The smaller image to your right, which you can see full-size by clicking on it, is currently running in The Chicago Tribune’s special Inaugural Edition — courtesy of (and copyrighted by) Tribune Media Services, Inc.
The original version of the illustration is pictured below. However, Tribune Media Services rejected the shoes, concerned that they posed editorial commentary that might scare off advertisers. So, employing a light-box to trace the bottom of the original, I removed the shoes and replaced them with our second president, John Adams. Then, with the help of my wife, who is a whiz on Photoshop, the revision was carefully grafted onto the original scan. From the standpoint of composition, the inclusion of Adams makes for a better piece, I think. But it came at the cost of humor — or at least my lame attempt to be funny.
It should be noted that Barack Obama is easy to caricature — as have all the presidents I’ve covered professionally, beginning with Nixon. With one glaring exception: George W. Bush. I found him a pain in the neck to caricature these past eight years, and for that reason alone am glad to see him go. That’s not to suggest he wasn’t funny. His presidency has been hilarious, without even trying. In fact, both Bush and Bill Clinton have been an incredible gift to editorial cartoonists. However, as a caricaturist, I’m expected to come up with dead-on caricatures of each and every president — and, more often than not, my caricatures of George W. Bush were…ho-hum at best. I’m not entirely sure why. Poppy Bush was a snap to caricature.
But more about my “Dub’yuh Problem” in another blog. As for Barack Obama, my concern is that the guy just isn’t funny. Maybe he’s too “cool” to be funny? But, then, maybe the mirth will finally begin once he’s taken the Oath of Office and his family has settled into their new home? Time will tell — and in short order, we hope.
In the meantime, if you’d like to see a gallery of my caricatures and cartoons, click here.
In coming blogs, I plan to explore the nature of caricature in some detail, as well as comment on the news here and there…for what it’s worth.
But I’m curious: Do the few of you who might actually view this introductory blog have a preference for one version of the presidents over the other? Shoes or John Adams. Lemme know!
In case there’s any doubt, the presidents featured, more or less clockways from the top around Obama are: Bill Clinton; Abraham Lincoln; Franklin Roosevelt; Ronald Reagan; Thomas Jefferson; Andrew Jackson; Harry Truman; Ulysses Grant; Richard Nixon; Jimmy Carter; John Adams; George W. Bush; Teddy Roosevelt; Woodrow Wilson; John F. Kennedy; George Washington.