Cliff Roberts

Cliff Roberts, ca. 1950s

Cliff Roberts strip SSmag June73

SESAME STREET Magazine June 1973.

Cliff Roberts (1929 - 1999) was a cartoonist & animator who worked on inserts for SESAME STREET as well as the spin-off comic strip & SESAME STREET Magazine. Roberts spent much of his early career in New York City as a freelance commercial artist & director. He also worked as a photographer, with work displayed at the 1964 Worlds Fair, & contributed cartoons to Playboy & The New Yorker. He soon became a popular designer for animation, creating character model sheets for Terrytoons & UPA projects. Roberts' style, reflecting his commercial illustration background, involved flat but appealing forms & a minimal color palette; most of his characters were white blobs with occasional splashes of color.

For SESAME STREET, Roberts created Jasper & Julius, 2 characters who would engage in debates over body parts, as well as Christopher Clumsy. These characters were brought over to Roberts' official SESAME STREET strip, alongside BIG BIRD, OSCAR THE GROUCH & Cookie Monster.

Roberts later worked on the Saturday morning cartoons The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo & The Pink Panther, & illustrated the Langston Hughes book The First Book of Jazz. He retired in 1993.


See also: Poverty Pictures segments

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