Hall F. Duncan, Ph.D.WRITER • ILLUSTRATOR • LECTURER
Hall F. Duncan, Ph.D.
Dr. Hall F. Duncan is a retired university professor of advertising design, illustration and cartooning. One of his students gave him his pen name, “Dr. D.”.
Hall illustrated many Christian publications in Southern Africa and traveled to eleven countries to train artists for literacy and illustration work. His research on the pictorial perception habits of children in Africa has been published in South Africa, England, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.
Educated in China, Europe, South Africa and the United States after fighting in WWII, he has directed training programs in Kiev, London, Santiago, Seoul, and many other cities.
In 2008 Dr. Duncan received the Governor of Oklahoma’s Arts Award for his life time dedication to educating and entertaining children through his art. The National Education Association and Writer’s Digest have honored his published work.
His publications in the United States include fourteen illustrated books for children and retirees. Duncan’s cartoon strips, illustrations and articles have appeared in African and American magazines and newspapers.
Hall is a member of The Oklahoma City Kid Writers, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and The Emeritus Faculty Association (University of Central Oklahoma). He is a retired literacy/illustrator of The Methodist Board of Global Missions.
Hall Duncan, most commonly known as “Dr. D,” is not your typical children’s author and illustrator. In fact, no part of this author’s life could be considered typical. Not only is this native Oklahoman full of energy, but his careers boast decades of knowledge in humor, art and education.
With illustrations and stories ranging from comic strips to elephants and tires, Duncan’s work has appeared internationally, particularly in Africa where he helped train illustrators in 11 countries. With a lifetime of experience and education extending to 28 countries including China, South Africa and Europe, this author writes what he has lived. He has also conducted seminars in the Ukraine, England, Canada, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Australia and other countries.
Filled with action-packed characters, delightful pictures and significant lessons, Duncan’s books bring to life the imagination and joy of childhood. From the zany big game hunter in Zanzibar Zella’s Last Big Hunt: An African Adventure to Mervil, the screaming mouse, in The Scream Heard Around the World, Dr. D uses each of his books to incorporate a little from his life into the lives of children.
A unique part of Duncan’s style, is his dedication of each of his books to particular individuals of society who work to make it a better place. Also, his drawing technique invites the child reader to become more visually involved in the emotions depicted in his illustrations.
For instance, Zanzibar Zella’s Last Big Hunt: An African Adventure, Duncan honors “zoo keepers, park rangers and their workers in appreciation of their care and protection of wildlife.” Duncan’s interest in illustration reaches back to age six when he painted an airplane on the back of a classmate’s shirt. He and his friend’s airline company was grounded by an unenthusiastic teacher. He continued to draw through high school and college, but no longer on anyone’s shirt.
After receiving a purple heart during World War II in General George Patton’s 3rd Army, Duncan was awarded an exchange scholarship, at age 23, from Oklahoma State University to study at Lingnan University in China.
For two and a half years, the young student traveled on to universities in Dublin, Brussels and Scotland studying political science and art. He later received his master’s degree in education from the University of Indiana.
Leaving an ad agency as art director to serve the Methodist Board of Global Missions as a teacher and illustrator in the Congo and South Africa, Duncan used his cartoons and art to help Africans develop their agricultural, literacy and medical skills.
Duncan also holds a Ph.D. in education, (cross-cultural communication), from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, where his research has made him one of the few illustrators in the world to hold a doctorate in the study of pictorial perception habits of children. As a result, some of his work has been published by Cambridge University and New Readers Press in Syracuse, New York.
On returning from South Africa, Duncan taught cartooning and advertising design for seventeen years at the University of Central Oklahoma where he was named Teacher of the Year and received the Meritorious Service Award.
During this time, he collaborated with Don Heath, an African American cartoonist, on an interracial comic strip, entitled Winner Williams, published in the Oklahoma City Times. The cartoon strip was dedicated to teaching children from all ethnic backgrounds to respect and relate to one another in healthy, creative ways. As a result, Duncan and Heath were awarded the National Education Association’s Whitney M. Young Human Relations Award for their work.
In 2000, Duncan and Heath consolidated many of their interracial cartoon strips into what Duncan calls his pride and joy – The Gospel According to Winner, Larry and Friends, a 199-page paperback book providing “humor, inspiration, laughter and downright foolishness.”
After retiring in 1986, Duncan became a full time cartoonist, and humorist. He soon started writing and illustrating children’s book and began a speaking program to groups about the importance of humor in promoting health and family values.
Duncan claims he has never “retired,” but instead “redirected” his endeavors rather than “withdrawing.” He believes society suffers when people lose their motivation for learning and self discovery. “Healthy laughter is a needed resource in life,” he explained.
With this in mind, Duncan has self-published several books including Off Our Rockers, a book of cartoons and essays recommended for senior citizens who want to think young. His interest in how humor applies to people in their retirement years are a homespun collection of cartoons portraying everyday life.
Along with Duncan’s “redirection,” he established a series of educational seminars and lectures to address the needs of academia, business corporations, library services, primary education, health care services, and retirement communities.
As Duncan has lived a myriad of professional and international experiences, he brings not only a current prospective to his audience needs, but refreshingly virtual knowledge often overlooked by less qualified speakers.
In summary, Duncan is seasoned in various capacities of knowledge and experience including: Advertising Designer and Art Director; Ad Agency Production Manager; Professor of Art Illustration; Advertising/Marketing Consultant; Lecturer; Writer; and Publicist.
Duncan’s numerous and varied awards speak of his success in his dynamic profession to which he constantly applies passion and joy of teaching and serving others.
Dr. Hall Duncan is 96 years old in this year 2020.