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Archive for _caricatures

The Deflated Falcons

What a spectacle that was witnessed in last night’s Super Bowl. As a Denver fan, I am NOT a Patriots fan, however, I can respect greatness when I see it. This idea was suggested to me after the game concluded. Being in the middle of 20 million projects right now, I loved the concept, but realized I didn’t have a whole lot of time to knock it out. This is one hour’s worth of work, but it came out pretty good. If you find it funny, feel free to pass it along, just be sure to give me, Benjamin Hummel, the credit.

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Super Delicates

super-delicates-cartoon-bhummel-2016

I apologize for the crudity of this cartoon. I’m normally not this vulgar, but it really has become this type of election campaign.


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Newtonian Physics

Broncos win!

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The Force that Is The Donald

trump-go-roundFor the most part, I have been sitting back watching the Republican primary race unfold, a bit detached from everything, and somewhat amused. Reading the copious blogs that I do, apparently, I’m in the minority, as the Republican infighting has become fierce. And at the center of it all is Donald Trump.

It has become quite clear to anybody who is honest that the Democrat party is now the Socialist party of America. I’m not bagging on it, it’s merely an observation, and even honest liberals I’ve talked to say the same thing. The Republican party is going through an identity crisis, trying to decide whether it wants to fill the slot that the Democrats left open, or move back to its classically liberal (and by that, I mean more in the sense of libertarianism… it’s been documented that the term “liberal” has been hijacked by the progressive left, a term once belonging to the Republicans and once standing for individualism, liberty, personal and fiscal responsibility) roots on which it was founded.

And in the middle of this epic battle, enter stage right, Donald Trump! The non-politician, uncouth, politically incorrect fireball has swooned a YUGE majority of Republican voters and the political class cannot figure out why. Liberals are going nuts, eager to exaggerate Trump’s antics in order to further the false narrative of all conservatives being the worst reprobates ever to walk the planet. And with Trump commanding 30% in the polls, it’s not hard for them to try and lump everybody in that camp.

However, let’s peel back the hype a little, step outside our political allegiances, and let’s break this down rationally. This, at least, from how I see the world.

To start, Donald Trump is the product of bully politics, not the cause of it. If you are not a conservative, then you probably do not understand just how frustrating and demeaning it has been when the Democrats and the media successfully tar, feather and brand conservative ideas as being hate-based. Even during the most egregious violations of first amendment rights, conservatives who dared to defend those rights were charged with all sorts of anti-(fill in the people group here). The classic example was when Hobby Lobby questioned why they should be FORCED to purchase something for their employee, simply because she wanted it, when it violated their religious objections (aka, the contraceptions). Heck, I’m against being FORCED to purchase ANYTHING for my employees, let alone something I disagree with. And yet, we were told that because of our LIBERTARIAN and FIRST AMENDMENT stance on this issue, that we wanted to roll back woman’s rights, stick women in the kitchen with bare feet, deny them voting, etc. It was infuriating, because women’s rights had NOTHING to do with the issue, but bully politics was shown to be highly effective.

Pick any issue, and the results were the same. Voter ID? You’re a racist. Religious freedom? You’re a homophobe. Border security? Bigot. Fiscal Responsibility? Hater. Republicans in Congress gave lip service to defending all of these things, but in the end, the false accusations made almost every single one of them cave to the Democrat’s demands. It’s as if Republicans were at the playground, getting bullied, beat up, and lunch money stolen by the mean Democrats. Republican voters are so sick and tired of being bruised and battered. All of a sudden, Donald wanders onto the playground and socks these bullies a few times in the nose, leveling the field a little bit. Perhaps his method isn’t the right way to handle it, but does it matter? Republicans have turned the other cheek so much that they’ve run out of cheeks! They don’t even know if he is a conservative, but they don’t care, he’s taking it to the establishment, and he’s not afraid to fight.

