Garry Trudeau talks poster art

SARANAC LAKE — This year’s Winter Carnival poster came together a little differently, with a helpful designer and a near mistake with a bear, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau said.

Trudeau grew up in Saranac Lake as the great-grandson of tuberculosis pioneer and village founder Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau. He now lives in New York City but has designed a button for Winter Carnival buttons every year since 1981. He’s added a related poster each year since 2012.

In this year’s poster, Zonker, a main character of the Doonesbury comic strip, explores the wilderness from a canoe, a ranger’s hat on his head and binoculars in hand. Silhouettes of a bear, moose, hare, skunk and a flock of birds surround him. Snow-capped mountains and white pine trees rise in the background.

This year’s button was released late this morning.

Here are some questions the Enterprise posed to Trudeau by email, and his answers:

Garry Trudeau is seen visiting Saranac Lake in July 2012. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: How was this year’s “Adirondack Wildlife” theme to illustrate, compared to others?

Garry Trudeau: Much easier. My regular coloring assistant, George Corsillo, took the lead this year, and presented me with a fully realized design. I was delighted. As I always tell everyone I collaborate with, the only ideas I like better than my own are better ideas. My contribution this year was little more than some sketching and tweaking.

ADE: Did you have anything in mind as a jumping-off point? National parks posters, for example?

GT: Yes. We wanted it to have a retro, WPA vibe. George and I both love the vivid, silk-screened posters of that era.

ADE: Any detail you’re especially fond of in this one?

GT: Yes, the goof that I caught in time. In George’s original sketch, he’d depicted a grizzly bear, whose range does NOT include the Adirondacks! Fortunately I recognized the profile, and we swapped it out with that of a black bear.

ADE: How will the button art differ from the poster?

GT: Unlike past buttons, the art is not a direct lift from the poster. It needed to be simplified, so it’s a mashup of a few key elements.