Sarah Palin Political Cartoons
I’m usually a bit slow on the uptake regarding celebrity scandals, unless those “celebrities” are politicians. However, the recent, alleged assault of Rihanna by her boyfriend, Chris Brown, presented a second opportunity for me to caricature the songstress. She is a superb piece of human sculpture, whose features are also easy to exaggerate. Her olive-green eyes help give her an unusual glow, as well. And, EYES, as I’ve mentioned before, are what caricature is really all about.
Aside from that, I’m really not interested in Rihanna’s troubled love life — though clearly Mr. Brown may have committed a serious crime here. As Rihanna has agreed to testify against him in any upcoming trial, he could well be looking at well-deserved jail time.
For me, though, such scandals can be a welcome break from politics — especially if they involve glamorous women. It’s a pleasant change from sitting around in my studio, day after day, caricaturing a zillion male politicians — plus Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. It’s an additional reason why editorial cartoonists and caricaturists were enamored of Sarah Palin. (Wow! Look at her — and she’s EASY TO DRAW!!!)
…Really, you think I’m the only guy cartoonist who felt this way about…Sarah? But don’t get me wrong, Ms. Clinton is quite attractive, at age 61, and Nancy Pelosi was probably a knockout as a younger woman — if you could look past the giant, praying mantis eyes!
But back to celebrities. Recently, I read that another glamorous couple was having a bout of marital strife, with hints of pushing and shoving. Actually, let me qualify that — a HALF-glamorous couple: Jennifer Lopez and salsa balladeer Marc Anthony. The latter bears some resemblance to a Puerto Rican coqui, a species of tiny treefrog — the males of which loudly repeat their name as a mating call.
Marc Anthony is almost TOO easy to caricature. Yet, what saves him is that he’s not a walking caricature, a la Jay Leno, whose face leaves nothing to the imagination. Jennifer Lopez, however, is another story. I’ve caricatured her numerous times, and she’s always a challenge. While her posterior is an obvious target, almost to the point of cliche (Is it REALLY that large? I’ve seen larger), her facial features are so smooth and symmetrical that they leave little for the caricatuist to grab hold of and mangle. So, most of my caricatures of Lopez have been somewhat middling. And even when they’ve worked, there’s just nothing inspiring or funny about her modestly lovely face. I’m just happy to have captured her likeness. The one exception — don’t know if you’ll agree — is a caricature I drew of Ms. Lopez some years back, in which she is smiling broadly. I’ve cropped her face for posting here. Let me know what you think. Thumbs up, thumbs down, a thumb in the eye — whatever.
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What is there to say about Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal? If mean, aside from his looking like he could play the role of Jamal in “Slumdog Millionaire II — The Dowry.” I really have nothing to add that “Kenneth the NBC page” on “30 Rock” hasn’t already said. I got that connection immediately when I saw Governor Jindal deliver his response to Barack Obama’s recent address to Congress. “That’s Jack McBrayer in…brownface!” I exclaimed to myself while watching and listening to the governor. The voice and gooberisms were nearly identical to the actor’s. All McBrayer would have needed was a strong sunlamp and some black shoe polish to rub in his hair.
This illustrates a peculiar problem editorial cartoonists and caricaturists are having these days, in addition to the devastating contractions occurring in the newspaper and magazine industries. I don’t know how we compete with “The Daily Show,” Stephen Colbert, YouTube and, on rare occasion, Saturday Night Live? While the latter hasn’t posed much of a threat in recent years, Tina Fey’s dead-on impression of Sarah Palin was so sharp and replayed so often, online as well as on television, that it became the only “caricature” of the Alaska governor anyone remembers. In capturing Governor Palin, one of Ms. Fey’s most impressive feats went beyond the winks and the goofy accent and phrases, or the fact that the two women bear a certain physical resemblance. It was what Tina Fey could do with her chin. The comic actress and writer has a quite narrow chin, yet she could transform it into the square-jawed look of Governor Palin. And she would tilt her chin up and hold it just so, as Governor Palin often does during her speeches, to express self-satisfaction at whatever sarcastic or screwball remark she has just uttered.
As for Bobby Jindal and Kenneth the page? Actor Jack McBrayer has already appeared on late night TV, spoofing the governor, standing in front of a spiral staircase, wearing the same loud tie and wishing everyone a “Happy Mardi Gras!” He beat me to the punch!
So, my guess is that whatever we REAL caricaturists and editorial cartoonists do to Bobby Jindal, the picture that will be remembered, perhaps forever, is the night he spoke in response to President Obama’s first speech before Congress, and did a spot-on impression of…Kenneth the NBC page.
If you’d like to see more samples of my work, click here. If not, don’t.