Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lincoln and the Joker

After reading a book about the Civil War to my children, I felt compelled to draw a picture of Abraham Lincoln. I wanted to practice some contour and shading lines, so in the beginning, it became the main focus of the piece. I usually begin by drawing some main lines in pencil. Then, I use Micron ink pens to go over the pencil lines and, in this case, I also used the ink to do all of the contour/shading lines.

I wondered how I might spice it up a bit and make it original and interesting. As I drew his old school crazy hair, I kept seeing the Joker's hair. A light bulb went off. A dull portrait would become a mash-up piece of fan art. The only thing I changed about the reference picture of Lincoln acting as my guide was to add a flower onto his lapel.  The Joker, of course, uses the flower to squirt his victims and enemies with venom, acid, or plain water... just to screw with 'em. The picture below is the final piece void of color to emphasize what little was contextually changed regarding Lincoln himself. 

Below is the finished picture with color. The colors were essential in making this bizarre mash-up work. All coloring was done with colored pencils, save the red "HA"s, which were done in Micron ink. As for his face, it was the lack of color that really brought out the Joker. To the left of Lincoln, is the Gettysburg address. For this, I printed off an enlarged copy of his actual handwritten speech, and forged (very carefully) each and every line until running out of room at the bottom. Then, I tried to give it an old parchment look. To his right, is the well known maniacal Joker laugh. 

Let it be known that I have the utmost respect for Abraham Lincoln, and I am not insinuating a resemblance between the two figures. On the contrary, they are contrasts of each other. One was a very calculating caring man, the other a crazed lunatic with no regard for human life. However, I think it would have been "altogether fitting" for Lincoln to call out on the battlefield with the line made famous by Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker:
"This [nation] needs an enema!"