Off on Vacation, Etc.

January 19th, 2008 | Posted in General

The Lovely Anna and I are off today on our annual week away from kids, work and the Minnesota winter. We have a timeshare on Maui, and spend one very relaxing week sleeping in, reading books, sitting by the pool or the sea and eating at some excellent restaurants. This is our time to charge our parental and professional batteries, and take a little selfish me time in order that we do not go crazy and beat our kids, the neighbors or a few art directors I know.

Fear not, gentle reader… through the magic of pre-posting and wifi The MAD Blog will continue it’s daily updates. Today rather than a full “Surf’s Up Dept.” I just have a few quick links to some MAD and cartoon related stuff…

Will Draw for Diploma Dept.

This is my final, final reminder that the deadline for applying for the Jay Kennedy Cartooning Scholarship via the National Cartoonist Society Foundation is in 12 short days.

Artist in the Machine Dept.-

We caricaturists are in trouble now!

The computer is about to usurp our jobs. Now there is a piece of software that will draw caricatures straight from photographs… no artist needed!

Caricature Software bills itself as the “Software that draws for you”, and claims to produce work “often indistinguishable from an artist’s work”. Their website hypes their software product thusly:

Have you ever thought of what would you draw if you were an artist? Your house, your dog, the mountains on the horizon? A caricature of your friend? With our software you can draw anything you see. You need to try to believe.

They have several programs including “PhotoS”, which produces a line drawing from a photograph and “Photo to Cartoon” which creates a “cartoon” from any photo with a click of a button. Their site goes on to say:

Just load a photo and the program will do the rest. Use the result cartoons to sign emails and letters, make greeting cards and party announcements, or create a unique art gift for your friend. A caricature makes an original and amusing present that even that person who has everything would be happy to get.

I know what you are thinking… Tom, just pack up your drawing stuff and go get that greeting job at Wal-Mart while it’s still available. Maybe that’s not a bad idea, but here is what we are up against…

The photo to be cartooned:


And the resulting caricature:


Uhhhhh…. ooooookay. Here are some example people drawings from their “PhotoS” gallery as well:


To be fair, PhotoS did a passable job with more mechanical objects, and despite their ‘suggestions” I do not think these folks really believe their software creates anything but filtered photo tracings.

Besides… I’ve seen a few live caricaturists in my time who’s work isn’t much better than that, so maybe they are on to something.


  1. N8 says:

    lol, Thats funny…. Computers couldn’t create anything as close from anything as natural as an artist interpetation. They are too structurally based on numbers and variables than anything, sure they can interpet an artists work but, create its own. haha funny

  2. kmcnutt says:

    Maui! Oh, Maui – please, oh, please have a mai tai for me… or anything with rum in it. It’s 11 below here in Minnesota and my father-in-law wants to split wood today. While you’re on Maui, may I suggest an awesome (imho) place to eat? Look up “Mama’s Fish House” – it’s on the North side of the island just up Hana Hwy from Kahului. It’s perched up cliffside overlooking some awesome surf that rumbles in the background while you’re eating… and the after dinner coffee is something else. OH! how I need to go back. There’s a great ukulele shop just outside of Kahului as well (Mele Ukulele)- I brought home a trim and happy-sounding one from there that I’m still plinking away at. When I play it I can’t help but laugh – they just sound so fun. Happy vacationing to you and your wife, Tom – I’m going to go get out my ukulele and serenade my wife.


  3. Tom says:

    Nate- I got a chuckle out of that website.

    Kelly- Anna and I have gone to Maui every year for 10 years (we have a timeshare there). We have eaten at Mama’s many times. It’s very good but the service has really gone downhill in the last few years. We are planning on giving it another chance this year, though. If you ever go back, do not miss The Lahaina Grill (formerly David Paul’s) and The Plantation House in Kapalua.

  4. kmcnutt says:

    Well after 10 years – ho ho! I must imagine… after all, Maui isn’t all that big! Ha ha. I just got so reminiscent… but now that you mention it, the last time we were there something did seem a bit off compared to before… but we couldn’t put our finger on it. It was probably the service. Hopefully it’s better for you this time. As for The Lahaina Grill, we have eaten there and enjoy it very much – haven’t gone to The Plantation House, but now look forward to going. Thanks for the tip!


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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