Keane, I had written to Bil Keane at the urging of a friend and mentor who had various cartoonist contacts. I don’t recall what my letter said but I did receive an answer and a nice little sketch.

Earlier this year, I discovered the art and blog of Claire Keane (Glen’s daughter and Bil’s granddaughter) and was lucky enough to work with Claire on a project.

While Bil’s legacy will live on through his Family Circus work, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to his life and work by sharing the other legacy he leaves behind in the talented family he has inspired as a father and grandfather and artist.

Below is the work of three generations of Keanes.

The Family Circus’ Billy greets me in a Bil Keane sketch.

Glen Keane’s drawing in my copy of The Art of Tangled.

Claire Keane’s cover art for Anne of Green Gables.