Gerald L. Holmes, 1940-2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019 | By John R. Erickson

Jre and gerald copy


I join the Maverick Books family in mourning the loss of our dear friend Gerald Holmes, the artist who drew the illustrations for 74 Hank the Cowdog books and put faces on Hank, Drover, Sally May, Slim and all the other characters. 


Gerald began illustrating my magazine articles in 1978 when he worked in a feedlot and I was working on a ranch. We had no money but had talent, energy, and big dreams, and we set out to do things that hadn’t been done before. 


We worked together for 41 years. I didn’t tell him what to draw and he didn’t tell me what to write. We never quarreled and he never missed a deadline.


Gerald took his art into homes and schools and hospitals, to cow camps and deer blinds and drilling rigs. He did with art what I hoped to do with the written word: deliver the blessing of innocent laughter. 


And he did it so well! He illuminated the imaginations of millions of children and there is no way to calculate how many of them drew their first picture, imitating Gerald’s Hank or Drover.


We mourn the loss of this gentle, humble man and celebrate the joy he brought into the world. Our prayers go out to his wife Carol and sons, Heath and Chris. 


John and Kris Erickson & Family
Gary and Kim Rinker & Family
Nikki Earley
Janee McCartor


P.S. In case you haven't seen him at work, we hope you enjoy this video from a few years ago showing Gerald draw Hank:




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