Two Bulls is a very well spoken Lakota man who is becoming well
known and very respected for expressing himself, not with his words,
but with his hands. He is the cartoonist who creates the popular
weekly editorial cartoons in the Indian Country Today newspaper.
lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he earns his living as
Graphics Editor for the Argus Leader newspaper, but he has been
drawing the one panel political cartoon in Indian Contry for the
past two years. In those years as a cartoonist, he has covered most
of the happenings in Indian country from a Native American perspective
and gained a large following of fans, especially among Native Americans.
Bulls says he has been drawing all of his life. As he was growing
up he had two uncles who were professional artists. One worked in
the fine arts field and the other one was a commercial artist. The
commercial artist made a good dependable living and that influenced
Marty to select that direction for his art. He attended Colorado
Institute of Art in Denver, Colorado, and then began working at
Duhamel Broadcasting Corporation as assistant to the art director.
At that time he learned to shoot commercials for television and
produced all their print advertisement. A year later he took a job
as a graphic designer with Timberline Corporation doing illustrations
and pre-press work.
1989, he moved into the newspaper area in a job with Lakota Times,
a weekly Native American news publication that eventually evolved
into the popular Indian Country Today newspaper. From there, he
worked for the State of South Dakota as a graphic designer before
becoming the graphics editor for the Rapid City Journal in 1993.
He was there for seven years.
Bulls began cartooning professionally in 1989 when he created a
strip about his daughter. The strip was called "Deez,"
and the rest is history. About the same time, he also created the
one panel cartoon he called "Ptebloka," which means "bull"
in Lakota. He moved from there to producing professional editorial
cartoons. He says he likes cartooning because he enjoys drawing
them and making people laugh.
create the weekly editorial cartoons in Indian Country Today, he
says the editor tells him what he will be writing about and Marty
either comes up with a cartoon that goes with that subject or sometimes
they collaborate on an idea for a graphic and a caption for it.
But most of the time Marty has full choice of the cartoons
content. Indian people who follow the ICT newspaper are very conscience
that Marty knows Indians well and that is what keeps his material
fresh and current.
says he reads a lot of newspapers, magazines and Indian periodicals
in order to research topics and subjects for his cartoons and graphics
art work. He is surprised how much he uses geometry in his line
of work. Although the final product of the cartoon is graphic, he
finds to be a cartoonist and graphic artist he must use a lot of
the tools he learned in school. Tools like reading for research
and keeping current on what is happening in the news; math for creating
graphs, spread sheets and translating complicated information into
an easy to understand visual form; and history and geography are
important in putting information into context of the past, present,
speaking about what it takes to be a good cartoonist, Marty says
one must practice drawing all the time. He advises to watch others
and be able to draw many kinds of faces, all kinds of bodies and
many kinds of body languages.
says the best part of drawing cartoons is being around people, watching
and interacting, and being able to see the funny side of almost
everything. For him, the down side would be the constant deadlines,
whether daily or weekly. He also says that cartooning is a small
business and you have to always be aware of the profit and loss
aspect of that business in order to be successful.
asked the names of cartoonists who influenced his work, Marty gives
the names of John Severin and Wallace Wood, who both worked in comic
books early on. As to other Natives active in cartooning, Two Bull
mentioned Native cartoonist Jon Proudstar who is currently drawing
and writing on his own comic book called "Tribal Force,"
a second edition about Native American superheros. Another is "Koda
the Warrior" produced by Mark Mindt, a Spirit Lake Sioux tribal
has been married 20 years and has three children, ages 15, 17, and
19. He and his family participate in many traditional Lakota ceremonies
he has limited time for art other than cartooning right now, he
does produce a few pieces, as time allows, including sculptures
and some paintings in both acrylic and watercolor.
piece of exciting news from Marty is the web site he has been creating
and plans to post on the internet in the near future. He is now
waiting to obtain a domain name before he launches the site. Interested
fans can search the web occasionally under "Marty Two Bulls"
to find the site as soon as it is initiated.
in the future, Marty would like to pursue collecting some of the
Lakota stories from tribal elders to be passed on to Indian children
of the future.
the meantime, we hope he will continue using his hands to help us
look at Indian country life with insightful humor. And, when the
time comes, we hope he will be prepared to add his articulate voice
to help raise up warriors for Native preservation, Native publications,
and Native pride.