Q: Your Sketch o’the Week book looks great. When are you going to do a “The Art of Tom Richmond” book, with high quality reproductions of some of the work you’ve done?
A: Never say never, but pretty much never… for a couple of reasons.
Vanity press books are not my thing. I had to do a lot of self convincing to do the “Sketch o’the Week” book because I feel if one is going to do a book, the content needs to be more than just a bunch of eye candy. The only reason I did the SotW book was that it would give folks who want to buy something from me to sign a less expensive option than the drawing caricatures book or a print. If I was to do a “Art of…” book, I’d want it to include information on my process or something more than just reproductions of my work.
Another reason is that I am mostly known for the work I do for MAD, and as they own the copyrights to all that work I could not include any of it in a book unless they gave me permission. I don’t know if they would do that. They allowed me to reproduce a little of my MAD work in The Mad Art of Caricature, but that was just a small part of a book that is mostly about instruction in the art of caricature. A “The Art of Tom Richmond” book would necessarily contain a lot of work from MAD… enough that it could be construed as a MAD book in itself. I think they’d have a problem with that, and it would be pointless to do such a book leaving out my work for MAD.
I think it would be up to MAD to do such a book, and I’ve only been working for MAD for 16 years. That’s a drop in the bucket for a publication that has been in print for 64 years, and has boasted some of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived in their pages. So far in their “MAD‘S Greatest Artists” series they have done Mort Drucker, Sergio Aragonés, Don Martin and Dave Berg (and Antonio Prohias .. sort of). That leaves Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, Paul Coker, Harry North, George Woodbridge, Bob Clarke, Angelo Torres, Sam Viviano, Tom Bunk, Rick Tulka, Hermann Mejia, John Caldwell, Don Edwing, Peter Kuper, Drew Friedman, Paul Peter Porges, Jack Ricard and probably a couple of other artists more worthy than me I’m forgetting. I am a little ways down the list there.
I guess I’m saying if I live long enough and MAD keeps publishing long enough a day may come when such a book is published… but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.
Thanks to R Griffen 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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