Sunday Mailbag- Portrait or Caricature?

November 12th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Is it more difficult to draw ‘realism’ and general portraits, than to draw caricatures? Initially I thought it would be easier to draw caricatures as I have seen street artists draw caricatures quite quickly and they look great but seeing yours it looks quite difficult. With a normal portrait you just draw what you are looking at but with caricatures you have to sort of make it up yourself, larger forehead, larger chin etc then working out with exaggeration goes with each individual. A: I think it’s equally difficult to draw a truly excellent caricature and an excellent realistic portrait, but from a technical… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Finding Reference?

November 5th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Whenever I need to browse the internet for a reference I worry that any photo that comes up has been and is being used by a hundred other artists. We’re all referencing the same 2004 Prius or photo of Johnny Carson! So I try to find videos for my reference material so I can pause the subject in a way that is hopefully different from everyone else’s reference photo. Do you ever run into this? You must reference a TON when putting together a parody. A: Everybody uses the web to search for reference these days, so it’s common to be working from the… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Exaggerating Color?

October 29th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: In a lot of caricatures of President Trump, the illustrator will exaggerate the orange-ness of his skin. You’ve spoken and written a lot about exaggerating features, but in what situations is it acceptable to exaggerate color?  I imagine someone who is drawn green around the gills (sick) or exceedingly red (angry or sunburned) could be humorous, but in other instances an exaggeration of color (specifically skin) could be deemed racially insensitive, for example. When is it important to match color as closely as possible, and when do you choose to exaggerate it? A: That’s an interesting question. I’d never really thought about it before. I’d… READ MORE

Mailbag Empty!

October 21st, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Looks like it’s that time again… no questions to answer in the mailbag. I actually only have to post this maybe once or twice a year, and only because many of the questions I get are repeats of ones I have answered more than once in the past (I’ve had this feature running for over ten years, and this is the 530th “mailbag” post) or of the “please show me how to crosshatch” variety that are impossible to answer in a few paragraphs. It’s entirely possible that people have run out of questions. There are only so many questions people might have about freelancing, illustration,… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Big Ego?

October 15th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: In the description of you for the Lakes Comics Festival, it calls you “the world’s greatest living caricaturist”. Seriously? Do you really believe that? A: I take it you assume I wrote that blurb, or that I even saw it to approve it before it was plastered all over the promotional materials for the show. You don’t know much about how these kinds of things work and the hyperbole sometimes used. I didn’t see that until they started making big announcements about the festival and by then it was too late to do anything about it. I was quite embarrassed and had I been… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- New MAD West Coast News?

October 8th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: As a 53 year subscriber to Mad, I am both apprehensive and excited about the upcoming move and changes.  I was wondering if you learned anything more about the changes coming during NYC Comic Con and also if you will still be involved with the “new” magazine and whatever online things they are planning? A: DC Entertainment paid a lot of attention to MAD at NYCC this year, theming their annual party around the magazine (I had a couple of pints of “Pale Ale Jaffee” at the party) and otherwise giving the New York staff some appreciation for the many years of stellar work.… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Jet Lag?

October 1st, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: You have already been to China and Germany this year. How are you dealing with jet lag? Especially when coming home and having to meet deadlines. A: I thought this was an interesting question even though it has nothing to do with art. I’ve dealt with let lag many time with all my trips to the middle east for the USO, travels to Australia and Europe for cartooning events and trips I’ve taken for pain old fun. There are many opinions about how to deal with jet lag and some people will swear by certain methods and remedies to help with it. Some can… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Uncomfortable Requests?

September 24th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: What is the strangest thing you’ve been asked to draw, and did you actually do it? How do you handle a request that you just flat out feel uncomfortable doing? The reason I ask is because I got a request for a commission of a deceased person. While this is a bit odd (for some reason a few people a year request these-either at a party job or as a commission), I generally oblige on a case by case. What makes this one super odd-probably in my top 3-is that a woman wanted a gift caricature drawn of a family member’s baby who died at… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Big MAD Changes?

September 10th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: With MAD’s move to the west coast in 2018, and the resulting almost complete turnover in editorial and art staff, do you expect big changes with the magazine? A: I think changes are inevitable, but there is nothing wrong with that. Change can be a good thing, staying the same forever is a recipe for staleness, irrelevance, and eventually demise. Certainly we can expect the new editorial and art team led by new V.P Executive Editor Bill Morrison, to put their own stamp on MAD. BIG changes, though? I don’t think Bill and co. will do anything to change the MAD zeitgeist… in other… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Caricature Art Devalued?

September 3rd, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: I do caricatures more as a hobby right now but hope to do more of it as part of a business. As I explore the market I would like to throw this out for debate: I wonder if the appreciation for the value of caricature and cartoon art has decreased over time due to the fact that there is so much fragmentation in how people can view art now. Art can be quickly accessed and viewed on the internet, mobile phones, YouTube, TV, e-books, e-mags etc. Is traditional caricature and cartooning now considered more “old school”? Comic strip characters are no longer the rage… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag: Writing?

August 27th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: You are excellent at drawing, but for me your writing is excellent too. How did you learn to write? Some time ago I’ve read William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well”. You are always following his four articles of faith: clarity, simplicity, brevity and humanity. A: Thanks for the compliment. I’ve always loved to write, but have had no formal training past what everyone got in high school. That makes my writing long on message and context but short on grammar, punctuation, and structure. What grasp of the language I have I credit to my mom for forcing my siblings and me to speak correct English.… READ MORE

Sunday Mailbag- Drawing Easel?

August 13th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Which kind of easel do you use when drawing live caricatures? A: I don’t use an easel per se but rather a drawing/drafting table or drawing board when I do live caricatures. It depends on if I’m drawing them at a theme park or a convention/event. At the theme parks we use drafting tables that have been modified. I replace the laminated pressboard table top with a custom made laminated plywood board (much lighter and thinner) that has a drawing paper holding tray on the underside of it, a clip scavenged off of a clipboard for holding the piece of paper I am drawing… READ MORE


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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