Dill Beaty didn't know what he wanted to do when he graduated high school in the late 1950s. But he did know that that he loved to draw.
"I've liked to draw from early in my childhood," he said. "I didn't know what I wanted to do after graduation, so I decided to go to art school."
Beaty enrolled in the Harris School of Advertising Art in Nashville, Tenn., where he studied children's book illustration.
It wasn't until he moved to Destin in 2002 that Beaty considered political cartoons. Although he had never tried it before, he told The Log he was confident he could do it.
Diving into an unfamiliar art form, Beaty has honed his own style of art, humor and commentary. He takes inspiration from political cartoonists such as Mike Luckovick, from "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" and Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey, from "Seattle Post Intelligencer." Heís earned his own accolades, most recently for a 2012 cartoon that won third place in a statewide contest sponsored by the Florida Press Association.
"I've learned you have to be really be on top of the news, especially if it's a local paper," he said of his years with The Log. "I've been lucky that under two editors [at The Log] I've had almost complete autonomy. I've only had maybe three ideas rejected."
There's always a fine line that political cartoonists and writers straddle. Beaty says cartoonists have to be responsible not to cross that line.
"You have to set a certain bar for yourself as far as sensitivity and being aware of other people's beliefs," he said.
With more than a decade of drawings under his belt, Beaty is currently working on a cartoon for the local time capsule, which will mark the state of Floridaís 500th birthday.
He has shown his work at the Destin Library in an exhibit he titled "A year in Destin through the eyes of a Cartoonist." And now, thanks to a suggestion from the Reference and Youth Librarian Will Rogers, Beaty will hold a cartooning workshop at the local library Wednesday, July 31.
The workshop is open to individuals 15 years or older and limited to 12 available spots. Beaty said he will work with the group on a cartoon that depicts a local issue. A discussion on techniques as well as a question and answer period will also be conducted by the cartoonist.
"I hope people get a better understanding of how an idea develops on to the printed page," he said.
Anybody who has an interest in the cartooning is encouraged to sign up. No artistic skills or previous experience are required.
"The workshop is for anybody that has an interest in political cartoons," he said. "You don't have to know how to draw ó you can conceptualize. A lot of political cartoonists are not very good at drawing, but very clever."
On Wednesday, July 31st (1:00 Ė 3:00 PM) the Destin Library will sponsor a free workshop on political cartooning with local artist and political cartoonist for the Destin Log, Dill Beaty. The workshop is open to local residentís ages 15 years and older who have artistic abilities or interests and an awareness of local politics. Dill Beatyís workshop will include the examination, practice and experimentation of cartooning techniques coupled with a critical look at local life, events and activities.
The workshop outcome will be a participant created political cartoon that reflects life along the Emerald Coast. In 2002, Dill Beaty became the cartoonist for the Destin Log delighting residents and visitors with his accurate yet humorous depiction of life along the Emerald Coast.
This free workshop is limited to 12 participants. Register with the Destin Library at 850‚Äź837‚Äź8572 by July 29th.
Students participating in this workshop will earn community service hours that meet high school graduation requirements.