Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some Giraffe Studies, A brief List of My Favorite Caricaturists

Here are a couple of giraffe studies for an new project.

Having fun stretching the giraffe anatomy a little bit, but I'd like to still take it a little further. Reg got me an early birthday present--a big Gerald Scarfe career spanning monograph. Scarfe is truly my favorite contemporary caricature artist by far, and he's a little bit of an influence on the exaggeration in these pieces.


There's a trend towards a more photo real approach to caricature today. They wow you with their rendering skills and all these beautiful textures, but there's a sameness to the style. I occasionally see someone who works in this style who does impressive work, but they all tend to blur together in my head. You don't see the nuance of a Drew Friedman, who doesn't distort his caricatures in that obvious way so many caricaturists do who work in that mode. I don't mind this kind of elasticity in more line based caricature, but in the more photo-based stuff it gets a little old.

The other caricaturists I like are Jack Davis, Steve Brodner, Jack Levine and Phillip Burke. Illustration savvy folks will probably see these as the usual suspects, but there are other greats from the pre-Jack Davis era, and lately Drew Friedman has been featuring a number of them on his blog. You can see Friedman's blog:


You might have to backtrack a few entries to earlier posts before you get to these artists, but it's worth the journey to check out some great examples of Friedman's art as well, including the legendary Barfo toys he did for Topps.

Here's one by Friedman:

And here's one by Jack Davis:

But I like him even more for stuff like this:

and even more than that for his early work in E. C. war comics:

And one by Steve Brodner:

Phillip Burke:

and Dave Levine:

But Scarfe continues to be my absolute favorite, and you can see why,

you can see more of Scarfe's work,


Part of the reason I love Scarfe is his amazing line. I've always been a line guy, so his work really appeals to me.

Oh, and I almost forgot Al Hirschfeld, who's right up there with Scarfe, but who recently passed away. I'm not sure how I could have forgotten Hirschfeld. Another all-time favorite next to Scarfe.

You can see more of Hirschfeld's work,


Still waiting to hear about the sketches for the SCBWI Illustrator's conference project that Joann Hill from Disney/Hyperion is art directing. I should be hearing back from Hill on monday. A recap: 15 people attending the conference signed up to do two pages and a spread for a picture book text selected by Joann Hill, who will art direct sketches, and critique one finish at the conference. We're all new to the industry so it's a valuable exercise. The giraffe is unrelated to the Hill project.


  1. Love Burke and Hirschfield. See what you mean, though, about caricaturists. Stylistic approaches tend to become trendy. If I see a portrait I love, I try not to look too long, for fear that it may show up on my canvas.

  2. I love all these guys too!!! Do you know Nate Kapnicky? Do you know Joe Bluhm?