June 19th, 2013
Speaking of Perry White, this week’s sketch is of actor Lawrence Fishburne. I’ve been watching the new TV series “Hannibal” this spring since I am a big fan of (almost) all of Thomas Harris‘s books, but I am giving up on the show. Fishburne’s job portraying FBI boss Jack Crawford is one of the few good things about the series, however.
Tags: caricature, Lawrence Fishburne, sketch
June 18th, 2013
I took my three youngest kids to see Man of Steel over Father’s day weekend. Overall, I liked the film quite a bit. I was a little surprised at the volume of angry fanboy reaction online… most seemed to think Christopher Nolan and Zack Synder missed the boat on the character. I read some comments saying Superman was a “homicidal monster”, “soulless” and that there was “no character development”. They must have been watching a different movie than the one I saw.
SPOILER ALERT!! I cannot examine the character decisions at the root of this film without revealing major plot moments, since they define the characters. Read no further if you don’t want to see any spoilers. Read the rest of this entry >
Tags: Man of Steel, review
June 17th, 2013
Clicky to embiggen…
I finally got permission to be able to post a peek at the art I did for MAD #521 for the article entitled “Casebook: Spyfail- The Battle of the Bonds”, written by Desmond Devlin. It took a little longer this time because the exclusive first sneak peek at the article was promised to another website, who didn’t bother to run it, so I had to either wait until they did run it or until enough time had passed that it didn’t matter.
This was a fun project in that I got to draw all the actors who have played Bond throughout the parody, as they do a running commentary of all three Daniel Craig 007 movies. Here is the pencil rough for the splash, which as you can see is VERY rough in that I didn’t even do any faces, and some of the panels from the parody:
Clicky to embiggen…
So what are you waiting for (The issue’s been out for a month already!)… go buy a copy, clod!
Tags: 521, James Bond, MAD Magazine, movie parody
June 16th, 2013
Q: I just recently downloaded a drawing app for my iPad (Sketch Club) and picked up a fairly cheap stylus from Amazon. It’s my first experience doing any kind of digital doodling but it’s proven to be a fun place to start. Because of the whole touch pad scenario, I’ve found on more than one occasion that my hand would rest on the screen and inadvertently draw strokes I didn’t intend. As a result, I hold the stylus much differently than I would a regular pen and it’s slightly altered the style of my drawings (for the better. I think). Is this something you also dealt with when making the leap to digital and if so, how did you adapt? I’m just a casual doodler, usually while I’m on the couch watching TV, so I realize this may be a basic question (or one with a basic answer – “Yeah, dummy, stop touching the screen with your hand”), but thought I’d throw it out there in case you haven’t touched on it already.
A: You have just detailed what is the major obstacle when it comes to using touch-based devices for drawing. Tablets like the iPad were designed for input from fingertips/human skin, not a stylus. As a result, the styluses that have been designed for them have to duplicate the input that a fingertip creates, which is why most of them have a big, puffy, marshmallow ends or a plastic disc to create the needed surface area interaction. Worse, as you say the screen reacts to any contact with the hand, including the palm which many artists rest or touch to the drawing surface when working. That causes the digital artist trying to use a touch tablet to have to alter the mechanics of their drawing so they don’t touch the tablet surface with anything but the tip of their stylus.
Fortunately this is not a problem with the Cintiq or a Wacom tablet. These devices only recognize the stylus tip for input—fingertips, palms or any other objects have no effect on them. I can draw with my natural mechanics on these, unlike on a touch tablet.
The latest Cintiq is a “touch” model that claims you can do both touch input and stylus input independent of each other. In other words, you can use your fingertips to scroll, rotate or zoom while drawing with the stylus but somehow your palm does not cause the issues you described. I have yet to see this in action or test it. If it works as advertised, it would be an amazing thing, but I am highly skeptical.
Thanks to Ed Placencia of Lancaster, PA 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!
June 13th, 2013
Of the many interesting things that happened with respect to self-publishing my book, one of the most surprising was finding a very unexpected market for it: wood carvers.
Apparently caricature is something many wood carvers are interested in, either by actually carving caricatures out of wood or using some of the principals of exaggeration and expression found in caricature art in carving fictional characters and anthropomorphic animals. I have several woodcarver shops that buy books directly from me wholesale to sell in their shops, or at their booths at the many trade shows and conventions dedicated to this art. Last month at the Pittsburgh Cartoon Festival I had someone come up with a copy of my book to get signed, and showed me a carving he had done of a caricature of Hulk Hogan I had done. It was really well done!
One of those shops commissioned me to do a T-shirt design for them, final result above, rough sketch below.
I would never have guessed that would be a market for a caricature book, but it most definitely is!
Rough Sketch (they asked me to lose the safety goggles!!)
June 12th, 2013
I am really swamped right now coloring a big job on the computer, so this week we are going to have to go with a quick digital warm up sketch of an easy target. Here’s Ian McKellen in his role of Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings and the recent first installment of the Hobbit films. This took about 12 minutes including the gray washes. I did a Gandalf for the SotW some years ago but never really liked that take… even though this is a loose, speed drawing I think the results are better.
Tags: caricature, Ian McKellen, sketch
June 11th, 2013
It’s summertime and that means convention season, amid other things, and as Comic-Con is coming up next month I thought I’d list some of the places I’ll be showing up and possibly doing some speaking the rest of this year:
San Diego Comic Con
July 18-21, 2013
I’ll be selling copies of my book as well as my upcoming limited edition print at the National Cartoonists Society booth (usually #1307/1309). I’ll also have some original pages from MAD for sale and will be doing caricatures as well. Drop by the booth and you’ll see posted schedules for artist appearances. I’ll be there at least 2 hours every day.
