Q: Are there any people, either friends or celebrities, you’ve drawn so many times you could do a pretty good job of drawing them purely from memory without using any sort of reference?
A: My first real job in published cartooning (if you can call working for the infamous NOW Comics a “real job”) was drawing a comic book called Married… with Children. I drew somewhere around 600 pages of that comic from 1991-1995. Even though it’s been 15 years since I did my last drawing of Ed O’Neill and Katie Segal as Al and Peg Bundy, I can still do pretty respectable caricature of them right out of my head:
I did that in about 10 minutes this morning from nothing but memory… not as accurate as I used to be perhaps, but not too far off either.
In fact, I can still draw the entire living room and den area with all the furniture in the proper place and the decor without looking up any reference. I have an organic CGI image map of that room burned into my brain after drawing it from many different angles over and over and over.
I feel the need to exonerate NOW Comics somewhat on my behalf, because although they had a bad reputation for paying people late or not at all, I got paid for almost everything I ever did for them (eventually) with the exception of about 12 pages of the last issue of “Lotto Fever” that never got finished or published anyway. There were a lot of good people working for NOW that I enjoyed working with, and that experience was very important in my career. You can read about the whole sorted saga here if you are so inclined.
Thanks to Ed Placencia for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
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