Obama has probably been one of the most divisive presidents in recent history. He has made no bones about the fact that his real enemies are conservatives. Instead of defending truth and justice, blind of partisan politics, he attacks and intimidates conservatives, using every department of the federal government he can get his hands on. You can only beat up somebody for so long before they snap. Republican voters do not want to simply switch the balance of power. They want revenge. They want paybacks. They want liberals to have a slight taste of the injustices they have suffered since 2008. To them, Donald represents that. When liberals began attacking the Donald, instead of cowing like most Republicans, he swung harder. That’s attractive to a lot of people.

Look, I’m not saying this is my position, it’s just my assessment of a lot of voters in the party based upon what they are saying on the various blogs and political forums. I happen to lean more libertarian. I also like to sit and observe, often times with amusement, the political sphere before I come in heavy with assumptions and judgments. I am the perfect portrayal of the political middle, at least from where I’m standing. 😉

It’s debatable whether or not Trump would make a good president. I would hope that before swearing to take an oath of office that he would read through the Constitution and Bill of Rights, from foreword to final period, so that he knows that the president should have limited powers. I do worry that we will trade a left wing tyrant for a right wing one, and I’m not even sure he’s even all that right wing. People point out that he used to be a Democrat and that he can’t be trusted. Well, Reagan used to be a Democrat too, and he turned out okay. Who knows? All I know is that the inclusion of Trump in the race has made this a very interesting election season indeed.

Trump-Go-Round

trump-go-round

Here’s a little caricature. It just seemed to make sense, and for crying out loud, it’s funny! I’m actually not really trying to make a huge political statement with this (it’s okay to let loose once in a while and just have fun, right?)

Do I think the Donald will win the nomination? Who knows. Am I supporting him in the primaries? Well, he certainly isn’t my first choice, no. I’m not sure who I really like, but I like the gumption Carly or Ben are displaying, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Marco Rubio. Regardless, Trump has certainly taken command of the conversation, of the electorate, and whether the Elephants like it or not, he is riding their party on the endless cycle of the American political system.

Transparency

benjamin-hummel-transparency-2015The first time I ran this cartoon, I was very sick and my drawing of Hillary was embarrassing. I’ve since redrawn it and I’m quite pleased with the caricature, in fact, I think it rather funny, which is the point of caricature to begin with.

I cannot say with any measure of certainty, whether or not Hillary Clinton did illegal things with her emails, server, etc. I can make assumptions and I will let the legal experts sort it out, but I am amazed at the absolute lack of scrutiny made by the Democrat party. Seriously, if this were a Republican, his entire party would turn on him and he would be mincemeat within a week, guilty or not. That’s what I’m hoping to draw attention to (draw attention…, see what I did there?) with this cartoon. I am so fed up with the blind allegiance to these political candidates, on both sides. Is it not beyond the realm of possibility that this human being you have put up on a pedestal could have acted inappropriately, if not illegally? Wouldn’t you want to search for the truth, in order to hold everybody accountable? In America, are we all not responsible to the law? Or are those in power exempt?

No more needs to be said than that. Hope you enjoy the cartoon!

Justin Bieber

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I’m not one to really follow much of the celebrity gossip. The furthest my gossip train goes is my local polititan and that’s about it. However, I realize that in order to expand my appeal in the marketplace as an editorial illustrator, I should start doing more apolitical individuals and I should try and have my pen on the pulse of the American tabloids, so to speak.

Thus, I’ve been putting together some ideas that would be a little more mainstream.

This first one was actually a class demo. I had been thinking about doing a caricature of Justin Bieber for some time, actually. His notorious brawls has been giving him a black eye, and I’m speaking figuratively, here. Perhaps he thinks this out-of-control tough-boy thing is attractive and helps his image, but to me, and my guess is that I’m not the only one, I’m starting to find it disgusting. Honestly, I feel sorry for the kid. He’s a product of the internet generation, sensationalized and thrown into this world of unreality in which he was able to hit fame with a meteoric rise. Virtues like responsibility and self-control have not been taught to him as they may have to someone else who may have to struggle harder for their daily survival.

