Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag: Multiple References?

January 14th, 2018 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: At a workshop you mentioned you use multiple photos for each caricature you develop. Can you explain how you analyze multiple photos and bring them together into one drawing? A: Not for each caricature, but for important ones, yes. Photos lie to you. They are only two dimensional and factors like lighting, focus, angles, and even odd expressions can give you the wrong information when trying to really capture a subject. You can’t really do a caricature from a single picture of someone you are not already familiar with. What you are really drawing is a caricature of a photo, not a person. You… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Learn from Students?

January 7th, 2018 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: It is often said that not only pupils learn from the teacher but also the teacher learns from the pupils. What did you learn in your caricature workshops? A: I absolutely learn and grow as an artist doing these workshops. I see things through fresh eyes looking at how the students interpret the subjects we draw, and find myself noticing things in new faces I am drawing later on that relate to what I saw in a workshop. I’ve also found that act of teaching forces the teacher to analyze what they do in order to explain it to others… doing this has caused… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Staffing?

December 31st, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: As the owner of a business that does caricatures in various theme parks, do you have trouble finding people to work on holidays like today (New Year’s Eve)? What do you do if you can’t get anyone to work on these days? A: This: Christmas Eve, 2018… Thanks to R Griffin 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! READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Visiting Museums?

December 24th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: How often do you get to a museum or gallery, if at all, for inspiration or simply to reacquaint with the Old Masters? Do you try to go when overseas, or another American city, when doing your workshops? Who among the “greats” have influenced you — from Rembrandt to Rockwell..? A: My wife The Lovely Anna is the fine art connoisseur, but I also enjoy visiting art museums when we travel. When is comes to “being inspired” by the works of the Old Masters I guess I am inspired only in the way that anyone is when looking at incredible pieces of art. I… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Digital Brushes?

December 17th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: When you make the caricatures in Photoshop, what kind of brush do you use for the inking? Do you have brushes on the internet for sale or free? A: I do not use PhotoShop, or any other digital program, for inking. I still ink the old fashioned way, with dip pens and watercolor brushes and ink. However, I do color with PhotoShop. When coloring, I do not use any special brushes, just the standard PhotoShop “Hard, Round” types. I use the pressure sensitivity of my Cintiq tablet to control both the opacity of my brush and the size of it. I also occasionally set… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Happy Accidents?

December 10th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: How much of your drawings are not planned? I mean, are there parts where you are thinking: “Hey, I didn’t plan to draw this line/look/composition like that, but it looks good. I’ll keep that!” A: That’s what Bob Ross used to call “happy accidents”. When you get right down to it, all drawing is like that. As an artist I have an idea of what I want my drawing to look like, and then I spend time pursuing that mental image. Sometimes it appears instantly, sometime I have to chase it down. That mental image is seldom a fully finished drawing in your mind,… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Reference for Poses?

December 3rd, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: I marvel at your ability to draw likenesses and your command of fundamental anatomy. But how facile are you at depicting more unusual human positions? If your assignment were to draw someone doing a backwards somersault into a pool, are you able to conjure up the image out of your head…or do you seek out references, either via online photos or taking your own photos a la Norman Rockwell? What do you do to depict the human body in more contorted poses…or, for that matter, even “standard” ones — bending over to tie one’s shoelaces, etc. A: I usually take a crack at any… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Hesitant to Ink?

November 26th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Do you still ever hesitate when you start inking a freshly penciled piece? Or is it old hat by now? A: I would not say I hesitate to ink anything, but I’m never thrilled to do it because it’s an exercise in controlled chaos for me. However I am long over the “my inks suck all the life out of my pencils” phase. That only happens when you try to slavishly reproduce every nuance of a pencil drawing with ink. I am not a great inker. In the 18 years I have been doing inked illustrations, and to be honest I didn’t do a… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: MAD Changes?

November 19th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Does MAD change your submitted final art? For instance: I think you are drawing panel-lines in your MAD-parodies, but there are no more panel-lines in the magazine any more. A: I’ll answer your main question in a second, but first I’ll address your comment about the panel lines and added panel space or “gutters”. What you are referring to is this: Above: Actual art I submitted for a page in the parody of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” Page as it appeared in MAD #443, July 2004 The MAD art staff added the spaces between the panels, Sergio’s marginal, and of course the… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Portrait or Caricature?

November 12th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Is it more difficult to draw ‘realism’ and general portraits, than to draw caricatures? Initially I thought it would be easier to draw caricatures as I have seen street artists draw caricatures quite quickly and they look great but seeing yours it looks quite difficult. With a normal portrait you just draw what you are looking at but with caricatures you have to sort of make it up yourself, larger forehead, larger chin etc then working out with exaggeration goes with each individual. A: I think it’s equally difficult to draw a truly excellent caricature and an excellent realistic portrait, but from a technical… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Finding Reference?

November 5th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Whenever I need to browse the internet for a reference I worry that any photo that comes up has been and is being used by a hundred other artists. We’re all referencing the same 2004 Prius or photo of Johnny Carson! So I try to find videos for my reference material so I can pause the subject in a way that is hopefully different from everyone else’s reference photo. Do you ever run into this? You must reference a TON when putting together a parody. A: Everybody uses the web to search for reference these days, so it’s common to be working from the… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Exaggerating Color?

October 29th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: In a lot of caricatures of President Trump, the illustrator will exaggerate the orange-ness of his skin. You’ve spoken and written a lot about exaggerating features, but in what situations is it acceptable to exaggerate color?  I imagine someone who is drawn green around the gills (sick) or exceedingly red (angry or sunburned) could be humorous, but in other instances an exaggeration of color (specifically skin) could be deemed racially insensitive, for example. When is it important to match color as closely as possible, and when do you choose to exaggerate it? A: That’s an interesting question. I’d never really thought about it before. I’d… READ MORE

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