Sunday Mailbag

September 23rd, 2012 | Posted in General

Q: Tom, what factors do you take into account on who (or what) to draw for “The Sketch O’ The Week”. I’ve noticed that you’ll draw someone who’s in a popular movie, or a person that’s currently on the news. What dictates your choice for the SoTW? Is it favoritism towards a celebrity you like? Or maybe someone who you enjoyed sketching out? Insight on this topic would be nice as I’m always entertained by the spontaneous decisions you make every week for the SoTW!

A: When I sit down to do the SotW, I usually just grab a current magazine and start paging through looking for an interesting face. There’s not much more to it than that, but because my source of reference is usually a current magazine, the subject ends up being someone who is currently in the news or in some recent, popular film, TV show or musical act. On occasion I will seek out a subject because they are particularly “hot” at the time due to whatever reason. My only real criteria is that I find the face interesting to draw, and they are a subject matter most people will recognize.

That said, there is a certain type of “celebrity” I flat out refuse to draw . . . reality TV “stars”. Not all of them, some actually are entertaining and I find interesting (I did the “Pawn Star” guys a while ago), but for most I would rather have my fingernails pulled out by a pair of pliers than contribute one iota to their undeserved fame. For example, you’ll never see a caricature of anyone from “Jersey Shore” on this website. Ditto any of the “Real Housewives” or “Teen Moms” shows . . . and I’ll hang up my pen forever before I draw Honey Boo Boo or any of her clan. The Lovely Anna is addicted to Pawn Stars and Storage Wars, both of which I think are engaging shows just because they are believable and show enough actual life oddness coupled with the interesting artifacts and stuff they find and look into that they keep my attention. More importantly, the people on these shows seems to be more interested in doing what they do than in being TV stars (unlike the other 99% of reality TV) and that makes them far more interesting to me.

One thing I don’t do for the Sketch o’the Week is take requests. If someone wants to make a suggestion, I would consider it if I am searching for a subject, but I won’t start a list of requests to fulfill . . . that would take the fun out of it for me.

Coincidentally, all this next week I am going to do a daily installment of “Sketch o’the Week”, something I have not done for a long time now. Just for fun!

Thanks to Cameron Briones for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar,¬¨‚Će-mail me¬¨‚Ćand I’ll try and answer it here!



  1. Jack Myhervold says:

    Should be fun to see a week of daily sketch’s next week. If you are able to do a week of sketch’s every few month’s or whatever, maybe on occasion you could have a theme week, like- 30’s and 40’s movie stars, or- classic situation comedy characters, or- “Tom’s Casting Call”, where you choose people you think would be well cast in an upcoming movie project, or casting for a movie re-make. As an example, (and not a request), Al Pacino wants to play Joe Paterno in any possible bio-pic. I’m picturing Joe Pesci as a better choice. Theme or no theme, the sketch’s are alway’s fun to see.

  2. Cameron says:

    Thanks Tom again for answering my question! Just a thought, when you mentioned you drew Pawn Stars you only did Old Man, Chumlee, and Cory. You forgot Rick! Who happens to be a staple to the show haha.

    • Tom says:

      I didn’t forget, I just got bored with them. I might get to Rick eventually.

      • Cameron says:

        Well that’s reassuring haha, Rick to me seems like a tough subject to caricaturize for some reason. I’m sure when you pull it off you won’t disappoint 😀

  3. Kyle says:

    If you are talking Storage Wars, may I suggest Barry, and his goofy/creepy skeleton gloves? He is the ghost of Charlie Sheen’s future!

  4. Joe says:

    I think you should draw those celebrities you disagree with despite contributing to their fame, because cartoons are an art form where you are meant to satire the subjects by showing how inevitably mutated all our appearances are, and by drawing them within the context of an entertaining display of their idiosyncrasies. Don’t let them get away with it.


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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