Dr. Martin Luther King + Tavis Smiley

A few months ago I got a commission to draw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a Tavis Smiley event that was to be held Monday in Dr. King’s honor. Mr. Smiley was very particular and sent me very specific notes:

"It's really really lovely! I think the eyes are not quite there yet. I'm not an artist, but I am a collector, and folk tend to get everything about MLK right - except for the eyes. I dislike the national monument in DC for this very reason, the artist didn't capture the eyes. In the pic I sent, his eyes are more pensive, more piercing. I also wonder about the angle, the direction of his gaze. In the pic he looks to be deep thinking, which is why I chose it. A "what's on his mind"  kind of thing. In her sketch, he's just looking at you, like a portrait. So, again, it's the eyes. Otherwise, I love it!”

After I made the needed changes, I got this note from him:

“We're cooking with fish grease now! Love it! Let's roll! Tell Kathryn I'm sending her a big hug! Thank you!”

So wasn’t that nice? But then, whoops! Mr. Smiley fell out of favor, engagements cancelled… sigh…  Here is how it would have looked on the little booklets:



also, coincidentally, I illustrated a whole book of limericks for Garrison Keillor around that time. Day after I submitted the invoice he got canned. I am of course all for #metoo but crazy how it has affected me adversely!