Tuesday, July 2, 2013


As we celebrate the anniversary this month of our nation's independence, I'm reminded of all the great American caricature artists whose works have enlivened newspapers, magazines, posters and assorted media with whimsical chronicling of our culture and mores.

Welcome to the July issue of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist.
I've mentioned Jack Davis and Mort Drucker in a previous issue devoted to Mad Magazine. And I've heralded the artistry of the Broadway theater's Al Herschfeld.

Then there's Bruce Stark and Sam Viviano.

Thomas Nast, of course, was the pre-eminent American political cartoonist of the 19th Century, also considered the "Father of the American Cartoon."

One guy whom I've always admired -- uniquely different from the aforementioned artists (who, of course, are unique unto themselves, as well...)  -- is David Levine (1921-2009).
Levine's pen and ink, cross-hatch style is both anachronistic and stylishly modern at the same time.
Here are Bill Clinton and Martha Stewart:

Wikipedia's bio on him notes:
The New York Times described Levine's illustrations as "macro-headed, somberly expressive, astringently probing and hardly ever flattering caricatures of intellectuals and athletes, politicians and potentates" that were "heavy in shadows cast by outsize noses on enormous, eccentrically shaped heads, and replete with exaggeratedly bad haircuts, 5 o’clock shadows, ill-conceived mustaches and other grooming foibles ... to make the famous seem peculiar-looking in order to take them down a peg". The paper commented: "His work was not only witty but serious, not only biting but deeply informed, and artful in a painterly sense as well as a literate one."[ Levine drew his most frequent subject, former president Richard Nixon, 66 times, depicting him as, among other things, the Godfather, Captain Queeg, and a fetus.
While I'm no David Levine...I am, partially, a "David." That's my middle name.

Here are a couple of recent pieces I've produced, both commissioned to acknowledge the achievements of the respective individual. In this case, a high school graduate with honors...and a successful businessman with novelty shops throughout South Carolina's beach communities.
Enjoy the 4th, and we'll see you again the first Tuesday of next month for another sketchy -- huh? -- installment of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist.