If you are a fan of comics or cartooning, you should be a regular reader of Comic Riffs, a column/blog from the Washington Post written by “Writer-artist-recovering-syndicated-cartoonist” Michael Cavna. Michael posted an article today about my recently released cover art for the NCS Reuben Awards Weekend brochure, where he interviews some of the
victims subjects of my caricatures for their reaction. Generally good this year, no threats of stoning or keying my car.
In the article Micheal asks me if I had any trouble with any of the subjects. I did have to have a couple of tries at Jeff Keane. It’s interesting when you try to caricature someone you know well. Sometimes it’s easier because you are so familiar with their expressions and personality, you can capture that “look” that other people that know the subject well will respond to. Other times someone like that proves more elusive because you know them TOO well. There can be a subconscious element to your mental image of them that is not coming out in your caricature, and nothing you do satisfies you.
I had similar problems with my caricature of Doug Mahnke. I’ve known Doug for 30 years. He was a rookie airbrush T-Shirt artist at Six Flags near Chicago the same year I was a rookie caricaturist for the same company, Fasen Arts. That was 1985. Today Doug is one of the biggest names in comic book art, drawing heavyweights like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern for DC Comics. He was the artist on Dark Horse Comic’s “The Mask” in the early 90’s, and his images of the character in a loud zoot suit and fedora was the basis for all the visuals in the Jim Carrey film of the same name. My mental image of Doug is made up of him from age 22 to 52. That’s a lot of images of a person jumbling around in your head, and it’s hard to be objective in trying to capture that entire person in one caricature.
By the way, Michael also wrote a nice article yesterday about Jeff getting the NCS Silver T-Square award. Jeff’s being honored with that award, which is for outstanding dedication and service to the Society or the cartooning industry, is enormously well deserved. Michael didn’t mention in the article about all the years Jeff spent as producer and director of the Reuben Awards show, the roasts, and other shows at the Reubens. He changed the way the Reuben show is done, and created a highly entertaining, multi-faceted show that has delighted attendees for well over a decade.
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