When I put up those Harvey Pekar sketches last week, I mentioned that neither of the drawings were in my “usual” style of doing a likeness. At this point in my career, I’m not sure I have a style, but I do have some vague idea of what sort of final drawing will look right to my eyes, and these ideas are usually rooted in Mort Drucker and John Severin…two of the great Mad artists of my youth.
As you can see by the drawing of a young Jay Leno (done for a Canadian TV Guide some years ago) and the Movie Spock (done for my own amusement last year), my line work tends towards Drucker’s when I’m just trying to make a portrait.
Oddly enough, when I fit a likeness into a story (as I did with these panels from various editions of the Factoid BIG BOOK series, or as I’m currently doing with my fun Dexter gig), I find my line work and sensibility tends towards John Severin. Probably because Severin was slavishly realistic, and Drucker was more playful.
Either way, when you add the Jack Davis influence in the Pekar drawing below (coupled with a blatant attempt to inject a little R. Crumb in there, another Harvey Kurtzman protege), I’ve obviously never gotten over my early crush on Mad Magazine.
And I ain’t never gonna.
Ty the Guy
Posted in American Splendor, Dead Celebrity Jokes, Harvey Pekar, Mad Magazine, Ty Templeton
Tagged American Splendor, cartoons, comic art, Dead Celebrity Jokes, Frank Sinatra, Harvey Kurtzman, Harvey Pekar, Jack Davis, Jay Leno, John Severin, Leonard Nimoy, Mad Magazine, Mia Farrow, Mort Drucker, Orson Welles, Portraits, Robert Crumb, sketches, Spock, Star Trek, Woody Allen
Here’s a couple of drawings I did this week to celebrate Harvey Pekar’s 70th Birthday.
(Click to see the many lovely contributions from a host of other artists at the Harvey Pekar Project Online at smithmag.net)
The realistic portrait I did first– sort of in the the style of Gene Day. My wife had recently coloured a portrait of Gene for her work, and it had caused a mild nostalgia in me, enough to pull out a bunch of Gene’s Batmans and Masters of Kung Fu… With all those comics in my brain Gene’s style crept into my hands as I was sketching this portrait of Harvey, which it’s never done before, but I’m clearly more of a Zelig than I wish to be. AK! GHOST OF GENE DAY!!
In the long run, I didn’t like the Gene Day-ish drawing because it’s basically just a portrait of Harvey, sketched from a photo, and really, didn’t bring anything to his unique and iconic character– beyond my skills to capture a likeness, and an odd departure for the way I usually draw (which, when I do portraits, is far more like Mort Drucker –I’ll show you guys later…).
So after an hour or so of carefully capturing Mr. Pekar’s likeness, and inking and washing it in a casual style (to disguise all the labour and erasing in doing the basic portrait), I tossed the whole thing out, and did a cartoon of Harvey out of my head in about three minutes that feels like HARVEY PEKAR to me, even if it doesn’t look as exactly like him. The madness, the beauty and the Harvey-ness of the character is more “correct” IMHO, when rendered in an expressionist and unconscious way. Somehow, making it look too much like Harvey the human being, is almost a disservice to Harvey, the beloved comic character.
And I know he’d disagree with me, which is why I LOVE the man.
Happy Birthday Harvey. You are a treasure to our medium, and it’s always a joy to share a page or a conversation with you.
Now, is it just me, or does the second one look like “Middle-Aged Man Logan?”.
Posted in American Splendor, Harvey Pekar, Mad Magazine, The Joe Shuster Awards, Ty Templeton
Tagged American Splendor, Gene Day, Ghost, Harvey Pekar, Jack Davis, Mad Magazine, Masters of Kung Fu, Mort Drucker, original art, original comic art, R. Crumb, Ty Templeton