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Sunday Mailbag- Time on a MAD Job?

September 21st, 2014

Q: The pages your draw for the TV and film parodies in MAD are very complex. How long does it take you to do that?

A: As long as they give me.

Actually it takes about 2 days per page. That’s from blank layout to final, colored art. Some pages go faster than others of course. It depends on the subject matter and how many caricatures or complex scenes are involved, but it always seems to even out to 2 days per page in the end.

Of course, that’s just the actual art. I also spend some time researching the job (i.e. watching the show or film) and usually a full day finding references and such. All together a 5 page parody probably takes me 12 working days to complete. I can step it up if I have to, but that is more of an exercise in endurance than increased speed. This stuff takes time and certain parts of it I cannot speed up. If I am under the gun I just have to work more hours per day.

Thanks to Bill Hodgins 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!

Holy Brushwork, Batman!

September 19th, 2014

Bat-Jack

Kind of busy right now so no time for much of a blog post today. Here’s another piece I had framed up at the same time I got the “Fools of Rock” piece done.

Occasionally you get some nice perks for being president of the NCS, and this is one. If you call the great Jack Davis up and ask him if he’d be willing to do a drawing of Batman for the NCS’s Comic-Con T-shirt, and about a week later an original piece of art like this shows up in your mailbox, you get to hang it on your wall when the T-shirt production is done. :D

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Wall of Shame- Tenacious D!

September 18th, 2014

The Wall of Shame has a new resident! This summer Jack Black and Kyle Gass signed autographs at the National Cartoonists Society booth at San Diego Comic Con along with illustrator Luke McGarry, promoting their summer charity music event. I took the opportunity to get them to sign an oversized print of my splash page from the MAD parody “Fools of Rock”, from MAD #438, Feb 2004.

IMG_0356

IMG_0357

I printed a copy out for each of them. Probably used it to line their cat’s litter box. At least I got a nice piece for my studio wall!

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Sketch o’the Week- Adrian Peterson

September 17th, 2014

Adrian Peterson © 2014 Tom Richmond

Watching this whole Adrian Peterson thing unfold here in Minnesota is sad, ugly and infuriating. If you haven’t seen it on the news, Peterson was indicted by a grand jury in Texas for beating one of his sons, a four year old, with a “switch” for arguing with one of his other sons over a video game. Pictures of the boy, taken about a week later when doctors in Minnesota examined him after he returned home from Texas, show horrific welts, broken skin and scabs over his legs, butt, scrotum and hands… the last of which were defensive wounds trying to protect himself.

Peterson has repeatedly said he is “without a doubt not a child abuser”, pointing out he was disciplining his son the same way he was disciplined as a boy.

The situation is sad because the boy, and most likely all of Peterson’s kids, have to live in fear of their father deciding whatever they are doing is wrong and needs “discipline”, and they are now in the center of a media storm and public scrutiny. None of these kids asked for this. Peterson was beaten as a kid, and he is perpetuating the cycle of abuse. He needs psychiatric help.

It’s ugly because, believe it or not, some people are defending Peterson and saying how he disciplines his kids is his business, not ours. That’s true until his parenting techniques leave defenseless four-year-olds bruised, welted and bloody. Then it’s everybody’s business. Any reasonable person would see that what Peterson did was not parenting but abuse. Some people only seem to care about if their football team wins on Sunday. Great human beings.

It’s infuriating because the Minnesota Vikings have proven themselves to be the biggest frauds in the NFL, and the NFL itself is not far behind. The Vikings deactivated Peterson for one game after the news broke, then on Monday actually stood up in front of the media to announce they were going to reinstate him to allow the legal “due process” to play itself out, allowing him to play. After an avalanche of outrage by the public and, more importantly to them, the people that sponsor the team and the NFL, they did an about-face and placed him on an “exempt list” barring him from playing and participating in any activities with the team.

First off, the lame “due process” excuse only flies when someone is accused of a crime they deny doing, and whether they did it or not needs proving. Peterson does not deny this, in fact he says it is a perfectly acceptable practice albeit he admits he went a little too far in that case. No one is denying he beat this four year old bloody with a tree branch. The only thing in question is if the courts in Texas define it as illegal or not. The act itself is not in question. The Vikings were perfectly fine with allowing this man to play for and represent their team.

