Sunday Mailbag- Exaggerated Body Movement?

June 11th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: My question is about how you decide to exaggerate the body movements on your caricatures. In the most recent MAD you have Chris Hardwick having his neck stretched way beyond what any human could possibly do, in some other parodies I have seen similar cartoony images. Does the art director decide when to have this or is it a personal choice.

A: Here’s the panel in question:

No, that’s up to me as the artist to decide when something like that is appropriate.

Some written action or jokes in a parody demand “physical comedy” in the visuals to help “sell the gag”, and sometimes I add something like this to help solve a particular problem while adding some visual humor. In this panel, for example, the contestant on the show is saying something aggressive to Chris and the script describes him as “picking Chris up the collar”. Since Chris is a pretty short guy, and I have only a short, horizontal space to work with here, I decided to do the long, stretched out neck image to add a little extra humor to the panel while still showing how short Chris is compared to this big guy.

That’s the beauty of doing comic style art, you are not fettered by the confines of the physical universe. I can get a little zany here and there to add more humor and fun to the story. I try not to get too “out there” so it takes the reader out of the story, but in the right places a little Tex Avery action can go a long way.

Thanks to Sean French 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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