Sketch o’the Week

August 6th, 2008 | Posted in Sketch O'The Week

I thought I’d try something different this week and do a sketch from a video as opposed to a photo. This week’s subject is the late action film great Lee Marvin.

I’ve been really enjoying my home theater lately, thanks to a new projector, Blu-Ray player and Netflicks. Netflicks is a great deal, although it’s lifespan is undoubtably limited as within a few years HD content will be downloadable on-demand from a variety of soruces for your HDTV.. It’s actually available now but the technology for fast downloads isn’t quite there yet. There are a limited number of Blu-ray films available right now but many classics are getting transfers to the HD medium, and I’ve been making a point to see some of the great films of yesterday. I’ve seen “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Deliverance”, “Bullitt”, “The Deer Hunter” and a number of other well known and acclaimed films in the last few months that I had never seen before. Last night I watched “The Dirty Dozen” and did the above sketch while watching it. I paused on a single frame to get the basics down but then finished the sketch in low light conditions while enjoying the rest of the film.

Drawing from video is different from photos. You are capturing your overall impression of the subject instead of focusing on the specifics of a given superficial reference. Usually this works best when you then go back to photos to see the static details of the face and use what you’ve learned from working off the moving images as a foundation. In this case I just scanned in the video sketch.

I once had a conversation with the great Mort Drucker about actors in movies and TV today as opposed to yesteryear. He told me he considered the majority of today’s actors to be of a similar type and look, lacking the strong personalities and character of the Cary Grants, Humphrey Bogarts and such of past days. I must say I can see where he is coming from. There are few actors today with the strong features and character of a Lee Marvin.


  1. JWB1 says:

    Super job, Tom! A few years ago a pub owner contacted me about doing caricatures of famous ex-marines. I was so happy to spot Lee’s name on the list he gave me! What a fantastic face! Always enjoy seeing drawings of the older stars!

  2. quikdraw4 says:

    Great Lee Marvin! The Dirty Dozen was a great movie! Its quite amazing that the supporting cast in The Dirty Dozen went on to be HUGE box office and TV stars in thier own right.
    Tom I think todays young stars are so “cookie cutter” in looks . Hollywood and Pop music for that matter sees the public buying a certain look that they cast/sign actors/recording artists with that same look.
    It used to be a person could say to a caricaturist draw me a quick one of Charles Bronson or Katherine Hepburn without a photo reference and you could nail a likeness off the top of your head.
    Today? Draw me a quick one of Scarlett Johanson or Josh Brolin and your quickie may get confused with other actors. Todays TV stars is a total toss up.

  3. anne says:

    Great likeness! However – am I the only one who thinks it also looks like a skinny Colin Powell?! It’s the eyes I think.

  4. mengblom says:

    Hah! That’s a great drawing of Marvin, Tom.

    Yeah, back in that era, it seemed the focus was on acting ability, and if they were good looking it was an “added bonus”.

    These days, it seems to be the exact opposite.

  5. craig says:

    Well done, sir!

  6. Talk about a face that begs to be drawn! The Dirty Dozen is what of my favorites! You definitely captured him.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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