Archive for Caricatures

The One Hour Caricature

When one has but one hour to pull off a caricature, what does one do? That was the issue I faced with this piece I did, minutes after the conclusion of one of the most surreal Super Bowls I have ever witnessed. My brother came up with the idea, and I immediately went to work on the pencil sketch. When I couldn’t get my scanner to work, I had to photograph it from my phone, at night. I cleaned it up as best as possible in Photoshop before applying some color overlays.

Overall, I’m happy with the likeness. Wish my scanner was working. Wish I had more time for rendering, but I wanted to get this out into the digital universe as timely as possible. I received great response from it, including a ton of “hearts” on Instagram. If you aren’t already following me on Instagram (really? why not?) I encourage you to do so @hummelillustration.

A Wild West Encounter


These next set of illustrations were created in partnership with Buffalo Bill Daze in Georgetown and in celebration of Buffalo Bill and his travels to the small, but significant Colorado town. For those who may not be familiar with Colorado, Georgetown is a one hour drive due west on I-70 from Denver. You might miss it if you blink as you are driving to Vail, but if you pull off, what a treasure awaits. We were invited to participate in the Buffalo Bill art show, and then partake in the Buffalo Bill Daze events, of which there were period actors walking all around us, mine tours, and a chance to meet the real Buffalo Bill in person! (well, not quite, but close enough. Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley were played by seasoned actors and were a thrill to get to know). The curator of the Buffalo Bill museum was present and offered a wealth of knowledge, as I picked his brain about the era, them man, the myth, the legend.


When creating these paintings, I immersed myself into the designs of the old time show posters. I used these as inspiration in creating my own “poster-esce” designs for the two characters, including hand drawn lettering. I wasn’t content to do a simple portrait. As a part of my new mod-narrative caricature style, I wanted to see if I could apply the same technique to Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. I started with a ground base color and I built them up out of the color, using my thick flat brushes to try and keep it as loose as possible. I worked on Buffalo Bill first, and when finished, I immediately jumped into the Annie Oakley portrait. The second time around, I had a feel for everything, and it went much quicker and more smoothly. In fact, I felt so confident going into the Annie Oakley portrait, that I decided to time lapse my progress (and add funky stock music). The video you can watch below.

After finishing off these two, I’m wanting to do more. Perhaps more of the Buffalo Bill performers, including Wild Bill Hickok, Sitting Bull, and maybe some other bands as well. Considering all of the renewed attention to Billy the Kid and the recent photograph of him playing croquet, maybe Billy is next on the list?

Much was going on at the Daze that the originals are still available for sale. I also had high quality art cards professionally manufactured as well. If you want to own a piece of this exciting series, be sure to place an order. *Ahem* Christmas is just around the corner… Jus’ sayin’.

Frank Gaffney


Another one of the individuals I was tasked to caricature for the summit was Frank Gaffney. I had no idea who he was before I was assigned the job. I was given a single image, but when I went online to find more photos, I found pictures that were quite contrary in their depiction of him. Apparently he has changed quite a bit over the past few years. Will the real Frank Gaffney stand up?

Not knowing which is which, I tried to create a composite caricature from all of the different photos I found.

I sat down at my studio, ready to get started when it happened. My dreaded disease suddenly got the best of me.

The day I had scheduled to work on the Frank Gaffney piece, I was suddenly stricken with severe dizziness, mental confusion and headaches. I get these from time to time, perhaps once every other month, but rarely do I get them when I’m under pressure of a deadline. The headaches and dizziness lasted three days, and so I fought through a thick fog trying to get Gaffney’s portrait put together. The neurons to the creative center of my brain were not firing and I had to rely not on artistic intuition, but solely on the strict fundamentals stuck in my long term memory. I’m happy at the way the illustration finally turned out, but it was a challenge to get to this point. It took twice, maybe even thrice as long as normal.

When I finally did get to meet him, I discovered that he is a very unassuming man, very slight in stature, but powerful in word. I kind of wished I could sit him down real quick and just paint him from life. I know he’s a busy man, but I’m sure he could spare a few hours…

Benson and Ham, Ham and Benson



I was also asked, for the Western Conservative Summit, to create a duo caricature of Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham. Two finished illustrations, both individuals in each illustration, with one being more prominent depending on whose official caricature it happened to be. Oh, and they’re supposed to be promoting their book as well.

Two years ago I did both Benson and Ham as separate caricatures. Guy Benson‘s was totally awesome, but I completely bombed out on MK Ham’s. Part of the problem is that MK Ham is very attractive and that intimated me a bit. (I have never been able to successfully do one of my wife for that reason).

So this year, before I started, I filled three sketch book pages of nothing but drawings of Mary Katharine Ham. What was it about her face that I could distort, but still make distinguishable? I studied and drew for hours before I finally figured out what it was that made MK Ham’s face what it is.

I then took two pieces of illustration board and coated them both red. I decided to work on the two pieces at the same time, side by side, simultaneously. It was the first time I had ever worked this way. I felt almost like a machine. When I drew MK Ham, I had to do so twice, once with her in the foreground and once with her as a cartoon character in the background. I did likewise with Guy Benson.

