Tag Archives: Elvis Caricatures

Some Thoughts on Elvis Caricatures

 

We have all seen caricatures of Elvis. When I started a file of them 14 years ago, the drawings were pretty simplistic and unmemorable, like the ones above. They did, however, meet the definition of a caricature:

Caricatures are images showing the features of its subject in an exaggerated way. Caricatures can be insulting or complimentary.

Don’t worry, none of the nasty ones will ever be put on ElvisBlog.

 

Artist unknown

 

Obviously, caricature artists have a highly developed sense of facial observation. They can look at the features of a face and know which ones could be best exaggerated while still keeping the full image recognizable. Back in January, 2005, a website with a very long name (www.drawing-faces-and-caricatures-made-easy.com)  had an interesting topic:

 

“What Makes Any Face Caricaturable? How About Elvis Presley?”

 

How about him, indeed. When I saw that title, I knew it was going to be an interesting article. An expert was going to analyze Elvis’ face for the benefit of aspiring caricature artists. Cool.

Anyway, the writer explained how he would draw several features of Elvis’ face. Here are the highlights of what he had to say. The first one is the most incredible description of Elvis’ hair that I have ever seen.

HAIR: “Big. Huge. Massive. Larger than life.” All the superlatives you can conjure up for that top-heavy, fifties, bow-of-a-ship, tough dude, frontal assault of a hair-doo.”

Artist unknown

 

The article goes on to state that effectively drawing Elvis’ hair is a challenge.

“The answer is capturing the 3-D mass of it all. How do you do that? Lots of contours and highlights. Elvis also has lots of loose dangling ends of hair that fall across his face. You’ll see that in almost every caricature of Elvis, artists capitalize on this.”

Artist – LockUp Wallace

Now that’s some serious 3-D Elvis hair. But there’s none of the dangling ends like in the first two pictures. If you scroll back up to check them out again, also notice Elvis’ chin.

CHIN: “Elvis has a full rounded chin. About the only thing else I can say about it is when you draw it, think “sphere” or “square” and try to incorporate those shapes into the chin when you draw.”

Sorry, I don’t think it’s possible to incorporate square into anything about Elvis.

Artist – markdraws

 

Here’s another exaggerated Elvis chin. Nice job on the lip snarl, too. The article had little to say about Elvis’ snarl, but it did point out his cheekbones.

CHEEKBONES: “Whereas Arnold Schwarzenegger boasted really hard angles in his face, Elvis is softer edged. He has prominent cheekbones. They may drop low, because they have a mass to them. They also seem to rise high as they roll past the level of the eyes. You’ll see artists grab on that, too.”

Artist – Ron K

Note that Elvis’ eyes are closed in this one.

EYES, EYEBROWS, EYELIDS: “Women just plain love Elvis’ eyes. Even if this is what women find sexy, here’s what I see as the observable deal. It’s the low riding eyelids, almost that sleepy eyed look. You see Jack Nicholson and John Travolta do it. In any case, it’s the confidence and control factor half-mast eyes seem to exude. That’s what I think it is about his eyes women like. Then you couple the low eyelids with the slightly quizzical raised eyebrows, you get that come-on look.”

 

Artist – Bruce Stark

You have to say that this drawing has distinctive eyes, but they are not quite Elvis’ eyes. The legs remind me of Woody from Toy Story.

Artist Gabby Correia

Here’s a great job on Elvis’ eyes. The artist also nailed the big 3D hair. Also, you may notice that Elvis’ mouth is rather small.

MOUTH: “Traveling south down his face, you encounter the cheekbones, then rather full cheeks, then a relatively small maxilla behind the mouth (that’s the bone that holds your upper teeth). This explains why his mouth may seem small compared to Julia Roberts (who has a very broad, flat-at-the-front-where-the-teeth-are type of maxilla.) So, if you relate all that to Mr. Average, you could play up the forehead and cheeks and shrink the mouth.”

Artist – Benjamin Strobel

This drawing captures the small mouth, the high cheekbones, and of course, the big hair.

LIPS: “For a white guy, Elvis has pretty full lips. Even though, as mentioned above, the mouth overall seems on the small side (from corner to corner), the lips — especially the lower one — are very full.”

Artist – Tom Richmond

Here’s another full-lips drawing. This image of Elvis that has grown on me since I first discovered it. I think it is one of the best black and white caricatures of Elvis.

Several of the pictures above show Elvis in jumpsuits, but for some reason, that was not mentioned in the article as a major element for caricatures.

Artist – Zuo Chen

This one is a little puzzling. That’s a 50s Elvis pompadour, but he’s in a 70s jumpsuit. It is also an example of a frequently used caricature device – big head on a small body.

Artist – Carreno

 

NOSE: “You’ll see his nose drawn with a very broad root (where it comes out of the forehead between the eyes), that maintains that width right down to the sharp tip. A tip that has a dimple in it dividing left and right halves.”

I was surprised that the article made no mention of Elvis’ sideburns. Some of the photos above had big ones. Here is another.

