Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Spike Jones is a caricaturist's dream (above)! His head is shaped like an upright football, with a wide, cartoony middle section, and a narrow top and bottom.

The young Liberace had a fascinating face (above)! It was wide with heavily padded cheeks, tiny eyes and a thin, pointed nose and chin. The teeth were tucked way in under the nose, and the hair was combed up and back, making it look like it was on fire.

The older Liberace (above) looks a lot more normal. Plastic surgery?

BTW, this clip is really funny. If you're rushed, then start it at the 2 1/2 minute mark.

Who is this (above)? He has a wonderfully comic face (above) set off by a round, volumetric body and interesting vest wrinkles. Vests were God's gift to caricaturists, but nobody wears them anymore.

This (above) is A. J. Muste, a famous pacifist and thorn in the side of the Johnson Administration. He had a long, narrow head with a huge pointed nose, thick horn rims and a high, bread loaf fedora. This reminds me that most artists don't draw fedoras big enough. A good fedora always changes the head shape, always looks a bit too straight up and awkward.

This (above) is the Mount Everest of eccentric fedoras...true royalty of the hat world. I love the way the hat continues the outline of the hair. If I ever see these on sale I'll hock my children to get the money to buy one.

Stepin Fetchit's half closed eyes (above) and high eyebrows were his trademarks, but the thing that really made them work was the "U" shaped bulge above his nose.

Charles Laughton (above) had even more facial padding than Liberace, but in Laughton's case the pads are relaxed and friendly, and even a little floppy. His face consists of small circles (above) embedded inside larger circles; spheres overlapping spheres.

Last but not least is Louis B. Mayer (above). His head and body look bland and ordinary, but his eyes are 1,000% alert and ready to go on the offensive. It's the contradiction of blandness and unexpected vitality that makes this picture hard to put down.

BTW, I'm in a podcast on the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive site!!!!!! This is the second installment, and this came out a lot better than the first. I talk about drawing theories, story, direction, how to do difficult assignments and all that. If you're curious to hear what I have to say, then give a listen!


thomas said...

I guess Spike Jones made lemonade out of his lemon of a face. Isn't his head kind of lemon shaped?

thomas said...

"The word fedora comes from the title of an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou, Fédora, written for Sarah Bernhardt.[2] The play was first performed in the U.S. in 1889. Bernhardt played Princess Fédora, the heroine of the play, and she wore a hat similar to a fedora. The fedora became a female fashion which lasted into the early part of the twentieth century. "

Adam Tavares said...

Charles Laughton looks just like that Fox News pundit / doomsday nutcase, Glenn Beck. Spike his hair and give him a polo and they'd be twins!

Kali Fontecchio said...

Great head collection!

RooniMan said...

I tip my hat to you, Mr. Fitzgerald.

Jennifer said...

Uncle Eddie's going to be on a podcast - yea!

The Red Skelton picture had me laughing.

I, too, suspect that Liberace had some cosmetic procedures done on himself a little later in life.

Adam: Please don't insult Charles Laughton like that. :)

RooniMan said...

So many possiblities out there... it's a jungle.

mike f. said...

That's John Bunny, a great silent film clown of the teens. He starred in a series of Jiggs & Maggie-type domestic comedies with a beanpole comedienne named Flora Finch.

Also, I'm pretty sure that's Louis B. Mayer, not Harry Cohn.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Thomas. Mike: Thomas: Many thanks for the info and corrections!

Pete Emslie said...

I always thought Spike Jones looked like a caricatured version of Jimmy Cagney. (As if Cagney himself wasn't enough of a caricature to begin with!)

In today's films, actors are too normal looking, not anything like the greats of yesteryear. A couple of faces I do like today however are those belonging to director, Quentin Tarantino, and former Clinton campaigner, James Carville. Do a Google image search on Carville and you'll see some very funny comparisons to Gollum!

Anonymous said...

http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-honeymooners-better-living-through-television,39073/ Think you might find this interesting.

Nate Bear said...

Completely off topic, but this blog is the only way I know to reach you, Eddie. Just wanted to share a bit of my dream. It mostly consisted of frustrated sexual situations and dream symbols telling me that my throat was very dry in real life and that I should get a glass of water. Any the last thing I was doing before I woke up was feverishly drawing a cartoon portrait of You. All the while my fiancée is calling me to come back to bed (still in the dream). The funny thing about drawing in my dream is that it was extremely vivid compared to other events and I was making aesthetic choices in I way I might in waking life. In short, your nose was hard to capture.

Hope that wasn't TMI. I'll make a point to read this blog post in the AM and contribute something relevant. Goodnite!

Brubaker said...

Listened to your podcast this morning (well, parts of it. I had to leave).

I think you saved me from insanity with your comment on loads and loads of characters in animation vs. live-action. I might follow that in the future.

Zoran Taylor said...

Nice reference.

Another one.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Pete: I looked it up and you're right! Carville looks a lot like Gollum! Hilarious!

Nate: Haw! I always thought my nose was easy to draw because any shape that's really long kind of works.

Zoran: Great pictures! I can use them in another post. Many thanks!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: Holy Cow! It looks like a great article and video. Unfortunately I discovered it when I'm too sleepy to keep my eyes open. I bookmarked it for tomorrow! Many thanks!!!

Zoran Taylor said...

You're quite welcome, Eddie.

Gotta love News Hands.