Jack Hamm was a talented graphic illustrator from years gone by. His work
has appeared in Christian and secular, magazines and newspapers across the
Jack Hamm was
born in 1916 in Wichita, Kan., and was drawing by age 5. At a revival
meeting in his youth in Elkhart, Kan., he felt the calling to the ministry.
But for 20 years, he wavered between the pulpit and the drawing board.
high school, he attended the Moody
Bible Institute in
Chicago but had to drop out twice for financial reasons. He turned to
professional cartooning, illustrating such strips as
Bunny and Alley Oop, to help pay the bills.
When the art director for a newspaper syndicate in
Cleveland offered him a job writing and illustrating his own detective strip
in the late 1930s, Hamm was torn between his dream of having his own strip
and his sacred calling to the ministry. After a prayer walk along Lake Erie
and consulting with his bride of only a few months, Dorisnel, he resigned
from the funny papers to come to Baylor to study theology.
It took Hamm 13 years to get his degree because of
interruptions for military service and other factors. He taught cartooning
and caricature during the 1942 winter semester. He drew for the Baylor
Round-Up yearbook from 1945 through 1948. After graduation in 1948, he
art classes at Baylor and
later served as the art departments interim chairman.
The minister-in-training was known for giving chalk
talks, or illustrated sermons, at Waco area churches throughout the 1940s
and �50s. Hamm realized that combining preaching with illustrating was his
Expanding his reach
In the 1960s, he and his wife founded the syndicate
Religious Drawings Inc. in Dallas to
distribute his inspirational artwork to newspapers around the globe. At one
point, his cartoons reached a congregation of 29 million readers a week.
He also founded The Jack Hamm Show, one of the
first TV art programs, which aired in the Dallas, Houston and Waco markets.
Hamm also was an editorial
cartoonist for the
periodical The Baptist
Standard, and was instructor and artist-in-residence at Dallas Baptist
The cartoonist wrote and illustrated more than 25
books, some of which are still in print today. Some of his instructional art
books, such as Drawing
the Head and Figure, Cartooning the
Head and Figure, Drawing Scenery and How
to Draw Animals, are
considered to be classics in the field.
Hamm died in 1996 at age 80.
Several years ago I contacted Mr. Hamm and asked for copies of his work. He
sent hundreds of Christian graphics for my use.
After seeing the quality of the biblical messages included in these
graphics, I asked Mr. Hamm if I could scan the graphics and make them
available online. Mr. Hamm gave permission and stated his desire that these
graphics be used free of charge to all who would use them to further the
gospel. I have placed examples on this page. Files are listed below for you to