Based On Real People

One of my Sunday afternoon “Lonely Guy” activities, especially in winter, is to read the New York Times and watch television with the sound muted. If I happen to glance up and catch something interesting on the screen—a tennis match, say, or bull riding on ESPN, or Christopher Hitchens ranting on a political panel about why we should be in Iraq (another sort of bull riding, you might say), I may drop the paper to the floor and bring up the sound. That seldom happens. Most Sundays the TV remains silent and only the gentle rustle of newsprint is heard in my room. Sometimes, though, the thing on TV that catches my eye is the shape of a nose, or a hairstyle, or an odd mouth—these appearing on one pundit or another—and I feel a powerful urge to attempt to draw the head spewing the words. So I open my sketchbook and select a soft pencil from the coffee mug on the end table by my chair (most likely a Dixon Ticonderoga #2, my favorite), and set out once again to prove to myself that I’m not only in the race to win the title of world’s worst caricaturist, but will also likely cop the medal for being the slowest. Of course the nice thing about talking heads on TV is, except for their lips, they hold still for long periods—which means I can take all the time I need to get it wrong.

By the way, I have no idea why I wrote “The Other End” at the bottom of this sketchbook page, unless it’s simply a lame joke of some sort. More likely it’s that I just enjoy doing drop shadows and the more letters I have to work with the better. (It also occurs to me that a forensic detective could figure out that I’m a right-hander just by the soft pencil smears on the page’s right side and lower corner.) The thing that drives me mad is that I have no memory of who most of the people are I was trying to draw. (Memo to self: Keep better sketchbook notes). All I know for sure is that these folks appeared on C-SPAN2 Book TV sometime in December, 2006. Also, I’m pretty sure the guy on the top left is a well-known newsman, one of the Kalb brothers, I think—but which one? And the woman one up from the bottom on the left is an expert on world religions. I loved the talk she gave (I have the sound up while I’m sketching) but, again, I can’t recall her name. Of course all this assumes that I managed a passing likeness of those two, which with my caricature track record is rare. So if anyone out there in Blogistan-land can I.D. any of these roughly rendered talking heads, I’d appreciate your help. Names, clues to names, occupations, etc., may be delivered to me in the comments box, below; or by email at: Copyright © 2008 Jim Sizemore.

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