Do you have any relatives or loved ones who are big fans of cartoons? While the cartoons you see in the paper are usually funny and great for a chuckle, they can also be really powerful and influential.
Cartooning used to be a very male-dominated field, but talented women like Barbara Shermund changed that.
Barbara was one of the first women cartoonists to contribute to The New Yorker magazine and did remarkable work that portrayed clever women.
Barbara was born in California in 1899. She came from an artistic and talented family, as her father was an architect and her mother was a sculptor. She studied painting and printmaking at the California School of Fine Arts.
When Barbara was in her early 20s, she moved to New York City, where she started taking sketch classes and making connections in the art world. Through her connections, she eventually began submitting cartoons for The New Yorker, making her one of the first women cartoonists to work for them.
Once Barbara started drawing cartoons, she was on a roll. She was best known for drawing women who were reflections of first-wave feminism. They were clever, quick-witted, and captivating. She primarily drew women in all kinds of situations and pictured them in various relationships.
The women often commented on what was happening in the world, reflecting with sarcasm and class. Barbara was also known for her smooth lines in her drawings and would often start them over if they didn’t flow smoothly.
As her work for The New Yorker started gaining more attention, she began drawing advertisements for companies like Pepsi-Cola and Frigidaire. In the early 1940s, she worked for other big magazines like Esquire, Life, and Collier’s.
Barbara got her own cartoon panel for King Features called Shermund’s Sallies, which became her main source of income as she grew older.