Artistic License


December 12, 2004

Meticulous grooming and self-delusion melt away fast under the ministrations of the skilled caricaturists at Universal Studios in Hollywood. For a small fee, artists inside the theme park and CityWalk will nail your salient features for better or worse, but always in a spirit of fun. We did some quick sketches with artist Anthony Diecidue and a few victims, er, subjects.

Anthony Diecidue
27, Caricature Artist

How did you get into this racket?

I went to school to do comic books and illustration, and I did some animation training. The animation industry went south and I got a job here. It's been about four years.

What is best about this gig?

Even when there aren't many customers I can draw in my sketchbook, and each artist draws each other.

What is worst about this gig?

When a customer hates it.

Does that happen?

Often enough. People have a certain [take] on the way they look.

Are there customers who bring out your wicked side?

Sometimes. You tend to control yourself.

Who is easiest to caricature?

Someone with a sense of humor.

Name a great portrait artist.

Norman Rockwell captured an amazing likeness while still creating the personality of the character.

Why is the Mona Lisa smiling?

Probably because she was having as good a time as the artist.

Shella Gamero
29, Flight Attendant
Hermosa Beach

What do you look like in real life?

Five-foot-eight, 135 pounds.

Why are you laughing?

I weigh 140 pounds, actually, but I've got to go on a diet.

Is there a celebrity you resemble?

I'm a little bit like Liv Tyler.

What would make you mad in a caricature?

Big eyes, probably.

But you have big eyes.

I know, but when I was little my brother used to tease me about my big eyes.

Does this drawing look like you?

Oh good, he gave me cleavage. I like it.

Why is the Mona Lisa smiling?

Maybe she's not smiling. Maybe she's thinking about something.

What is she thinking about?

She's thinking good things about men.

Chris Hacker
27, Law Student at Northwestern University

What do you look like in real life?

Five-foot-ten, 160 pounds. Sandy brown hair, blue eyes, average build.

Are you fudging here?

Why would I fudge that?

Does this drawing look like you?

There's a resemblance. He got the hairline.

Is that a good thing?

It's accurate.

Perhaps he could touch it up.

That won't do me any good.

What is your personality like in the drawing?

Cool, maybe a little smug. Some of the time that's accurate.

What's the most unforgettable portrait ever?

Pablo Picasso's self-portrait. It's a Cubist painting, and it looks like he had some sort of stroke on one side of his face and was looking at himself through broken glass.

Why is the Mona Lisa smiling?

Some say it's a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci in drag. That's what "The Da Vinci Code" was about.

Heather Chase
25, Actress
Sherman Oaks

What do you look like in real life?

A mix between Jenny McCarthy and Anna Nicole Smith. I used to get compared to Pamela Anderson a lot. I did a movie where I played her. My character was Patty Baywatch. It was called "Tommy Lee Must Die."

What in the drawing does not resemble you?

The very large forehead. I look like a brainiac. But that's what a caricature does.

What separates a portrait from a caricature?

In a portrait you look your best. When it starts to get really offensive, it's a caricature.

Most shocking portrait ever?

I saw one picture where Madonna had hair under her arms. Very shocking to me because I'm a Madonna fan.

Why is the Mona Lisa smiling?

She looks sexless, doesn't she? I think it's a self-portrait of Da Vinci. That's what the grin is about. Did you ever read "The Da Vinci Code"?



Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times