Artist – Zack Wallenfang

These count as serious sideburns. This drawing has Elvis’ shades in it, but they are not really exaggerated. Not many of the Elvis caricatures I’ve found featured the glasses. That’s surprising, because they are a distinctive element associated with Elvis.

Here are a few more good drawings with a little comment.

Artist – Dan Adel

Another large Elvis head on a small Elvis body. This one shows young Elvis with a handful of fans up close and personal. Nice concept.

Artist – David O’Keefe

The big hair pictures generally seem to be young Elvis. And yet, here the sideburns are very subdued.

 

Artist – Alberto “Sting” Russo

Here’s a great Elvis caricature featuring his lip snarl. I guess I like the touches of color, but I’d like to see this one without it, too.

 

Artist unknown

I guess this is not technically a caricature because nothing is exaggerated. But I like it a lot, so we’ll end with it.

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets # 26

Energizer Bunny:

What’s the Energizer Bunny playing his drum have to do with Elvis? Not much. But there is some resemblance to Laid-back Elvis Hound Dog playing his guitar.

 

Maybe what we need is an Energizer Elvis Bunny playing guitar.

Or…maybe not.

 

Elvis Pins:

The August 13 Graceland Auction had some interesting collections of 1956 pins worn by Elvis fans. These pictures were blown up from tiny images, so they are a little fuzzy.

“I like Elvis” was a popular theme, and the message was done with several different designs.

They even made pins for the folks that didn’t like Elvis.

 

Here are some other interesting themes.

 

This has to be my favorite pin message.

 

Song titles connected with Elvis seem to have been popular, too.

 

I had to look this one up in a Yiddish Slang Dictionary. It said, “Exclamation of shock or fear. This is similar to the expression ‘oy vey’ but with a larger sense of doom.” So Elvis caused some people to feel a sense of doom??? Give me a break

 

Vince Everett:

You good fans will remember this was Elvis’ character’s name in Jailhouse Rock. With the help of Peggy Van Alden (Judy Tyler), Vince became a recording star. He and Peggy founded Laurel Records, and these picture sleeves represent the first three records Vince released during the movie. Here are the fake 45 RPM records in paper sleeves used during filming.

This record had significant screen time in the movie. Note that this sleeve is actually autographed by Elvis.

Elvis sang all five of these songs in the movie, making Jailhouse Rock one of his best sound tracks. The sixth song in the movie was “I Want to Be Free,” which I ranked #7 on my Top 10 list of Elvis songs in a 2012 post.

 

Elvis Karate Fight MARKER:

On June 24, 1977, while riding from the Madison, Wisconsin airport to his hotel, Elvis noticed a street fight in progress at E. Washington Ave and Stoughton Road. It was two young men pummeling a teen on the ground.

While his limo was stopped at the nearby red light, Elvis ran from the car and threatened the combatants with a classic karate stance, and reportedly yelled, “I’ll take you on.” The young men recognized Elvis and stopped fighting in favor of shaking hands with the star. Elvis reportedly left after ensuring that everything was settled and taking time to shake hands with several onlookers.

A plaque to commemorate the event was installed at the site. It shows Elvis with a guitar and describes the incident. The plaque is not in good shape now. A metal plate bearing a description of what happened that day has been pried from the stone. But the image of Elvis, remained on the marker.

Elvis had flown into Madison for a performance at the Dane County Coliseum, part of his final tour. Unfortunately, his death came just 53 days later

 

Elvis’ $1.8 Million Dollar Watch:

A 1960 Omega watch that once belonged to Elvis sold at auction in May 2018 for $1.8 million. Wow.

It set a record price for the any Swiss Omega watch brand ever sold. Wow.

The timepiece sold for 18 times the highest estimate. Wow

RCA Records gave Elvis the watch to commemorate him selling 75 million records.

The watch is a manually winding, 18ct white-gold Omega Calibre 510, adorned with 44 round diamonds. It features the logo of Tiffany & Co – the company that originally sold the watch.

The back of the watch carries the inscription: “TO ELVIS, 75 MILLION RECORDS, RCA VICTOR, 12-25-60” – marking the date, December 25, 1960, when Elvis’ record sales reached that landmark.

 

Al Hirschfeld’s Caricatures of Elvis:

My son and his fiance treated themselves to a long weekend trip to New York City, and they took in a musical at the Al Hirschfeld Theater. His name sounded familiar, so I Googled him and found out he was regarded as the greatest caricaturist of the 20th century.

His biography included samples of his incredible drawings of famous people, including Elvis Presley. Here are three of the best.

This is regarded as the first published caricature of Elvis. It appeared in the July 6, 1956, issue of Collier’s magazine to illustrate a column criticizing the singer and his fans.

This one is titled Blue Suede Shoes and was a limited edition print (300 copies) in 1999. One sold at auction recently for $1,500.

A version of this drawing was published by The New York Times on December 1, 1968, in anticipation of the broadcast of the NBC-TV special Elvis two days later. This version was used to make limited-edition lithographs. An autographed copy sold at Heritage Auctions for $2,500.

 

That Al Hirschfeld link led me to another site with almost a hundred cool Elvis caricatures, and I had never seen 75% of them before. I can’t wait to do a blog post on the best ones.

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.