Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fifteen Famous Drunks

Here's a likeness-laden illo I drew exactly one year ago for Kristen Goodfriend at the Boston Phoenix, and I can't imagine a more appropriate week to trot it out. With an assignment like this one, (which, if I'm remembering correctly, had a three or four day turnaround), any notions about creating an eye-catching composition go right out the window. The job quickly boils down to fitting all the figures into the frame, getting the likenesses right, (hopefully) and meeting the deadline.

When Kristen called me with this assignment, it was one of those rare moments when I was simultaneously shivering with terror at the thought of cranking out fifteen caricatures over a weekend, and drooling over the opportunity to draw some of these notorious characters. Against my better judgment, I pounced; as it turned out, I got the drawing done minutes before presstime. Looking at it a year later, I'm not too unhappy with the result.

It's an odd group of legendary drinkers, (I'm sure we can all name a few who should be here but aren't), and I had to refer to last year's emails to remind myself who a couple of these folks are. Starting in the lower left corner, progressing from left to right, bottom to top, we have: Charles Bukowski, Tallulah Bankhead, Oliver Reed, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Jackie Gleason, Brendan Behan, The Pogues' Shane McGowan, Ozzy Osborne, Winston Churchill, Kingsley Amis, Guided By Voices' Robert Pollard, Red Sox pitcher David Wells, Modern Drunkard publisher Frank Kelly Rich, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner.

(this is one instance where I absolutely insist that you to click on the image for the enlarged version).

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I just received my comp copy of the final issue of FHM US; it's full of sentimental reminiscences by the staffers, who seem like a fun-loving, hard-partying group of folks. While these fuckers never saw fit to invite me to their Christmas parties, they certainly helped pay my rent for a few years, for which I am most grateful.

I got my first FHM illo assigment in November of 2002; then-art director Matt Warner (one of the friendliest designers I've worked for in recent memory) asked me to provide a drawing for their "True Stories" column, where readers were invited to send in embarassing real-life anecdotes. This one was about some reader's shaggy, overly-familiar dog who slobbered mud all over his master's girlfriend, who was dressed for a nice evening out.

The "True Stories" column quickly turned into a regular gig for me; soon added onto my plate was FHM's "World Of" page, for which I provided a column header illo each issue, which almost always showed some monster or miscreant menacing the globe.

Some look down their noses at FHM and the other "lad" mags; for me, FHM was the realization of every illustrator's dream: a steady monthly gig, and one which never failed to supply fun material to work with.

Matt Warner left FHM at some point in 2005 or thereabouts, after which I worked with Mac Lewis and Ian Knowles, (both of whom can be seen in the final issue's debauched staff photos).

A redesign in early 2006 killed both the "True Stories" and "World Of" pages, and generally shrunk the number of illo assignments per issue. I turned in my final illo for FHM in April of 2006; this one showed comedian Dave Chappelle lounging in his opulent living room, watching his Comedy Central co-stars struggle to salvage the wreckage of his show.

Here's a small sampling of the huge heap of illos I did for FHM between 2002 and 2006, including the very first and very last ones. Best wishes and happy landings to Mac, Ian, and everyone else at FHM US!