Some of my earliest training in art school was learning to do caricatures from my mentor and Dean of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, John Johns. The school had a small team of artists who would attend festivals and private events to entertain guests by doing caricatures from live sittings. Johns taught me how to find the outstanding attributes of someone’s likeness. You had to be fast and playful with the subjects. Poking fun with drawing can generate a big laugh at a party or gathering, however, the down side is that not everyone is pleased with pointing out a feature of which they may be self-conscious. After wounding a friend with a wicked interpretation, I stopped doing live caricatures.
This training was put on hold for decades and suddenly emerged with an assignment out of the blue to do an album cover of well-known recording artists. My work for MAD Magazine hinted at my ability to draw a caricature but always stayed safely on the kind side of mockery. This project never came to fruition, but it honed me for several other projects that came in all asking for caricatures. It seemed to be a trend even though I was not promoting my work this way. In a matter of months, I had some fresh work to show for style that had been dormant for so long. I do enjoy the playful art form, at the expense of strangers!