Toon Musings: The First ‘Do
We storytelling cartoonists like to put our characters in their own immersive settings; thus, like any writer of fiction, we are often engaged in world-building. In order to get that creation right, one often must research a wide variety of subjects, sometimes plumbing the depths of Life’s Greatest and most intractable Mysteries. Truly, we are Renaissance Men (and also Women, I grudgingly suppose). So recently, current events have compelled me to turn my probing intellect toward solving one of this nation’s most baffling enigmas: What is going on with Donald Trump’s hair?
See, I was drawing this year’s holiday card (as we artistes do), and wanted to include president Two Scoops in order to make a cheap political joke about the Manbaby-in-Chief. When you’re doing a caricature, you want to get the salient features right, as I explained in a previous post. That weird-ass hair of his is a salient feature.
The topic of the Presidential Coif has been the subject of discussion for some time. In the recent blockbuster bestseller Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House the author cites no less an authority than his daughter Ivanka:
“She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray,”
What a maddening lack of detail! What parts of the “furry circle” are drawn up which way? Sure, they are pulled to the center, but then what? “Swept back” does not explain the cantilevered effect of that shelf of hair that projects forward, over the ‘presidential’ brow! Also, how large is this “contained island” of hairless scalp, and where is it? Is the hair parted at any point? The world demands answers!
Time magazine helpfully supplies a diagram:
…but states right there in the infographic that they “sought the counsel of prominent men’s stylist Losi, of the Martial Vivot salon in Manhattan…”. Sure, an educated source, but is it authoritative, or is this just rank speculation? As with all questions of vital national significance, speculation abounds. Hell, I’ve speculated myself (see above).
Here’s a diagram that’s been making the rounds of the Interwebs:
It’s very specific and plausible, but I have no clue as to its provenance.
Vanity Fair ran a delightfully snide slideshow on the history of the ‘do, with some beguiling details. Alas, the more recent slides lack the engineering specifications to provide true understanding. The pictures themselves are quite useful, though, at least in establishing the general flow of the hair, and where it’s parted.
I wasn’t planning to draw every detail of Twitler’s hairstyle; I am not a ‘rivet man’ as we say in the biz. I was hoping to depict a simple shape that evoked the hairdo, but in order to do that, I wanted to Understand it somehow. I now see that as an unattainable goal, as true Understanding is often elusive. In the end, I decided to do what the pros do: steal from someone else.
There are innumerable cartoons of Cheeto Benito—as many cartoons as there are editorial cartoonists. Google ‘em yourself. I chose instead a relatively unstoried fellow I encountered on the Web some years ago who specializes in broadly satirical, often quite NSFW, but immaculately crafted, works (I believe he draws for Mad Magazine these days.). He is Jason Yungbluth of the website What Is Deep Fried, and he has been known to dabble in political commentary. Here is his Boss Tweet:
Isn’t that a hoot?
As with all swipes, one strives to use the source material to inform the work, rather than just stealing it outright. Here’s my Il Douché:
Magnificent, no? Sometimes, you just gotta wing it.
Phil Maish is a freelance cartoonist of no repute. His modest efforts may be viewed at myth-fits.com. He has worked for the Government, the Press, the Opera, and a Soulless Corporation. Self-taught and beholden only to his formidable wife and amazing son, he spends his free time gadding about in his vintage autogyro and, with his faithful manservant Nicopol, exploring untrammeled wildernesses, discovering hitherto unknown animal species, smashing spy rings, and regaling fellow members of the League of Intrepid Adventurers with tales of his intrepid adventures.