I just finished of another Hirschfeld-style caricature for a local rabbi who was retiring after 26 years — and was also a cubs fan. See if you can find those two ‘hidden’ details in the drawing, Nina-style.
I don’t pretend to be anywhere even close to the genius of Hirschfeld, but I do enjoy drawing in a similar style from time to time. I just finished reading up on his life and another book called Hirschfeld’s Harlem. The line-economy in his work and his ability to capture the spirit of the person in a drawing is second to none. I often walk past the Al Hirschfeld theatre on W45th and see the neon sign light up with his self-portrait. I don’t know a single caricaturist in history who had their own Broadway theatre named after them. (Here’s the story of that place.)
I always loved watching this short film “The Line King” and seeing him scratch away at the drawing board, his wife insisting he come to the table for dinner or get ready to go out, while he quietly finished a drawing of Paul Newman in the Broadway production of Our Town.
His work was a heavy influence on me as a young artist in Australia who had never been exposed to anything like it before. I will forever be wildly envious of Tom Richmond’s portrait that he had commissioned while he was still around.
I do these the old-fashioned way, on paper with pen and ink.