This is the story for the latest cover for The Week Magazine.
Hillary Clinton is a difficult politician to do a caricature portrait. There are several reasons. She is a controversial figure. People seem to either hate her with incredible passion or love her with about the same passion. I am finally seeing her in the "Politician" category. I had her pigeonholed as President Bill Clinton's wife for years. I was indifferent to her before when she was just President Clinton's wife. Then she started moving in as this entitled person when she jumped in as a senator of NY. Then dropped out and became President Obama's Secretary of State. And now there are no clear standout leaders to oppose her being the Democratic nominee for President next year. As soon as she decided to run for the senate everyone knew her real ambition was to eventually run for president. That's when I became unhappy with her. I guess it's the 1776 revolutionary spirit I didn't know I had in me that doesn't like kings and queens and dynasties. I didn't like the Bushes and I'm not going to like the Clintons. The dilemma I see forming is Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Both running on elitist entitlement. I'm so happy to be a caricaturist so I can make fun of both sides. At least I have that.
The Week editorial staff prefers to treat Mrs Clinton respectfully, so when they ask me to illustrate her, they don't want the cruelest caricature ever done. I don't see caricature as being cruel, but if you exaggerate honestly, those can be the most biting images. There are multiple audiences and depending on which one you are in, this will color your opinion of the caricature. To play it safe, The Week prefers less exaggeration. So I don't exaggerate much, but the tricky part is that Mrs Clinton is a close to 70 year old woman. She has some wrinkles and wear and tear on her face. I need those wrinkles to make it look like her. Sometimes I have to tone them down and I get feedback from people who thought I was too nice to her and others say I was very respectful. This time they just said make it look like her and they recognized she wasn't going to look like some Hollywood starlet in her early 20's. This was awesome, because When I second guess myself while working, the results are never satisfying. Usually just for me though.
First sketch. Photo Shop over a pencil drawing I scanned. This is the sketch they look at to see if everything is going where they want.
In the previous sketch I was trying to not make the shoes too dark so I thought, "why not match the balance bar with the shoes? Lipstick, bar and shoes all match!" They didn't like the red shoes. In my head I had the line from a David Bowie song from Let's Dance "Put on your red shoes and dance the blues".
All finished. Blue suit was their request. The back ground I kept loose and somewhat painterly. Softened the clouds and mountains in PS and a few distracting paint marks on her face.
I hadn't rid my mind of Mrs Clinton's face even after the job so I did a little doodling in my sketch pad with ink and gouache.