Q: I would think drawing caricatures in a theme park would be stressful simply because many times you have people – often friends or family of whoever is being drawn – looking over your shoulder, watching, and telling the person how much it does or doesn’t look like them. What happens when you realize you’ve started off on the wrong foot? Do you just plow through and try to correct it, or have you ever torn off the sheet, crumpled it up, and said, “OK, let’s try this again”?
A: I very seldom ever start over. Likeness in caricature can be achieved in a variety of ways… sometimes all you have to do is get one thing exactly right, like the eyes for example, and it will carry you through other questionable decisions. I sometimes describe a caricature that was going off track but ends up as a pretty decent likeness as a leaping, over the head sideways catch in deep center field with the sun in your eyes. Worst case I can always use my eraser, but I will go whole days without using it.
The rare time that I see I have blown it from the very beginning I will stop and start over. I can usually tell within the first minute or so that this is the case, and will do something creative line pretend to sneeze on the drawing or break my lead in mid stroke, or just say to myself but out loud: “Gotta remember… no warts. NO WARTS.” and then grab a fresh sheet of paper.
As for dealing with “the peanut gallery” and their comments as I draw, that is part of the job. Most people are complimentary when they make comments, so the few that aren’t are easy to ignore or make fun of. A little eye rolling or my own comment about how unoriginal their comments are will usually shut them up. I also personally have found that as I became more and more into bodybuilding the number of smart assed comments by onlookers have gone steadily down… one of the benefits of having 18″ arms!
Thanks to Ed Placencia 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!
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929 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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