Cartoonist Peter Gallagher reinvents the classic.
Continuing the legacy of Heathcliff, cartoonist Peter Gallagher and the illustration of a witty orange cat has been admired by countless readers since its creation in 1973. Inherited by his uncles, George Gately and John Gallagher, Peter Gallagher has taken up the dual role of writer and illustrator. After nearly 18 years of developing and creating different humorous scenarios and characters of the family friendly feline, Heathcliff and its section titled “Kitty Korner,” quickly brought families and readers of all ages together by genuine humor and original storylines.
Through the years, Gallagher has taken his excitement for cartooning and added a new touch to Heathcliff’s comic strip that he continues to work on full time. “The idea is to take a strip that’s classic and breathe in life into it and make it fresh, inject my own weird sense of humor,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher’s initial drawing style was inspirited by the illustrations of MAD magazine. Individual illustrators include works from Mort Drucker and Jack Davis, whose illustrative style embodied caricatured characters that positioned their style into a realistic approach to comic illustrations. Over the years Gallagher had learned the importance of dedication and hard work that goes into the skill of perfecting various styles of cartooning. Soon he was able to modify his style for the more classic form of illustrating that Heathcliff is known for.
Through building his artistry, Gallagher said, “You never finish learning. You’re always learning and evolving.”
With an array of themed: photography, illustrations and printings, Gallagher’s drawing studio becomes the starting point to many of his ideas. The daily pressure of creating Heathcliff comic strips is the thrill Gallagher seeks. As he keeps his methods of hand drawing ideas and inking in the final draft, the conventional approach of pen and paper is what then leads him into the end result of the comic strip. On a weekly basis he creates a sequence of single drawings and multiple panel comic strips for Heathcliff. One multiple panel strip can take up to a full day’s work for Gallagher.
As a Montclair State University alumnus Gallagher once again finds himself on campus, but on the opposite side of the desk. Taking this new approach to illustrating he expands his involvement with the university and is now, also, an art professor. “Students are inspiring; I really love teaching,” said Gallagher. Though he never expected to become a college professor, he has found a new profound appreciation for the classroom.
“Always believe in yourself. It’s easy to get discouraged but don’t be afraid and get out there,” said Gallagher. “One big piece of advice I learned is, whatever you’re doing be interested in what you draw. Like what you do. Your work will look better if you’re interested in it.”
Want to be apart of Heathcliff’s growing fan base of? You can find Heathcliff comic strips in the Start Ledger, Gocomics.com and Creaters.com. You can also stay up to date on the latest news on Gallagher’s upcoming Heathcliff website and related projects by visiting facebook.com/Heathcliff or Instgram.com/Heathcliffcomix.