Generally, my class demos are hit and miss. On this one, I think I hit it out of the ball park. Doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it makes me smile.

I plan on doing a few more in the more mainstream series coming up. Stay tooned!

John Andrews caricature

john andrews-web

This is the final caricature of the series. I couldn’t not do one of the man so instrumental in getting the Western Conservative Summit up a rolling and keeping it an entertaining and smashing success year after year. It’s also a tribute to someone I am blessed to call friend. Knowing John’s affinity for climbing 14ers, I put him on top, submitting, if you will, the Colorado Mountains. Which peak depicted is not important, what’s important is that John’s efforts are herculean, much like climbing a 14er. (which I’ve done three times, so I know). Never giving up, slowly but surely we hope to influence our culture, our generation, our politics for the good.

Jenny Beth Martin caricature

Jenny martin

The caricature of Jenny Beth Martin, affectionately known as the Tea Party lady. Didn’t know her before the Western Conservative Summit, but I had a chance to meet her and we chatted a bit. Again, I didn’t mention that I was the one who did her caricature (I’m not one to toot my own horn when it comes to my art, I guess). It was fun just hearing from her and learning about her struggles and the goals she has for this country.

This is another one that I feel I just simply hit a home run on. The likeness is spot on, and speaking of spots, I couldn’t help but have her hold a spot of tea. I also loved the color scheme on this (of course, green happens to be my favorite color…)

James Golden caricature

james golden

It seemed, as I was trying to find ANY photo reference that I could of James Golden, that he is a very private individual. Because of this, I won’t call him by his pen name, but he is much more popularly known as somebody else. I’ve known who he is for a long time, but because of the business he is in, I had never seen his face before. It’s tough to paint a guy when you don’t know what he looks like. I finally found two very low resolution photos of him online, and that’s all I had to work with. I ended up making the caricature a bit more generic due to the lack of any strong photo reference.

Golden works for one of the biggest media personalities in the world. If you can catch their attention, you’re sure to make it, but both are very private and are flooded with unsolicited queries that go unnoticed. I hope, I just hope, that Mr. Golden puts this in his office and that one day, the big guy he works for will look at it and go, you know? I think I might need to hire this illustrator for my next publication.

Finally, as James Golden spoke, I couldn’t help but try and redraw him from life, so that I would have something with a little more clarity to start from the next time I wanted to do his portrait. Now that he’s right in front of me, I saw exactly what he looked like, so I quickly jotted down the following from life.

james golden sketch-web

Guy Benson caricature

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I don’t don’t have cable, so I wasn’t aware of who Guy Benson was before starting this caricature. There was plenty of reference on the web and that made a world of difference.

This was like the 13th out of the 16 caricatures I did for the Summit, so by the time I got to Mr. Benson, I was a pro. I nailed it on this one. I love the way the brush work of the underpainting becomes the pattern in his blazer. I had a great time painting the plaid, and I attempted to push the distortion and stylization of the face as far as I could and I did so while maintaining likeness. Epic score!

Guy Benson seems like a very cool guy and I like the fact that he’s young. Perhaps one day Guy will know me on a first name basis and the next time he’s on Fox News he’ll say, “oh, that reminds me of a funny cartoon my friend Benjamin once did…”

Ted Cruz caricature

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There are few people I admire more than Ted Cruz. Knowing he is from Texas, I decided to render him as a Texas Ranger, here to restore law and order back to the Senate.

I had a fun time with this caricature. But more than that, I had the distinct and priveleged honor to meet him in person. Like the other 100 or so people, I was shuffled in line and given only a few seconds to speak with him, get my picture taken, and move on. What do you say to a guy you really admire in just a few seconds worth of time? I was scared I might choke on my words and say something really stupid, or perhaps spit in his face accidently. As you know, the constant long term use of the prednizone has wreaked havoc on my vocal chords, so I was certain I was probably just going to end up squawking in the end.