Back and forth I went until both individuals were rendered to my satisfaction. This time around I was very pleased with my portrayal of both of them, but especially MK Ham. But I wasn’t finished. Seeing the stop sign on the front of the book, I couldn’t help but think of road workers. So I imagined them both in road construction gear, redirecting traffic, with the giant book as an obstacle in the middle of the road. Perhaps it had something to do with the several thousand mile southwest road trip I just returned from, but all I could think of putting behind them were dessert cliffs. I abstracted them, of course, so that they would not detract from the two characters.

This was actually four caricatures in total, with two of each being duplicates. It took forever, but in the end, I am very pleased with the final result.

And of course, I had to meet them. I told them I was the artist, and they signed the book “we LOVE the drawings of us…” Having received their final approval is all an illustrator ever hopes for.

The Second Coming of Hugh Hewitt

This weekend was the Western Conservative Summit and once again, my services were called upon to create caricatures of some of the speakers.

The first caricature I was asked to do was a new Hugh Hewitt caricature, something that would highlight his new role as a guest professor at Colorado Christian University. This was a huge challenge for me. Last year’s Hugh Hewitt caricature I completely nailed, probably one of my best ever, so how on earth do I top that? It’s a momentous challenge–redo your masterpiece from last year, but make it different.

The first thing I tried to do was make him a little older. I tried to get the most up-to-date photos of him. I emphasized the lines in his face, I modified the shape of his head, I changed his hair a little. The second tactic I tried was to change his pose. I shifted him to the right and turned his head slightly. Finally, I changed the background from being a very bright orangey color to being CCU blue.

Of course, as a professor, I had to give him a blazer with elbow patches, and wearing the CCU tee shirt underneath. CCU students occupy the foreground, watching and learning in rapt attention.

I glued myself to my chair and I labored over it for a day and a half before I finished with this, and once again, Hugh Hewitt’s mug proved to be very fortuitous for me.


Two more caricatures

With the whirlwind that included cranking out 13 caricatures right before the summit, I simply ran out of time and was unable to finish the final two. These last two are especially meaningful for me, for reasons I will explain below.

Robert Woodson

Social activist and pastor Robert Woodson

Social activist and pastor Robert Woodson

I did not know who Robert Woodson was before the event, but as we landed from St. Paul, MN the final Sunday of the summit, I had my wife drop me off at the convention center that morning so I could hear him speak. Jet lagged and functioning on 4 hours of sleep, it didn’t matter. I caffeinated myself up to listen to Bob Woodson talk about his work in the inner city and urban areas of America. This touches close to home, as I grew up in an environment that could easily fit that description. I saw first hand the effects of poverty and gang violence. Gun deaths at our school were not uncommon. And I know the hopelessness that exists in these areas. I also know that there is a greater Hope that can bring people out of the crime they may find themselves trapped in, and I wish the message could be broadcast with authority into places like Chicago and Atlanta, “Stop! It doesn’t have to be this way! There is a better way!” That’s what Bob Woodson has devoted his life to doing, and so it is a complete honor to create this caricature with the dignity he deserves.

Shawn Welcome

Spoken word poet and performer Shawn Welcome

Spoken word poet and performer Shawn Welcome

Along the same lines, I was privileged to meet Shawn Welcome on multiple occasions and there is not a nicer guy on the planet. Coupled with that is his extraordinary talent in the spoken word, giving life changing positive messages in a format of rhyme, rhythm, and impact. Shawn is a family man, a devoted husband, a man who champions the institution of marriage. He stands up for his faith with a sparkle in his eye and a smile. When presented with the chance to portray him in caricature, I was happy to do so.

13 Caricature Illustrations in Four Days

Once again, my services were called upon to create painted caricature gifts for the speakers of Western Conservative Summit. Thinking I had two weeks to knock these out, I focused my time on teaching and other projects. Then, right before starting, I get an out of town chalk art gig in St. Paul, Minnesota for the last week, shortening my time by one week. Add to this the fact that I need to create the art and schematic for the chalk art event, and suddenly my time to pull this off becomes four days.

But things are different this year from last. Since starting last year, I have worked tirelessly studying the art of caricature and practicing pushing the boundaries of expression. Last year’s portraits were fairly timid. This year, I tried to push outside of that (and still I realize I have much further to go). Also last year, I was just getting used to that new technique. I had never really worked that way in the past and so last year’s process was fairly experimental. Now I’ve had a whole year of practice on this technique, including a number of landscape paintings. In reality, if I would have had more time, I probably would have butchered the job. I forced myself to try and get each piece completed in three hours, which means having to make some serious design decisions on the fly.

I am very pleased at the final result. As I put the finishing touches to Linda Chavez’s jacket, I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, the project is complete.

13 caricatures in 4 days


From top, l-r: Former Senator Jim DeMint, Dennis Prager, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Mike Lee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Katie Pavlich, Linda Chavez, Sen. Tim Scott, Betsy Mccaughey, Daniel Hannan, Hugh Hewitt