Celebrities Behaving Badly

Caricature is tough; fun, but tough. I don't have a lot of confidence in my caricature skills. I grew up admiring the MAD magazine work of Jack Davis and Mort Drucker but I haven't reached a point where I'm comfortable trying to do what they do so masterfully.

Working at a newspaper, the opportunity for celebrity caricature comes up from time to time, but not often enough to get really good at it. When they ask me to this kind of thing, I whine a little, I shuffle my feet and say that I'm not sure I can do it, but I always do it because, secretly, I want to. I like to pretend I'm Mort Drucker for a day.

This assignment was fraught with danger, not only due to the number of caricatures, but because the column was about a wide array of celebrity misdeeds, and some of those misdeeds were WAY too salacious to represent visually.

The newspaper is not MAD, so even the wink and the pinch and the leer are considered edgy. I've done a few slightly-over-the-line works in the past and it's just not worth the worry and the hassle to press those buttons too often. In my decade of creating artwork for the paper, the ratio of complaints to compliments is 100 to none.* Nobody gets in touch with the paper unless they're ticked off. I'm afraid the illustration comes across as a little dull, but that's on purpose this time. I let the writer humorously describe all the naughty bits without any obvious imagery to get in the way.

Tony Hicks wrote the story and his work is always a natural fit for my cartoony style; he has a nice and easy comedic touch, so I think they sit well together on the page. 

Celebrity key: Conan and Jay up top. Then, Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Prez W. Left to right across the bottom is Charlie Sheen, Jesse James, Mel Gibson (and friend), Taylor Momsen and John Mayer. I'm a bit of a pop-culture ignoramus post-1990 so I've never even heard of those last two. Maybe a lack of familiarity is why they don't seem to look like them... that's my excuse.

Otherwise, I think I've done okay, but my feeling is I've drawn a few likenesses rather than true caricatures... oh, forget that! I'm stopping here. That's a whole 'nother discussion. 
The End 

*Exaggeration. I've gotten, I believe, two compliments from the readers, but I couldn't prove it.


  1. I really must pay attention to the artist with the art work in the paper Jeff! I believe I did however see this and I will say I admired the work....and you read MAD magazine? I never knew...By the way I always read Tony Hicks..he is quite funny!

  2. Pretty decent likenesses all around , you should be pleased with how it turned out.

    Davis and Drucker were gods of this style of caricature , it's always best to set the bar high.

  3. Hey Ellen! Of course I read MAD. Pop had a few when I was little, and I pretty much read most of the issues through the 70s and early 80s. Still have my Star Wars parody issue! Tony Hicks is REALLY good! I wish they'd give him a permanent blog space so I could link to it. Maybe they have, I'll check on that.

    Dominic. Thanks! I think they look alright-- that Mayer guy was toughest and I think my only clear miss. Just a typical mild-featured handsome young guy, so it's hard to grab hold of something. Just like me, I guess, if you play fast and loose with the "young" part. And the handsome part.

    Davis and Drucker absolutely ruled my childhood. Jack Davis, particularly-- his drawings were everywhere, TV, bubble gum cards, magazines, displays at the grocery store... everywhere.

    Do you follow Tom Richmond's blog? He's my favorite MAD guy now, cut from the same mold. Really awesome work.