The Illustrated Bostonians

When their hand-inked portraits made their debut in the paper, the Globe’s new metro columnists joined a growing lineup of locals with a drawn double.


The personalized ’toon is a sign that you’ve made it in Boston (or that, at the very least, you work for a company with a solid marketing budget). But after being splashed across newspapers and TV, these drawings are often more recognizable than the people they represent—and, well, that might not always be to their benefit.

We ran some examples past local professional illustrator Dale Stephanos and the illustrations’ real-life subjects, and found that sometimes the 2-D version can fall a little flat.

**************(columns for ‘The Cartoon’ & ‘The Real Deal’ not included—go in that order after name)*************************

Yvonne Abraham
Newspaper columnist, in the Boston Globe
Our Expert’s Critique: “I have to say: Yvonne’s kind of hot. And that doesn’t come across in the drawing at all. But I’m sure the Globe wouldn’t want readers to think that its writers are hotties anyway.”
What They Think: Abraham: “I hate it. I look like Princess Fiona—after she married Shrek. I mean, I’m never really pleased with any representation of myself, even photos. That being said, I’d prefer not to look like I’m about to hurl.”

Tom and Ray Magliozzi

Cohosts of NPR’s Car Talk, in a PBS cartoon series beginning next June
Our Expert’s Critique: “This comes close to capturing the likeness of the voices we hear on the radio. It’s loose, lively, colorful, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, while still being sort of traditional mainstream cartooning.”
What They Think: Ray: “The animation company called me and said, ‘We’re trying to draw your brother, but the animators keep quitting. And these are guys from science fiction shows!’ It’s the first time they’ve dabbed makeup on finished drawings.”


Bob Kaufman President of Bob’s Discount Furniture, in commercials
Our Expert’s Critique: “Using animation for the Bob’s commercials is the way to go. On-camera, Bob in the flesh isn’t pretty. My thumb reflexively twitches when I see his face on TV, whether I have a remote in my hand or not.”
What They Think: Kaufman: “I see it more as a company character or logo than as a representation of me. It’s interesting, entertaining, mesmerizing. Our ads have a heavy rotation, but the animation does a good job of not being boring.”

Stacy Madison Cofounder of Stacy’s Pita Chips, in advertisements
Our Expert’s Critique: “This looks like it was clipped from a late-’90s copy of Good Housekeeping. Think about Aunt Jemima: You want to eat anything that woman cooks. Stacy? Not so much.” (Actually, we think cartoon Stacy is kind of a babe. —Eds.)
What They Think: Madison: “The first few versions were really bad, and I thought, if I look like that, I’d better find a plastic surgeon. I knew the current version was accurate when my kids saw it on the kitchen table and said, ‘Look, it’s my mommy!’”

Jerry Ellis Cofounder of Building #19, in advertisements
Our Expert’s Critique: “It’s the Mickey Mouse of the salvage-retail world. Mickey makes you think of eating turkey legs at sweltering theme parks. Jerry makes you think of ‘Good Stuff…Cheap’ and needing a shower after leaving ‘the Building.’”
What They Think: Ellis: “The drawings have evolved and improved with age, just as I have. When we started 43 years ago and needed a cartoonist, the person we hired was a schoolteacher. Now we also have a guy who worked for Disney.”

Lucky the Leprechaun Boston Celtics mascot
Our Expert’s Critique: “It’s a perfectly adequate drawing and all, but really, how is this different from any of the offensive Native American mascots out there?…I’d love to see Lucky throw down with the Fighting Irish dude from Notre Dame.”
What They Think: Damon Blust (who performs as Lucky): “Lucky’s not so thin down the middle, so I tell people I use my leprechaun powers to lose my gut while I perform. And I wear Adidas, not loafers.”