Newspaper artist Will B. Johnstone was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Both an artist and athlete, Johnstone studied at the Chicago Art Institute and upon his graduation, he became an artist with the Chicago Interocean. He illustrated the daily news events, and Johnstone was the first person to diagram football games showing every play for eacht team. He eventually moved to New York City, where he began doing illustrations for the Hearst Newspaper. Later on, he moved to The World, which was later renamed to The New York World-Telegram. He did a comic strip based on the news of the day and over the years he developed the famous character of an impoverished taxpayer wearing a barrel.
He did a comic strip based on the news of the day and over the years he developed the famous character of an impoverished taxpayer wearing a barrel (see The Will B. Johnstone Virtual Gallery).
"I used to see the original hanging in my grandparents house", Meg Farrell writes.
7 February 1944, New York Times, pg. 15:
WILL B> JOHNSTONE,
World-Telegram Staff Artist
Created Taxpayer in Barrel
-- Dies in Florida
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6 (AP) -- Will B. Johnstone, cartoonist for The New York World-Telegram, died here tonight. Members of his family were at his bedside.
He entered a hospital for a rest and check-up, and his condition became serious last week, it was reported.
Will B. Johnstone is best known to New Yorkers for his humorous cartoon strip on the first page of the second section of The World-Telegram. It was apt to be inspired by a quotation from a current news story, and the final picture displayed one of the artist's pet creations, the unfortunate taxpayer, a scrawny little chap clad in a barrel held up by suspenders.
8 February 1944, New York Times, pg. 14:
AN AMIABLE CARTOONIST
Reading the evening papers will not be quite what it was, now that Cartoonist Will B. Johnstone is gone. It was the fond habit of thousands of us, on our homeward way at the close of the workday, to look for his cartoon strip in The World-Telegram, and, before that, in the old Evening World. His plucked and pathetic little taxpayer, reduced to a barrel for clothing, seemed somehow to symbolize us all. We, too, had our trials. Johnstone helped us to bear them.