Sunday, March 14, 2010

Taking a Quick "Tom" Out

We interrupt this seemingly endless stream of posts about last year's trip to Ireland to direct your attention to the extremely talented cartoonist/caricaturist Tom Richmond. Not only is he a regular contributor to MAD Magazine (and countless other outlets), but he has a blog he keeps up on a regular basis. How he has time to crank out these amazing works of art and keep up a blog, I'll never know.

I like to pick up the pen and doodle from time to time. Sometimes I'm actually happy with how it turns out. And sometimes, I'm not. There's a reason I've always referred to myself as a "doodler" and not as an "artist": I recognize the fact that I don't have the patience to do what it takes to actually better my craft. I think I could be pretty good, I just don't wanna work at it. Wow, how bad does that sound? But at least it's honest. I grab my pen and I draw and whatever happens happens (I know I'm supposed to pencil it out first and get that rough sketch going, but by the time I've drawn something once, I've pretty much lost interest and want to move on.) Usually if I try to doodle someone and it doesn't work out by the second attempt, I'm over it. I wonder if there's a such thing as artistic A.D.D.? If you don't think so, then let me introduce you to the guitar I bought but never learned, the keyboard I bought but never learned (except for Dana Carvey's "Choppin' Broccoli;" I taught myself that and I'm pretty proud of it), and the ukulele I borrowed but never learned.

Which is why I love Tom Richmond's blog (you thought I lost my place, didn't ya?). If nothing else, his blog shows exactly just how much of a pro he is. You can't read one of his entries and not get a feel for how much he loves what he's doing. It's his passion, and it shows. You gotta admire that. This guy doesn't just doodle. He works.

For someone like me who enjoys the How-They-Did-It bonus features on a DVD as much as the film itself (and sometimes more. Hello, Forrest Gump), Tom's blog is a great peek behind the curtain to see what the wizard is doing and how he does it. He writes about projects he's working on, posts rough sketches to show before-and-after progress, and even supplies a sketch o' the week. Tom also blogs about things he finds interesting and passes them along, which is how I found out about (and ended up submitting to) National Doodle Day.

Every Sunday he fields questions from his readers and, not only answers them, but he answers them. Growing up a MAD reader myself, I always wondered about the caricaturists who drew the TV and movie parodies and the people in the background of the cartoons. Were they also caricatures of real people, or just figments of the artists' imaginations? Well, today I got my answer.

If, like me, you love your Google Reader (or whatever blog notification updater thing you use) then you'll want to add Tom's blog to your stream. You won't be disappointed.

Ed's note: It just hit me that Tom is the second MAD artist I've gushed about in the last three months (I wrote about my encounter with Sam Vivano back in December).  Apparently there's something about that publication that attracts good people. Either that, or I'm just looking for an excuse to read MAD and almost be 40 at the same time.

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