Happy Birthday Thomas Nast!

Thomas Nast’s (1840-1902) talent for telling news without words centered around his pen. When he did add words, they were witty, to the point, and striking. Once his career as an illustrator began at in the late 1850s, he lived and drew on a constant deadline, first for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper when he was a teenager and then for Harper’s Weekly for the majority of his career.

Recognized by presidents and friend to Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain, Nast used the power of his pen to persuade, capture, question, and applaud. All of this attention and power began with his love of drawing, which started as a child. Throughout his career as an artist, he included himself in many illustrations and paintings in what we would today refer to as a selfie! Tomorrow, September 26th, Thomas Nast’s 180th birthday, take some time to look at what he could do with a pen by drawing a line!


  • Listen to Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman being read aloud.
  • Try drawing your own selfie with this technique.
  • Want a more abstract image of who you are? Learn step by step from designer Giorgia Lupi how you can draw your selfie by using your personal data

Topic: Thomas Nast
Age / Level: Primary, Elementary

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