MAD KIDS #13 Cover Art

November 14th, 2008 | Posted in MAD Magazine

Click image for a closer look…

In October I got a rare opportunity to do some cover art for MAD… not “THE” MAD Magazine but their little brother publication MAD KIDS. I did the cover of MAD KIDS #7 a year or so ago, and was given the opportunity to do the cover for MAD KIDS #13 this fall… they must have had limited options! Since the issue has been released, I can now share the artwork here.

This job was unique in that I was being asked to somewhat ape the look and feel of the art style of the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” movie that came out last summer. They wanted me to put my own spin on it, add some gags and in general make it MAD-like. The concept was a loose spoof of the famous Norman Rockwell painting “Freedom from Want” (the Thanksgiving scene MAD has ridiculed many times over the years). The main gag they wanted was Anakin carving the “turkey” with his light saber. Art Director Sam Viviano sent me a rough doodle and I come up with this pencil:

I wanted to add a couple of gags just to make it more interesting, hence Yoda levitating the salt shaker, the alien eyes in Dooku’s stuffing, etc. Since the piece needed to be painted in the “Clone Wars” style I just went straight from the pencil into PhotoShop and worked each character out as well as the table, elements on the table and the light saber’s “trail”. Here are some close ups of parts of the image:

Here’s the final cover image with all text and graphics in place:

I’m not particularly knowledgeable about applying textures and the like in PhotoShop, so I found it hard to capture the very textured and 3-D “gaming” look of the actual film visuals. MAD must have been happy with it, judging by the job they gave me for the MAD 20 in issue #497… which will have to wait until December for me to post about. Incidentally, MAD Senior Editor Jonathan Bresman emailed me a link to this article about the cover and issue on

I’d love to do the cover of the actual main magazine someday, but the editors like a much more realistic look than my drawing and painting style, so unless and until they have a special cover art need that I can fulfill I will likely not be seeing my work on the cover of MAD anytime soon.


  1. Samsonite says:

    Wow! That looks fantastic Tom, Congratulations.

  2. cedricstudio says:

    Very nice job!!! I’m especially impressed with the texture on the turkey skin. Did that take a while to figure out how to do it in Photoshop?

  3. Trevour says:

    This is an amazing cover. Love the ‘Supper Time’ bib too! And congrats on having it featured on! I will definitely pick this issue up for the cover alone.

  4. jimbodraw says:

    Very nice Tom – looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Rick W says:

    Hi Tom,
    Great work as usual, attention to detail, very nice. You mentioned you went straight in with your pencil sketch. Did you paint right on top of the pencil drawing or did you make separate layers for that?? If so did it take longer to do it this way then the way you normally do, inking and coloring??

  6. The alt text is pretty funny, too. I suggest people mouse over the images. Especially Yoda’s.


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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