Second, their change of mind only happened after their wallets got affected. The Radisson hotel chain publicly pulled their sponsorship of the team. Nike pulled all their Peterson merchandise from Twin Cities stores. Anheuser-Busch, a major sponsor of the NFL, issued a strong statement basically demanding the NFL clean up it’s act. Other sponsors and financial supporters of the NFL and the Vikings issues similar statements, insinuating they’d take action if something wasn’t done. Only then did the Vikings decide having someone who beats their kids continue to be their star player was not the right thing to do.  Right now the radio “voice of the Vikings” Paul Allen is trying to spin this that the Vikings have done the right thing and it’s time to move on. Too little, too late. What total and utter frauds.

Hitting your kids does not teach them anything except to fear you. Parents that hit their kids are lazy, not wanting to bother to learn how to properly teach them right from wrong. Striking your kids is more about an immediate relief of your anger or frustration as a parent than about teaching your kids better behavior, and anyone who says different is not being honest. Do you calmly and methodically administer the whacks on the ass with your hand or a belt as someone thoughtfully teaching a lesson might, or do you do it emotionally upset and angry? The latter, 100% of the time.

There are far more effective ways to punish kids than physical pain. If you are not smart enough to outsmart a four year old kid and teach them right from wrong without resorting to beating them, you have no business being a parent—or representing a professional football team.

The whole thing makes me sick.

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NCS Booth at New York Comic Con

September 16th, 2014

 

NCS-nyccFor the last 10 years or so the National Cartoonists Society has had a terrific booth at San Diego Comic-Con, but has appeared at no other comic conventions around the country. Thanks to a joint effort from the NCS and its charitable arm, the National Cartoonists Society Foundation, the 68 year old organization of professional cartoonists is stepping up its game in the convention world.

As part of its mission of outreach to industry professionals and the general public, the NCS will start having a presence at several other major comic conventions, starting next month at the New York Comic Con. The NCS will have a booth at NYCC, and local members will be appearing there to meet and greet the attendees, sign autographs, sell stuff and otherwise promote the art of cartooning. The booth will have its comic-con T-shirts available as well.

Even though I have my own booth at NYCC, I’ll be making my fair share of appearances at the NCS booth. If you are attending NYCC, stop in and say hi!

Monday MADness- Two Defectives!

September 15th, 2014

Monday MADness

Rather than dig through a bunch of old stuff this week, I though I’d share the rough sketches I did for the recent parody of “True Detective” in MAD #528. Here they are, followed by the final art… clicky any to embiggen:

True Detective Splash layout

True Detective layout-3-4

True Detective layout-5-6

Yes, these roughs were all done digitally using my super-sized Cintiq. Why digital, when I have repeatedly professed my dislike for drawing on the computer? There are a couple of compelling reasons.

First, the very fact that I don’t enjoy the tactile sensation of drawing on the screen is a plus. It keeps me from becoming too enamored of the quality of the linework and niceties of the pencil’s values and texture. This is just pure composition, form and function.

Second, I have a hard time drawing things at the size required for the panel in question, especially caricatures. Often I am working on a caricature and just when I get it right I find I drew it too big. Instead of either erasing and redrawing it, or scanning it in, shrinking it in Photoshop and doing a light table job to get it the right size, I just lasso it and resize it to fit. In fact I can move around and resize anything I want in these layouts to get them to work the way I want, without having to conform my drawing to do that in the first place. Big time saver.

Third, I work these roughs out tight enough that I can ink via a light table with only doing additional pencil drawing on the faces and some of the elements I decide I want to change. This causes me to draw with the ink rather than just trying to recreate the pencil lines in ink, and little or no erasing needed. I get a more spontaneous feel to the inks this way, and save time not having to erase the hell out of my boards before I scan them.

Anyway, I like this process. Here are the finals of the pages above:

Two Defectives Pg 1-2

Two Defectives Pg 3-4

Two Defectives Pg 5-6

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Sunday Mailbag- SotW Size?

September 14th, 2014

Sunday Mailbag!

Q: How big are your sketches of the week?

A: That’s not a question with a real answer except for “almost any size”.