But Ted Cruz, besides being shockingly short in size, was one of the most gentle men I’ve ever met, with a firm, but reassuring handshake. He did not know that I was the one who did the caricature of him, nor did I venture to volunteer that information. Instead, I simply said, “Thank you for your courage. Never give up. We’re praying for you.” As I walked away, he called me back, “Sir!” I turned and looked. “Thank you. That means so much to me.” “Have a good day,” I called out. “You too!” he cried out in his trademark Texas drawl.

Months later, in a seemingly liberal classroom, I was giving a presentation on the art of caricature. I showed classic examples from some of the greatest caricature artists both of the past and working today. I couldn’t resist throwing this into the slide show, as I was quite pleased with how it turned out and I wanted to show how you can add other story telling elements to your piece in order to compliment the caricature. After explaining all of this to my students, I mentioned I was the artist of this particular piece. I then mentioned that sometimes as artists, our talents can sometimes give us some great opportunities we might otherwise not have, such as the chance to meet someone like Ted Cruz. I then quickly showed this slide for a few seconds before moving on, one, because it’s not a really flattering photo of me, but two, because I know how certain people feel about Ted Cruz and I didn’t want to start any trouble.

me and ted cruz-sm

But to my shock, they begged me to go back, so I did, at which point the who class erupted in “how cool!” and “that’s sweet.” Find out, Ted Cruz is admired by a lot of people for his courage, including the young generation.

Mike Huckabee Caricature

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This is the first caricature I attempted in this new style. When we came up with the idea to do paintings for the dignitaries of Western Conservative Summit, there was only a week and a half until the event, and I still had days in which I taught. I realized that I needed to come up with a new style, and quickly.

I reflected on the painted animations I did for our church the previous Easter. I ended up hand painting close to 60 paintings in order for the animation to work, and as a result, I stumbled upon a painting technique and ultimately a new style for my artwork that would allow me to work in a very timely manner. For Easter, I was mostly painting backdrops and landscapes and very stylized cartoon characters. I hadn’t attempted to apply this technique to an actual person. I decided to start with Mr. Huckabee.

Using the limited and (as I now know) outdated photos of him from the internet, I pieced this together. I added the narrative element of him in front of a pulpit, something I admire deeply about him is his faith and his willingness to defend it.

I stumbled through this one, learning a lot along the way, stuff that would set me up for the other 15 caricatures. I wish I would have pushed the caricature more, but I was a bit unsure about where I was going with this, so I approached it cautiously. I took an entire day to paint Mr. Huckabee, but by the time I was wrapping up, I was cranking out four caricatures a day.

Huckabee’s schedule on the day of the summit was crazy. If I remember correctly, he flew in from New York as soon as he finished his show on Fox, his flight got delayed, he finally arrived late in Denver, drove through Denver traffic to get to the Summit, gave his presentation and then had to rush back to the airport for another engagement in Arkansas. Blech, I get airsick just thinking about it.

Jonny Gomes, caricature

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A caricature of Jonny Gomes (Gnomes) of the Boston Red Sox. When I first saw Jonny Gomes hit that home run in game 5(?) I was inspired to create this caricature. As I looked at him, I thought to myself, man, he sure looks a lot like a gnome with that beard. Considering the close name relationship, I decided to create a visual play on words. This is just another in my series of caricatures. And if you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I love baseball as much as politics, so this is my tribute to another great year in Major League Baseball.

Dick Morris Caricature

dick morris

I love Dick Morris. I don’t always agree with him, but that’s okay, I love that he is so animated by the power of his convictions, and right or wrong, he is willing to make bold predictions. But the one thing that separates him from so many others is that he takes ownership over the things he says, which takes real guts.

