This is a long tale to tell, but it must be told to fully appreciate the effort it took to get this next illustration done. If you're the kind that likes to just look at pictures then go ahead, but I warn you, there could be a test on this material later.
I've been doing a few RE-request from people that have already received an illustration from me. Gail, my English friend - the Proper Writer , is one of those. Not long ago she requested an illustration of her Father-In-Law (FIL) to give to him as a birthday present. She wrote that he is a retired dentist and she added that, "He didn't have a lot of sympathy for those in pain, but was very well thought of by his patients, and the children loved him!"
Now I don't know about you, but the LAST thing I want from MY dentist is a lack of sympathy. Apparently, though, he was able to"pull it off" (pun intended), because there are still enough people around liking him well enough to continue celebrating his birthday.
Gail also said that he use to sing hymns to his patients while working on them. She wanted me to illustrate him singing a verse from "Love Divine All Loves Excelling."
I really wanted to get this illustration done right, because as you know if you've spent sometime on my blog, I am a man of faith, and so I have great respect for a guy like Gail's FIL.
So on my FIRST attempt at drawing Gail's FIL I took great care in making the words of the hymn an interesting part of the illustration -- not just a few words in a bubble. I decided to vary the font style in the song so that I could give special emphasis to some of the words. But, alas, as I have been know to do in the past, I focused so much on the art, that I ended dropping a word out of the hymn; leaving myself no room to squeeze it into the drawing. And I nearly had the whole thing inked in too.
So, I just flipped the paper over and started all over again. This time I got my wife to help me make sure it was all correct before I started to ink it in. Here is my second attempt, and the FIRST piece that I sent to Gail... all the waaaay over in Jolly O' England. Yes, I said "first." Because the story does not end there.
Each time I mail one of my drawings I try to take great care to package it right. I put them in a plastic sleeve, with some kind of stiff backing to give it some rigidity. This time I use a piece of foam-board, which I thought would give it the durability it needed to make the trip. Plus! I always make sure that the Post Office stamps "DO NOT BEND" right on the front.
Well, you know where this story is headed. The illustration made it all the way to Gail's door, but not without some damage. Gail, (reluctantly I might add), wrote me and said that the drawing had arrived, only it had gotten folded. In fact, it was folded right over where it was stamped, "DO NOT BEND." Interesting. One wonders if some postal worker was having a bad day and decided to take it out on my envelope. In other words, somebody went postal on my postage.
Gail sent me these photos of the damage. The drawing was folded so badly that she was unable to get the crease out.
Now, I know what you're wanting to ask me right at this moment. "Did you insure it?" The answer is, of course, no. Rather than spend the extra money I always think, "Hey, I can always draw another one." I think also the concept of, "It will never happen to me" plays in here. Besides, even if I had insured it, that still would mean that all Gail had in hand was a damaged illustration, leaving her without a proper (there's that word again Gail) gift for her FIL. AND the clock was ticking! This was already a rush job, and I wanted to have the gift there in time for his special day.
As I've said before, I aim to please. So for the THIRD TIME! I sat down to draw Gail's FIL -- again. By this time I am getting very familiar with his face. (Not that it was painful to do so, or anything.)
Part of the joy I have in creating all these caricatures is the challenge that each one presents to me -- trying to illustrate all the varied scenarios that people request. So it's not as much fun to draw the same thing THREE TIMES! Therefore I had to try and make this one better, if not just a little bit better.
Here then is the THIRD drawing of Mr. Dentist FIL. What do you think? Which one do you like the best? (Maybe you shouldn't answer that after I just wrote that I tried to do a better job on the second one. Oh, go ahead. I can take it - I think.)
This time I purchased a tube to send the caricature in. Apparently it worked. Although Gail said she had to give the tube a "Jedi-light-saber twist of the wrist" to get the drawing to come out of the thing.
But! the story does not end there. While the final version made it the English Gail's door before FIL's birthday, she decided to go ahead and give him the other one early. Apparently no one else was bringing a gift to the main party and they thought it more proper to present their gift at a private family dinner ahead of time.
All that effort to get the thing there on time and she sitll gives him the damaged one! Oh well, I forgive you Gail. But it's a good thing that your Jedi trick didn't wreck the third one, or you would have been on you own there kid-o! (But then you probably wouldn't think that I'm so "FAB: after all - would you?)
This is why you see here a photo of FIL holding the damaged piece in a frame. She said that she was going to sneak in the newest version into the frame when he wasn't looking. (I'll be insulted if he doesn't notice.)
When he saw it Gail wrote, "After a few moments of silence he and MIL burst out laughing. They both thought it was excellent. Pity that now after almost 60 years of being a slave to his razor, FIL has rebelled and is growing a beard. Well they do say you start going back to your childhood, I think he's now at the teenager stage!”
(Now go back and read that last paragraph with your best British accent in mind. It's a lot more fun to read.)
So that's my sad tale. Thanks for sticking around long enough to read it all the way through. And thank you AGAIN Gail (I think you're FAB) for trusting me to create a special expression of your love for this man. Give him my birthday greetings, and tell him... tell him... umm... Tell him that I'll NEVER sit in his dentist chair. No "unsympathetic" tooth driller is going to touch these pearly whites (OK, off-whites) of mine! Even if he's singing a hymn to me while he's doing his work.
Good bye for now.