If I had to narrow down my influences to a single individual, it would have to be Mort Drucker. While there were several artists who worked for Mad Magazine that caught my eye, from Jack Davis, Will Elder, Wally Wood, to even Don Martin, but none could hold a candle, to my eyes, to the wonderful caricature work of Mad’s premiere Movie Satirist. I still marvel, today, at how he was able to create such beautiful work within the constraints of those unwieldily speech balloon labyrinths, mixing high and lowbrow comics stylings, the attention to detail to crowded scenes, the folds in clothing, the structure of hands and feet, and the balance between blacks, grey and white spaces. I learned to draw by pouring over these movie spoofs, over and over again. They still inspire to this very day.
I had the good fortune recently (writing this in 2018) to see an art exhibit of original Mad Magazine illustrations, and I of course was most excited about seeing Mort Drucker’s work in person. I was struck by his ‘grey tone’ techniques, sometimes using watercolor washes, sometimes zip-a-tone screens and sometimes laying white paint directly on the screens to achieve highlights. But it was the line work which has always impressed me. Those little squiggles for shading that my college art professors tried in vain to get me to abandon (still use them).