Sunday Mailbag

July 4th, 2010 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Are there any people, either friends or celebrities, you’ve drawn so many times you could do a pretty good job of drawing them purely from memory without using any sort of reference?

A: My first real job in published cartooning (if you can call working for the infamous NOW Comics a “real job”) was drawing a comic book called Married… with Children. I drew somewhere around 600 pages of that comic from 1991-1995. Even though it’s been 15 years since I did my last drawing of Ed O’Neill and Katie Segal as Al and Peg Bundy, I can still do pretty respectable caricature of them right out of my head:

I did that in about 10 minutes this morning from nothing but memory… not as accurate as I used to be perhaps, but not too far off either.

In fact, I can still draw the entire living room and den area with all the furniture in the proper place and the decor without looking up any reference. I have an organic CGI image map of that room burned into my brain after drawing it from many different angles over and over and over.

I feel the need to exonerate NOW Comics somewhat on my behalf, because although they had a bad reputation for paying people late or not at all, I got paid for almost everything I ever did for them (eventually) with the exception of about 12 pages of the last issue of “Lotto Fever” that never got finished or published anyway. There were a lot of good people working for NOW that I enjoyed working with, and that experience was very important in my career. You can read about the whole sorted saga here if you are so inclined.

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!


  1. Jose says:

    Has any of your Married With Children books been reprinted, or collected in a trade? I actually bought some of those issues back in the day when I first got into comic books (don’t know where they are now though). It would be interesting to go book and look it at now knowing Tom Richmond was the artist.

    • Tom says:

      God, no. I hope that never happens. Most of that work is truly awful and embarrassing to me today. I was just a kid with some pretty rough drawing skills at the time, and only got the work because of circumstances being what they were with the booming comics industry and the trouble NOW had getting real pros to work for them. Only the very last few issues I did showed any glimmers of me “getting it”.

      I’m not being falsely modest here. This work really was crap. I’m grateful I got to do it and learn from it, but I look at it as student work at best and am very glad I have come a long way since those days with my skills. Hopefully I will continue to grow and look back at the work I am doing today in 15-20 years and think it’s crap as well.

  2. Zach says:

    Tom your blog is great! I love to study all of your celebrity caricatures. In honor of Wonder Woman’s 600th issue, I’d love to see your version of Lynda Carter as WW some day 🙂 I think out of all the super hero nods in Mad, I’ve never seen Wondie. 🙁


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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