I don’t keep a sketchbook proper, wherein I draw and then put away when it’s full. I have a couple of those but I just draw on whatever is at hand. I have a stack of 12 x 16 live caricature paper in a drawer by my drawing table, and I use this paper for most of my roughs, conceptual drawings and thumbnails for jobs as well as random sketches. I do a lot of my “sketches of the week” on that paper.

When I am just drawing for fun or practice I don’t pay much attention to the size I work at. The drawing just ends up whatever size it ends up at. It can swing wildly. Here’s some examples:

Richard Kiel © 2014 Tom RichmondThis week’s one of Richard Kiel was pretty big… 7 x 11 inches.

This Andrew Garfield was only 2.5 x 6 inches.

This one of John Candy was really tiny… 3 x 4 inches.

I recall this one of Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer being really big… took up most of that 12 x 16 piece of paper.

Thanks to Taylor Miles Clark 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!

Twitter Card Woes

September 13th, 2014

Damon

A couple of weeks ago fellow caricaturist/illustrator Hamilton Cline dropped me a line to ask why I didn’t use Twitter Cards for my tweets, seeing as how most of my posts have images that would be a lot more interesting to look at than a simple URL would be.

My answer was “What the $%#@ are ‘Twitter Cards’?”

Well since then I have been trying to get this figured out. I’ve set up the proper code through a WordPress Plug-in (JP Twitter Cards). I have applied for a Twitter DEV account (not sure I ever got approved, actually). I have set up and validated several posts using the Twitter card Validator, and they looks great in the previews.

No love when WordPress generates my automatic tweet when I post. Just the usual boring:

I tried again to tweak the setting to make it work with this post and this old image, but again no dice. I am at a loss. If any web-saavy readers want to fill me in on what I am doing wrong, I’d love to find out.

UPDATE- Looks like I have my answer. I am actually doing everything right, and my Twitter Cards are working just as they should be. The reason they are not displaying the images and summary automatically is that Twitter does not allow that. Only images uploaded to Twitter directly or Vines are allowed to display by default. Twitter cards have a “Show Summary” link on them that will expand the tweet to show the actual Twitter card. All my tweets have such a link, so they are working correctly.

What a disappointment. What’s the use of having a more visual Tweet is it still needs a click through to see it? That’s what link in the original tweet is for. Useless.

Bonus Sketch o’the Week- Richard Kiel!

September 12th, 2014

Richard Kiel © 2014 Tom RichmondRemembering actor Richard Kiel, who passed away the other day at age 74. He memorably played the villain “Jaws” in two James Bond films back in the 70s, but had several other notable film and TV roles as well.

Product Shipicus Interruptus

September 11th, 2014

Just a quick explanation and apology to any and all who, in the last two weeks or so, have ordered and are waiting for books, prints or original art to get shipped out to them. The last two weeks have been more than a little bit hectic for me, with multiple jobs all due including the longest MAD parody I have done since that nine page extravaganza “Harry Plodder and the Lamest of Sequels” in MAD #424 back in 2002.

I often complain here about deadlines, but while they can and do get hairy they seldom get to the point where a couple of long days or an all-nighter can’t take care of the problem. Nor do they usually interfere overly much with things like eating, sleeping, workouts, walking the dogs or doing other daily things.

This past week was a little different. I got behind on a major project, my fault for taking on too much work and underestimating how much of my time things like the NCS and other obligations would demand, and I had to do a rare thing… completely shut my life down for several days to meet a deadline. I had to send The Lovely Anna and The Animated Elizabeth on to Orlando to start a family vacation without me, send the dogs over to a friends to dog-sit for us, and work around the clock for about 6 days straight. I finished the job about 90 minutes before I had to leave for the airport to catch my rescheduled flight to Orlando to join the family on a now-truncated vacation. Job delivered, vacation commenced… sort of. I do have to take some time to get a few things started on some jobs I had to put on the back burner during the marathon.

Unfortunately part of what I had to ignore was all those orders for prints, books and etc. that needed packing up and shipping all over the world. If you are one of those people who have ordered something and are waiting patiently for one of those “your order has shipped” emails, my sincerest apologies. All orders large and small will be shipping upon my return Monday.

Back to Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter…

 

 

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