Celebrating the Life of Iconic Outdoors Illustrator Cliff Shelby

23 Jan

Cliff Shelby’s self-portrait

Cliff Shelby (Earl Clifton Shelby, II) left this party we call life, January 21, 2017. He was 75 1/2 years old, born June 7, 1941 – six months to the day when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. But he wasn’t there when it happened. 

The light and air on this planet will forever feel different without him. Loved and admired by many, his cartoons, paintings, artwork, stories and antics will forever live on. He will be missed my many.

Cliff always looked at the world differently, especially the outdoors. Some folks might even say from the bottom up…Sometimes it was from the bottom of a cold river with his waders full of water, or from a creek bottom in his overturned canoe. Other times while doing a “one-legger” down to the deep bottom of a moose track in a swampy lake in Canada. He saw things with a humorous flair and drew cartoons about outdoor people and things.

A longtime resident of Flippin Arkansas, Cliff spent his professional life working in advertising and public relations. Following a tour of duty in the US Air Force Strategic Air Command, he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later received a BS degree from Louisiana Tech University in illustration and advertising design with a marketing minor.

He was well known for his “Harry ‘N’ Charlie” cartoons in BASSMASTER magazine (1971 to 2010.) As a writer, photographer and illustrator,  he handled award winning advertising and product photography as well as outdoor press relations for both Bagley Bait Company and Ranger Boat Company.

He was a past president of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA), and Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), a Cornerstone Corporate Member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and Corporate Member of Western Outdoor Writers (WOW). He was also Charter Chairman of the Board for the Outdoor Journalist Education Foundation of America (OJEFA).

Cliff Shelby accepts an Excellence in Craft Award for a magazine article at the 2006 SEOPA conference.

Cliff and his computer graphic designer wife, Karen, have worked from their home office since 2000 and recently moved to Maumelle, Arkansas.

He leaves behind, his wife Karen, daughter, Shea (Shelby) Smalling (husband Alex, sons, Tanner, Grayson and Reed), son Blake Shelby (wife Olivia, daughters Sydney and Cassidy), a loving extended family, many friends and coworkers in the outdoor industry and his devoted pets.

A casual drop-in gathering will be held at his home in Maumelle. Saturday, January 28 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., caregivers, friends and relatives are invited.