On the Drawing Board

October 13th, 2006 | Posted in MAD Magazine

I haven’t posted one of these in a while. I’ve been busy with computer crashes, conventions, chapter meetings and such, but that doesn’t stop the deadlines and jobs coming and going. Here’s what I’ve been working on lately:

Nader Museum Job– Yep, still working on that but it is horribly late now. I was hoping to have it inked and colored by tomorrow but it looks like inked is all it will be. I may have to color it while in Orlando next week. I’ll post the finished job when done, but I have to tell you it will be hard to recognize it as my work. Mr. Nader’s direction on his caricature turned it into more of a portrait-type look.

Scholasatic– Just finished a job for them Tuesday, two illustrations of the greek leader Pericles for their history magazine. Here’s the bigger of the two:


I am going to final on this one today (the image is the pencil rough), a parody of the ABC show “Kyle XY” for their math magazine.

The missing navel is significant… I guess

I am also doing a caricature of the President of the Minneapolis Club, who is retiring next month. I’ll start that when I return from the family vacation. I don’t usually do personal commissions, but retiring exectutives and corporate clients are different. I am not embarrassed to charge them publication rates and they (usually) don’t approve their own image, which is a can of worms I never like to open if I can help it.

No MAD jobs this month… so far. October is usually a month where I don’t do a MAD piece, as they are doing their “MAD 20” feature that takes up the majority of the issue. The “MAD 20” is more accurately “MAD’s 20 Dumbest Things of 2006” or whatever year we are in. In the article they take swings and whatever they thought was dumb or embarrassing about “the year that was” in politics, media, pop culture… you name it. Usually they like to have more painted looking pieces in the feature, rather than color and line stuff like my work. Last year was a rare exception, when they tapped me to do a faux circus poster depicting the “Media Circus” surrounding the tragedy of Terri Schiavo.

I liked doing this piece as it was a meaty political theme and not just making fun at some meaningless movie or TV show. Plus the challenge of handling the Schiavo part of the image with respect while goofing on the clowns involved in the circus that surrounded her was interesting. I also really got in to the design of the poster. Below is the original MAD comp they sent me, my redesign to give it a more authentic circus poster feel, and the final art that reflects the editor’s and art director’s revisions.

MAD’s original layout for the piece

My pencil sketch

Schiavo Circus.jpg
The final

That was a fun job. The guys at MAD really love it when you put a lot of thought and effort into making something work, and they liked the fact that I took the time to capture that old-fashioned circus poster feel. Maybe they’ll be another like that this month, but if there is it’ll be a tight deadline! So what else is new???


  1. I remember that one – I have it from last year. Knew it was your work; well done!

  2. SteveH says:

    Tom, great to see you in Orlando if only for a brief time, hope you and the family have a great vacation! Speak soon!


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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