One Weird Project

May 6th, 2010 | Posted in General

Click for a closer look…

I wasn’t going to post about this job until I finished up a second similar commission for a friend and colleague who has been patiently waiting for me to do his painting for so long it is just plain embarrassing, but considering a number of people have e-mailed and Facebooked me about it since Al twittered (tweeted?) a picture of the art I might as well tell the story. That other long LONG overdue original is almost done anyway.

I was contacted by the brilliant greeting card/illustrator/author/cartoonist Sandra Boynton a couple of months back about doing a private commission for her. I know Sandy through the National Cartoonists Society where we are both members, and I was flattered she’d thought of me for this particular project.

It seems Sandy is a long time friend of the famous “Weird” Al Yankovic, who I am sure needs no introduction… at least not for anyone in the U.S. If you grew up in this country, You’ll know Weird Al is the king of musical parody/comedy. Since the mid 80’s his parody songs lampooning both the music and genres of the songs themselves and life in general have been of enormous popularity. Turns out Al just tuned fifty years old, and Sandy wanted to commission me to do an original for him. Al is a big fan of MAD, and she wanted to get him a caricature done by one of their artists.

My thought was to do something a little more “MAD” than just a caricature, so I thought a mock cover might be a good idea. The result is above, done in a combination of acrylic, water¬¨‚Ć color and airbrush. Here is the original pencil sketch I sent for Sandy’ approval-

Click this one for a closer look as well…

I got a nice e-mail from Al a few days ago that included the picture below, saying he loved the art. I’m glad, I’ve enjoyed his work since high school and it was a real privilege to get to do this little painting for him (and for the talented and charming Sandy, of course). Happy belated 50th birthday, Al!


  1. Jules says:

    Awesome, Tom!

  2. Jason Cross says:

    Spot on. Great. Good likeness for Alfred too. I’m sure he’ll put it on his Fan Art Page in the Hall of Fame. I’m number 417.

  3. Nate says:

    I can tell Al is pretty giddy about making the (mock) cover! Nice work, as always!

  4. Mark Engblom says:

    Sweet! Pretty cool being able to connect with the Weird One!

  5. Bruce Quast says:

    Fantastic! How do you handle the lettering on a job like this, Tom? Is it hand lettered and painted or is it printed?

    • Tom says:

      What I did was used some sticker letters from my wife’s scrapbooking arsenal as “frisket”, then airbrushed the background and peeled away the letters so what’s left is the white of the board.

    • Tom says:

      Oh, yeah… I hand painted the MAD logo.

  6. Anton Emdin says:

    Cool! And I want to know what old, decrepit painting of himself Al Yankovic has in his attic… the man doesn’t age!

  7. Emily says:

    That is one sweeeeet work! Love the line at the top!

  8. Fabulous job as always, Tom!

    All three of my kids are huge Weird Al fans (as are John and I) – so much so that they know his songs 100 times better than the original tunes he parodies 🙂 I think of his stuff as the MAD magazine of the music world so this illustration is particularly fitting.

  9. Jeff Zugale says:

    100% excellent, Tom! And happy birthday, Weird!

  10. Emilio Hernandez says:

    Woow, what a coincidence I’m from Mexico and almost unknown here in Weird, but a few weeks ago I started to listen and now they even seemed to go out in my favorite magazine MAD, that’s great

  11. George Cook says:

    Very cool!! The art is great, as always! I’ve been a fan of Weird Al for so many years, and I got to see him live, from outside the fence, 2 years ago when he was at one of the local festivals a few miles from here.


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