José Carlos de Brito e Cunha, known as J. Carlos, (July 18, 1884 — October 2, 1950) was a cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer. J. Carlos also did sculpture, wrote vaudeville plays, wrote lyrics for samba, and was a major talent in Brazilian Art Deco graphic design.
Carlos was born and died in Rio de Janeiro. His first work, a drawing of a newcomer, was published in 1902 in the magazine Tagarela. He soon became a regular contributor to the magazine and within less than a year, designed a cover. He collaborated in design and illustration in all the major publications of Brazil from the 1920s until the 1950s, including O Malho, O Tico Tico, Fon-Fon, Careta, A Cigarra, Vida Moderna, Eu Sei Tudo, Revista da Semana, and O Cruzeiro.
His oeuvre is estimated to be more than 100,000 illustrations, with a varied range of fictionalized personages and Brazilian popular figures of the time. From a quintessential Brazilian archetype comic strip, the whimsical little black girl named Lamparina, and other curious cariocas type, to middle class characters and famed politics and society people, nobody in the Brazilian conscious mind escaped J.Carlos elegant line of perception.
In 1941, Walt Disney visited Brazil, Disney was impressed with the style of J. Carlos and asked him to work in Hollywood, the illustrator declined, But Disney has sent a drawing of a parrot inspiration for the creation of Joe Carioca.
In 1950, while discussing his friend's, João de Barro, known as Braguinha, upcoming record cover illustration, J. Carlos suffered a brain stroke and died two days later. In the October issue of the magazine O Careta's, J. Carlos' last contribution was much sought after.
- Zuenir Ventura / Cássio Loredano: O Rio de J.Carlos (J.Carlos' Rio), Lacerda publisher, 1998. ISBN 85-7384-026-9
- Cássio Loredano: O Bonde e a Linha (The Streetcar and the Wire), Capivara publisher, 2003. ISBN 85-89063-10-0
- Herman Lima: História da Caricatura no Brasil: Vol. 3 (Brazilian caricature's history: 3rd Volume), José Olympio Editora publisher, Rio de Janeiro, 1963.
- Julieta Sobral: J. Carlos, designer, in Rafael Cardoso publisher. O design brasileiro antes do design: aspectos da história gráfica 1860-1960 (Brazilian design before Design: graphic's history facets), editora Cosac Naify, 2005. ISBN 85-7503-428-6