Patrick Corrigan, the cartoonist for the Toronto Star, sent me this caricature of Obama (left) that his editor refused to run, because it was too much of a "racial stereotype." I asked Patrick about the blue lips, because I've noticed that Thomas "Tab" Boldt, of the Calgary Sun and Cam Cardow of the Ottawa Citizen, also draw Obama with blue lips (see below).Â Patrick told me that everybody in Canada, in the winter, has blue lips.
I've gotten a lot of questions recently on drawing Obama; people want to know about racial stereotypes and whether cartoonists are being pressured to draw him a certain way.Â When I was working as an illustrator I was often given clear guidelines on how I was supposed to draw African-Americans: with small noses and thin lips.Â I was instructed to make any crowds of cartoon characters racially diverse, but only diverse in color, not in facial features.
One reporter recently asked me if I thought the huge ears the cartoonists are all giving Obama are racist and I said "no," I haven't heard of huge ears being a racist thing; the ears seem to be a holdover from the Bush administration.
Most cartoonists look for an interesting feature in a face and make that feature bigger.Â For Bush it was his assymetrical upper lip, which became huge in the cartoons. Bush's upper lip wasn't really big, it was just interesting.Â I suppose Obama's lips pose a dilemma for cartoonists who want to draw him with big "“ or blue lips.Â Obama's lips are dark and expressive.Â Maybe it is better to make his lips blue rather than fat.Â I make Obama's lips wide, often going off the edges of his face.Â I may start giving Obama blue lips too "“ in solidarity with my cold, Canadian, cartoonist colleagues.
So far, Patrick's Obama drawing is the first one I've heard of that was killed because it was too much of a racial stereotype.Â I'm on the lookout for more.
See Patrick Corrigan,Â Cam Cardow and Thomas "Tab" Boldt's cartoon archives on Cagle.com.
Blue lipped Obama by Tab.
Blue lipped Obama by Cam Cardow.