He ruffled a few feathers at the Summit when he stategized differently than Ted Cruz on a key issue. That’s okay, it’s the debate and discussion that’s important. Something conservatives welcome wholeheartedly.

 

Scott Walker Caricature

EPSON MFP image

Whether you agree with him or not, you have to admire the tremendous courage of Scott Walker. Most politicians would have caved after the vicious attacks he endured, all because he wanted to do the best for his state and bring in a little fiscal responsibility. Of course, that means putting some reins on the money train, but apparently that was enough to get out of state special interests to try and get him recalled… twice.

me and scott walker

I actually got to meet him. And I made him laugh. (always makes my day when I can get people to laugh, especially high ranking politicians.) I’m not all that crazy about the photo, however. The lighting’s weird and that glare in my glasses makes me look devious. I was having a bad hair day and my exhaustion is showing.

Because Walker wanted to avoid the appearance of all evil, he declined to take home the portrait, signing it instead (see the silver sharpee halfway down the image?), and putting it into the permanent collection of the Centennial Institute’s growing art museum collection.

Jonah Goldberg Caricature

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My portrait of Jonah Goldberg. I didn’t really know much about him before the Summit, but he ended up being one of the most entertaining presenters. Combined with Bill Whittle, the two of them provided comic relief that had the whole room in stitches. His latest book’s cover is pure red, so I decided I would use that as a starting point. I also love the way I chose not to show any definition in the jacket, instead let the sleeve and hand come out of the solid shape. I really should push for that more often in my work.

KT McFarland Caricature

KT McFarland

So I don’t watch Fox News, and I didn’t really know who KT McFarland was when I started her caricature. All I had was a few photos to go by and in each, she had big hair. So naturally, I exaggerated. Then when I saw her in person, she had a whole new hairdo, and she looked much younger. Oh well, that’s why it’s a caricature and not a portrait, right?

Oh, and by the way, KT McFarland, besides being a commentator on foreign affairs, held national security posts under Nixon, Ford and Reagan.

 

Mia Love, the portrait

Mia Love, Mayor of Saratoga Springs

This is my portrait of Mia Love. Mia Love is currently mayor of her small town in Utah, but has her sights on the national stage, running for congress for her district in 2014. One of her first major appearances was at the Republican Convention of 2012.

I started on this piece first thing in the morning, so my creative energies were the most in tune, and it really comes across as evident in this piece. I painted the board very dark and I could not see the pencil lines. I finally decided just to go at it, putting in quick lights and darks to define my areas and I was able to finally find the caricature from there. I had a lot of fun with the detailing in the hair, and as I finished, it only seemed appropriate to add a heart, her namesake, above her head.

Mia graciously accepted her painting and it now sits in some office somewhere in Utah, hopefully to make it one day to Washington DC.

 

Western Conservative Summit Review

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Western Conservative Summit, was, in a word, pretty dang awesome (okay, so that’s a few words). Just for reference, this past weekend Centennial Institute hosted the fourth annual Western Conservative Summit, a three-day gathering of like-minded conservatives (think CPAC of the West). The house was packed to the gills as we listened to big name guest speakers (like Allen West and Dick Morris) come in and encourage, train, brainstorm, inspire as we work to sway the country for the next few elections.

Most of the speakers were very optimistic about the future of the conservative movement.

Other observations that really stuck out for me:

Despite unfounded accusations to the contrary, the conservative and Republican movement is NOT a racist movement. (Never has been, check the history). This year, much more than last, the summit was an ethnically diverse event. Attendees and speakers were represented by all different races and colors, black, white, Hispanic, Indian, Asian, German, you name it. Not that race is important, as conservatives, it’s all about the content of your character that matters.

