Charles Schulz & ET!


Here we feature  in our ‘Famous People’, the late Charles Schulz, creator of Charlie Brown. Schulz had Essential Tremor. The characteristic wavy lines associated with ET can be seen in his later drawings as in the one above.

Charles M. Schulz – Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia, in the 1980s, Schulz complained that “sometimes my hand shakes so much I have to hold my wrist to draw.” This led to the erroneous assumption that Schulz had Parkinson’s Disease.  However, according to a letter from his physician, placed in the Archives of the  Charles M. Schulz Museum by his widow, Schulz had essential tremor, a condition alleviated by beta blockers. Despite this, Schulz insisted on writing and drawing the strip by himself.

The Guardian newspaper also wrote an article on Schultz  and the Peanuts movie. It also mentions his Essential Tremor. click here

From the Guardian:

One of the many odd things about Peanuts is that you can’t separate that distinctive line from physical and existential pain. Schulz lived with a condition called “essential tremor”, which caused his hand to shake whenever he tried to hold it still; it’s probably one of the most recognisable characteristics of his style. There’s a slight waviness to his drawings that becomes distinctive and then overtakes his work as the condition grows worse and the artist’s mastery of his craft becomes more complete.

Charlie Brown: existential pain.
Charlie Brown: existential pain. Photograph: AP

By the late 1980s, Schulz had incorporated his affliction as fully as possible into his linework, and you can often see drawings in which the tremor is barely evident, when a quick line perfected by decades of practice (Charlie Brown’s head, for example) is executed in a single flawless stroke, while other, finickier details (the shading on Lucy’s hair, Snoopy’s constantly evolving nose) wobble like a footfall on a seismograph. He got the effects with a single nib, a Radio 914; when Esterbrook discontinued the 914, Schulz bought its entire unsold stock so he’d be sure he had the tools he needed for the job.

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