No coronavirus cartoons today (you should go to Cagle.com for that).
My cartoonist buddy, the great Randy Enos shares a story about an unusually real job. –Daryl
Last year an author friend of mine asked me a favor. He wanted to know whether I’d forsake my regular drawing style to illustrate a book he was writing which consisted of interviews he had with 47 well known writers of popular fiction. He had seen some artist who had done realistic simple line drawings for, I think, The New York Times Book Review section. He didn’t want color or shading and he certainly didn’t want caricatures. Would I be willing to try drawing something realistic and not cartoony for him? I thought it might be a challenge and an interesting adventure so I agreed to try it.
Only a couple of times in my career have I ventured into this arena. Once was a series of realistic hands I had done for New York Magazine and the other was a few ads for N.B.C. back in the late 60’s. They would run these “piggy-back” ads for various shows, one on top of another in the Times. They preferred to work with just one artist on these projects so I was compelled to work in three different styles so it would look like three different artists. I would do one in my regular linocut style and one in a stylized pen and ink style and one very realistically drawn.
In both of these cases, I don’t think I did a very good job with the “realism”. So, here I was once again giving it a try. I’m a masochist.
At first, I just couldn’t help it… the exaggeration just kept creeping in. I had been doing caricatures for too many years and it was hard to break out of that mold. My friend, the author, wasn’t pleased but he had so much faith in me that I was determined to make it work. It was kind of a little vacation from drawing cartoons. I kept plodding on. I decided to draw them in pencil and I forced myself to “play it straight” and resist all my urges to make that nose a little bigger…exaggerate those face wrinkles and have a lot of fun with those ears.
The idea was that I would just do a simple head of each author for the beginning of every chapter.
I searched the web for photos of them being baffled at times to see how different they looked at different times. When they were posing for a book jacket shot, they were prettied up a lot so I preferred it when I could find candid shots of them at home or at a gathering or a book signing. I was blowing up some very blurry photos sometimes to see what they looked like. You see, I was working under the disadvantage of not knowing what any of them looked like before hand. I was not familiar with any of the writers in this genre.
I ended up surprising myself by actually enjoying this foreign exploration into the world of a realistic illustrator.
I’ll probably never do it again. It’s really not as much fun as being a caricaturist.
Our newspaper clients are crashing now as Coronavirus is crushing their advertisers. We need your support for Cagle.com (and DarylCagle.com) now more than ever! Notice that we run no advertising! We depend entirely upon the generosity of our readers to sustain the site. Please visit Cagle.com/heroes and make a contribution. You are much appreciated!
Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories: