An Influential and Respected Man

He may not look like a villian however Signor Ferrari played by Sydney Greenstreet  is on the side of money.  He’s an opportunist and in his own words  with  a touch of humor, “As the leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca, I am an influential and respected man.” Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, simply categorises him as a “fat hypocrite”.  Ouch!  I guess they weren’t as sensitive about obesity remarks back in the day.  Body weight does not make one any more or less  a hypocrite.

Nonetheless,  Sydney Greenstreet was an impressive actor in front of the camera or on stage. He worked with such big stars as Clarke Gable , Ava Gardner and Jimmy Stewart, just to name a few. The above cartooniture ( my caricatures) pays homage to a star with a bubbly deep laugh that could make anyone feel at home. Christmas in Connecticut is one of my favorite holiday movies in which Sydney Greenstreet plays in.  He died in 1954  from diabetes and kidney failure.

Okay, as promised I’m gonna give you a peek at how I paint these little paintings.

First there is the initial sketch.  This took me awhile.  I had to totally trash my original design to arrive at what’s below.

Greenstreet has this jolly quality about him so I went with the sketch on the far right.

That’s a 2B (soft) woodless pencil above that was used to outline the drawing so I could transfer it onto the canvas by tracing. (like this)

Next I moved on to a basic under-painting.  Something for a little hue underneath the grayscale painting (monochromatic, I guess).  The orange is a burnt orange wash and I used white with a touch of tahiti blue (Americana craft paint) for his shirt.

Now it’s time to mix some grey paint (white, little black and a touch of dark blue) and fill in over the orange.

I started painting a flesh tone over his face as well.  It will all be black and white but the under painting colour will help

give it a certain richness. You may have noticed I toned down the size of the eyebrows.

The hat was painted in black (actually it wasn’t 100% black. I wanted the black outline to stand out a bit so I added some white to the black for the hat.  You can see the shirt was started in the next frame and then , finally, a nice sharp outline using a script liner.

I think there is only one more main character to cover in then they’ll all be on stage to take a bow, so to speak.  A promise to the younger folk; I will God-willing, do some characters from a more contemporary film. It’ll be fun!

Thanks for taking the time to visit and as Senor Ferrari would say, “It was gracious of you to share it with me.”

Play it Once, Sam. (For old times sake.)


Ah..good ole Sam. Now he’s a dependable person. He shares a rare connection as friend between both Ilsa and Rick in the story of Casablanca.

He attempts to get Ilsa not to insist on playing an old song that ties his friend Rick and her together. He knows the emotional pain it will bring Humphrey Bogart’s character. In another scene he tries to temper Rick’s plunge into an alcohol fueled depression. Believe it or not, Sam’s (Arthur Wilson), role in the story is very important. He often represents or becomes the very backbone of motivation for Rick Blaine only proving further that a good loyal friend is one’s greatest ally. Boy can he sing and play the piano! Yes…the bow tie is on purpose.


You can see my version of Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) above.  He ‘s a bit of a ladies man and an opportunist. To say more might give you a bit of a plot spoiler if you’ve never seen the movie Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart. He seems to   dislike  the Nazi invasion of France ( Vichy France at this point) yet plays a compromiser at first hoping to avoid violence.  The stripes in the back of my drawing are an attempted homage to the French flag.  In order to get the correct tonal differences in black and white I downloaded a colour flag into a photo manipulation program (CorelDraw) and then converted the image to grayscale.

I’ve always liked drawing cartoon faces of people. I couldn’t really tell you why. Perhaps it’s that shy, reclusive side of me that I’ve always struggled with my whole life. If I live to be really old ( that’s older than 48,ha) I will likely be one of those seniors that instead of having a house full of pet cats I’ll have caricatures of all my favorite movie and TV personalities hanging around me.  O well. Guess that’s harmless anyway!  That being said, still looking forward to showing you the full cast BUT there’s a few more to come…for old times sake.  See ya next post guys!

This Time…

Laszlo by Kevin Cameron

In the movie Casablanca, Victor Laszlo is known to us as the calm yet impassioned embodiment of resistance to the Nazi regime.  He is also the husband of Ilsa for whom he has unwavering and devoted love. He is confident and stoic and kind of supplies a backbone to the wider plot of Casablanca.

In this Cartooniture I try to respect the ideal he stands for while still having fun in my own way.

Like the others this  was first hand drawn on paper and transferred to 11X14 canvas.  After which it was painted in with acrylic paint.  I think this toon became a little Picasso-esque and a  bit of cubism started to slip in with the large ,offset eyes.

Sometimes it takes several sketches ( for me at least) to arrive at a satisfactory likeness.  It often helps to squint a bit when studying from a photograph.  This helps you see the essential features.  Watching the movie or studying the person in real life, if possible, will help you notice small facial gestures and body movements which are eyes to the soul of the person you are trying to capture as a caricature.  The main thing is to not give up.  You’ll eventually be able to say, like Victor Laszlo, “This time I know we’ll win for sure”.

Stay tuned there’s lots more to come plus the grand finale when all of the characters are placed together. K