The Youth Vote

What WAS still missing was young people. While there was a large student delegation representing CCU, when you removed them, the amount of gray heads in the room was overwhelming. This was an issue that was addressed ad nauseum by many of the speakers. Why are the youth voting Democrat and how do we change this? True, a lot has to do with the liberal brainwashing centers otherwise known as public education, but it’s more than that. Deep down, most young folk are libertarian at heart. Nothing about liberalism is libertarian, except on social issues, and even there, the data is showing that the younger generation is actually MORE prolife than the baby boomers!

The problem is, they are believing the false narrative proclaimed about Republicans and Conservatives by the media, and Republicans do a lousy job at discrediting it. I loved what one student speaker said: Democrats and Liberals show up at college campuses all the time. If Republicans just simply showed up, who knows what kind of difference they could make (and not three months before the election, that comes off as disingenuous.)

And there may be some evidence to this. They shared some polling data from the last election. Overwhelmingly respondents voted Romney as better able to handle everything from the economy to foreign policy. Yet they voted Obama as being more likable and ultimately that’s what guided their vote.

The Third Party

Ted Cruz and several others lambasted the Republican Party for their willingness to cave in to Democrat demands, at the detriment of the country (all for the sake of perceived political gain). A few times the term “Democrat Lite” was used to describe much of today’s Republican leadership and the party in general. If there’s no distinction between Republicans and Democrats on voting day, the public will pick Democrat every single time.

Because of this, a question was posed to Jenny Beth Martin. She was asked if the Republicans continue to look more and more like Democrats, would the TEA Party break off and form a third party. She would not say no.

Use the Force, Luke!

Comic relief was provided by Jonah Goldberg and Bill Whittle. Whittle mentioned that the term “conservative” has a bad connotation for young people, and calling yourself one means instant turnoff. He suggests we change the term to something more appealing, you know, something like “rebel alliance.”

While I laughed out of my seat on that one, it does anger me that our language has to be defined for us. If it has a bad meaning, then we need to be out there changing that meaning. Conservative means freedom, it means liberty, it means charity, it means being allowed to make your own decisions. Whittle also reminded us (and encouraged us to remind our socialist utopian friends) that it’s socialism that has a history of 100 million dead on its hands. History proves that nothing good has ever come from socialism. It goes against basic human nature and requires force to be implemented.

About this illustration

So what does this have to do with the portrait of Allen West you see above, you’ve probably been asking as you’ve slogged through this editorial? I was given the unique privilege and opportunity to create painted caricatures of the speakers. The idea occurred only two weeks before the event, but because of my chalk art gig in Crested Butte the following weekend, I ended up having 7 days to work on this project.

I knew I wanted to develop a new illustration style. I’ve been playing around with a rough and painterly new modern look. I’ve been trying to represent the most amount of information with the largest brush strokes I could. I also start with a textured painted background, which I like to let come in and out of the composition, as I use more opaque paints to bring out the highlights in the foreground.

This new style allowed me to work a little faster than normal. If you do the math, that’s 2 pieces a day. Each piece took an average of 4 hours each. In addition, I still had to keep working on other client obligations. Those 7 straight days I worked roughly 12 hours each and I just cranked out those paintings. I really didn’t have a whole lot of time to think much about the painting. I just had to do it.

Each painting has a story. As I roll out all 14 over the next two weeks, I’ll reveal the story behind each one.

Allen West was the first of this experiment. I decided to add the slight indication of an army camo netting above him as part of the picture.

I then had the opportunity to meet him in person, which was way cool, because I absolutely admire the man. It was a long line, and they were cycling us through fairly quickly, so conversation was out of the question. If you had the chance to say just one thing to one of your heroes, what would you say?

When it was finally my turn I said to him, “Your courage is an inspiration to us all.” Then after the photo, I concluded by saying, “May God continue His blessings upon you.” At that, Mr. West grabbed my hand firmly and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Thank you. That means so much to me. And please, don’t ever forget to pray for me.”

Such is the man, and other events and run-ins with him the next few days solidified just how humble this guy really is. He accepted the above painting with honor, a Benjamin Hummel original, now in the home of former Congressman Allen West.