I’ll also be on a MAD panel upstairs at some point, possibly the MAD animated show panel, and likely do some autograph session at the DC booth. No idea what the times of any of that will be… I’ll post that when I find out.
Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
August 8-11, 2013
I’ve never been to this one, but I am one of the minor guest artists so I will have my own booth space somewhere—just look me up in the directory. I will be be manning the booth through the entire con, doing all the stuff listed above under San Diego only all day every day. No panels or speaking though, just the booth.
Jack Davis Show Opening
August 1, 2103 Glynn Art Gallery, St. Simon Island, GA
I wrote about this a few weeks ago. It’s a show of Jack Davis art in a gallery in his adoptive hometown, and I”l be on a panel moderated by longtime MAD editor Nick Meglin along with illustrators Mark Schultz and Jack Pittman.
Incidentally their Kickstarter is almost there for this but still needs some help.
ACA Stanley Awards
Saturday, Oct 26th- Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Headed back down under to attend the Stanley Awards, the Australian Cartoonists Association’s version of the Reuben Awards, and am supposed to do a talk there as well, but no details yet. I believe the programs prior to the awards are only available to ACA members, so if you are a professional cartoonist in Australia and want to attend, get busy and join up.
Kenosha (Mini)Festival of Cartooning
November 2nd, 2013- Kenosha, WI
I’ve been both a guest speaker at the first and just a happy person in the crowd at the second of the two previous Kenosha Cartooning Festivals. This year I am going to be a one man show at their “mini-festival” on Saturday, November 2nd. I’ll be doing a general talk about my work and conducting a workshop on caricature. See their website for details as they are announced.
I think that about covers it. If you will be at any of those events, stop by and say hello!
June 10th, 2013
This week’s Monday MADness features the pencil roughs and a couple of the final panels from an article called “Is Our World Really All That Different From The Matrix?” written by Greg Leitman from MAD #436, Dec. 2003 (clicky any to embiggen):
The gag got changed a bit from the original pencil rough on the Britney/Madonna panel . . . ewww.
Tags: MAD Magazine
June 9th, 2013
Q: Hi Tom, big fan of your drawings. Your book has had a huge effect on my art and is really helping me progress. However, I (as I’m sure many people do) hate my own artwork. I’m hugely over-critical and feel like people are being nice when the compliment it. Anyway, my question is, do you ever look back on your YouTube videos of caricatures you drew back then (1993) and think,”Oh dear God,why did I do ‘X’ that way” or “if I drew that now I’d do ‘Y’ like this instead”?
A: The balance between self-confidence and self-doubt if a tricky one for any artist, but especially for one trying to make a living with their art. It’s natural for an artist to be insecure about their work, party because they can’t help but become emotionally invested in it and therefore crave validation that it’s “good” thorough the praise of their peers and others, and partly stemming from their continued growth as an artist. One of the principal pieces of advice I try and impart when I talk to young artists is that they should be confident and happy with their work today, but not be happy if they are doing the same work tomorrow. As a working artist, you’d better have some confidence in what you are doing, or you’ll never be able to keep doing it.
I assume you are exaggerating when you say you “hate” your own artwork. Being critical is healthy, being “hugely over-critical” is not. Insecurity in your work is what drives your development as an artist. Once you feel your work is top-notch, you are not going to grow much anymore. However you will beat yourself down if you find nothing redeeming about your work, and that will hamper your development. Getting excited about seeing improvement in your work is as important as being objective and recognizing flaws in it, which you can then work to correct.
Regarding old work, THAT is the stuff you can grow to really hate. I look back on my early comic book work for NOW Comic’s “Married…with Children” title and seriously wonder how I ever got hired to do that comic. It is so badly drawn I am literally embarrassed by it. I cringe a bit at some of my early MAD work as well . . . after 13 years I see glaring flaws in that work that would never have gotten past me today. That is all a sign that my skills and my eye have continued to improve and develop over the years. However I do recognize that, at the time, that work was representing the best I was capable of. I worked hard on it and was proud of it when I did it. It’s only after continued growth that the blinders have been pulled aside a bit more to expose the deficiencies. That is all healthy, but I still wince when I see one of those “Married… with Children” issues… shudder. Likewise those caricature videos you mentioned. I did those as part of a looping promo that played on a TV at some of my live caricature booth locations, and they are not up to my standards today.
Live caricaturists really go through the wringer with this. When I drew full-time at the parks, I drew so much that every day I’d go through swings where I’d be drawing really well for a spell and then do a few duds and get frustrated, then get back in the groove again. That artistic microcosm really had nothing to do with getting better as an artist, but the sheer amount of drawing I’d do did force faster development with my drawing skills over the course of the summer. What I did discover, and what I think still holds true today, is that the level of my frustration or dissatisfaction with my work would increase right before I made a breakthrough or leap in my abilities as an artist. I think an artist’s eye is a few steps ahead of their hands, and they start to recognize something is wrong with their work right before they figure out what it is and fix it. With that in mind, it was always kind of exciting when I was really down on my work at the park, because I would know I was about to take a leap forward.
I am hoping that ten years from now I look back on the artwork I am doing today and can honestly say, “Meh, there are a lot of things about this work that I don’t like.” That will mean I have continued to grow as an artist in the intervening years, and that is always a goal. That doesn’t mean I can’t be confident in what I am doing right now, even as I look for (and do find plenty of) flaws that need work.
Thanks to Craig Kenny 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.