Gerald Ford: 
The Man No One Could Caricature

Gerald Ford. 38th President of the Unites States of America. Pardoner of Nixon. Cartoonist's nightmare.

Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when the editorial cartoonists of America had a president so boring looking he was almost impossible to draw accurately. No one could seem to agree on what Gerry's most dominant feature was. His chin? His forehead? His upper lip?  As a result, the caricatures of the President varied greatly from artist to artist. 

As a tribute to these troubled cartoonists I have created a mini gallery of the many Fords that appeared on the editorial pages during the first shaky years of his Administration. 

Artist: Drapper Hill

A fairy tame caricature of President Ford that fails to really play-up or play-down any particular part of his face. When a new personality appears on the political scene, its usually a good idea to start slow, and wait for the commedians to tell you what's wrong with his face. 

Artist: Lou Grant

Another tame caricature. When you have to label the President of the United States in big letters on his coat, you know something's wrong.

Artist: Paul Conrad

Paul Conrad is usually a real pro when it comes to caricatures, but even he is no match for the face from Hell. The famously left-wing Conrad likes to make all Republicans look evil, but the look just doesn't work with the dopey Ford. 

Artist: Bill Schorr

Gerald Ford used to be a pro football player, so putting him in his jersey helps the likeness. Schorr was also ahead of his time with the big upper lip, which is now considered a staple in Ford caricatures. 

Artist: Ralph Steadman

Crazy drugged out Ralph Steadman sees Ford as some sort of scarecrow type creature. He's one of the few cartoonists that noticed  up that Ford is bald, though. 

Artist: John Lane

Ford has a big forehead, but it's not that big. 

Artist: Pat Oliphant

Pat has drawn eight Presidents in his career.They always start out weird looking, and gradually evolve 'till they look more normal. Ford's chin got smaller and forehead got bigger as the years went by. 

Artist: Dave Simpson

A skullish head sits atop a tiny body in this caricature of President Ford. The big head / small body look may work with some politicians, but when the politician has a huge body in real life, the look is merely distracting. 

Artist: Roy Peterson

Another giant head little body cartoon. I like this Ford the best. It's fairly realistic in terms of detail, maybe that's what makes it work. He still looks a bit too evil, though.

 Artist: David Levine 

 The features are perfect on this one, but they need more space on the head. Luckily, Levine knew this, and his subsequent Fords are some of the most accurate I've ever seen.

Artist: Ed Sorrel

Ed Sorrel was quick to pick up on Ford's Frankensteinyness. As long as you follow Frankenstein's proportions, your drawing of the President will be pretty accurate. 

Artist: Mike Peters

Mike Peter's early work was a lot tenser  than the wild "Mother Goose and Grim" type stuff he's now known for. Peters says Frankenstien was his inspiration when he drew Ford, but from the look of it, I'd say he was influenced more by Pat Oliphant. 

Artist: Gerald Scarfe

Big lips on this picture of President Ford give him an almost African American look. Scarfe would later drop the lips and instead give Ford huge flappy ears. 

Artist: Ed Gamble

Gamble was one of the few cartoonists to notice Gerry's tiny crooked teeth. Geez, Ford sure had a lot of weird deformities for someone who was so hard to draw.

Got a good caricature of Ford I'm missing? E-mail me and I'll add it.