Interview Alan Davis
Bacall and Bogey
You draw caricatures. What is the most difficult aspect of drawing a good caricature?
The most difficult is getting the likeness, which is the main thing in my opinion. You can draw every feature (eyes, nose mouth, etc.) perfectly and still somehow it doesn't look like the subject. Sometimes I have to play around for quite a while changing the sizes and distances between them until I finally get it.
Which artists do you admire?
Mort Drucker from MAD was my first inspiration, I admire Tom Richmond's work (the latest MAD caricaturist) also. Of course the legendary Al Hershfield. Also Drew Friedman and Jason Seiler come to mind.
You specialize in drawing actors. What actor/actress was really hard to draw?
George Clooney was really hard for me (I still haven't done one I really like). I've tried Zooey Deschanel several times and still think I could do better. I've struggled with Audrey Hepburn too. Generally speaking, the more good looking they are, the harder to caricature. There's not so much to anchor the likeness to as in people with more pronounced features.
Do you regard your work art or part of pop culture?
Definitely art. Caricature is an impressionistic art form. The main reason I do cultural icons like movie and TV stars is the recognizability factor. I might draw my uncle Walt and capture him beautifully, but people would say, "nice drawing, but who's it supposed to be?"
Can you draw realistic portraits too, or do you automatically distort the faces?
I always considered myself a cartoonist/ caricaturist and never really wanted to draw anything seriously. But I think even if I attempted a straight portrait, I would have to emphasize certain facial features to get a good likeness, so there would some 'caricaturing' involved but to a much lesser degree.