Drawing Hillary

| I've been fascinated to see the editorial cartoonists draw the presidential candidates. Who they draw tends to follow the horse race. Hillary? Lots of cartoons. Kucinich? Not so much. But how they draw them can make you notice things you haven't paid attention to before. I've been collecting cartoons for a long time, mostly those published in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and I recently sifted through the most recent several months to see how they are portraying the various candidates. I'll start this series with Hillary — she's easy and likely to be around for a while.


I'd always thought of Hillary as having a round face, to the extent that I thought of her face shape at all. But of the cartoonists I follow regularly, only Mike Luckovich draws her with a round or oval face. The others make her face rectangular or square.

Clinton's official Senate photo
Mike Luckavich
Drawn by Mike Luckavich, Hillary has an oval face
Mike Luckavich
Nick Anderson draws Hillary's face as a square
Chip Bok
Chip Bok makes the height and width of her head the same, but narrows the forehead
Chip Bok
Glenn McCoy
Glenn McCoy makes her face rectangular
Glenn McCoy

The most distinctive parts of Hillary's face seem to be the big round cheeks and the small mouth, usually drawn with pursed lips. They all give her pouffy hair parted slightly off to one side and prominent eyebrows. Only Glenn McCoy gives her a large nose. McCoy's politics seem generally on the conservative side, so it's probably no accident that Hillary comes off with coarse, exaggerated features.


When Hillary's body is drawn, her hips and overall body shape are emphasized. She does have wide hips, wider than her shoulders, that protrude on either side of an otherwise small body. Since she often wears pant suits, the effect is to give her lower body a triangular shape, tapering in to the feet, shod in sensible low heels. The overall outline, then, is a squat diamond shape with a head perched on top.

Hillary's official portrait as First Lady; her hips are like parentheses
Signe Wilkinson
Signe Wilkinson captures the wide hips and tapering lower part of the body, almost a pedestal with torso and head on top
Chip Bok
Chip Bok uses much the same shape, but the body is thick and heavy.
Glenn McCoy
Glenn McCoy puts Hillary in a skirt, but the tiny feet exaggerate the big butt. He also gives her an obvious breast, also out of proportion.


Mike Luckovich distinctively draws Hillary with a huge head in proportion to the rest of the body and a skinny neck. In fact, the head is more than one-third the total height of the body, about 40% by my reckoning.

A huge head
Hillary's head is about 40% of her total height
Head to body ratio
Note that Bill's head is an even greater proportion of the height

I find this interesting because to me she seems to have a small head. Is this perhaps Luckovich's way of portraying her as smart? While he does maintain the general body shape it is not at all exaggerated. It's as though he has to draw a body, but makes it a rather generic pant-suited female body, rather than a central part of his portrayal.


View slideshow

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



Recent Articles