Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Love Imperial Zombie Lucy

Here's a drawing I was asked to do for the Twin Cities Imperial Court of Minnesota (kind of an LGBT Elks Lodge, I suppose) to publicize an event this weekend:
It's their first annual Zombie Ball, and my assignment was -- wait, let me describe it in steps:
  1. Start with the picture from "I Love Lucy" of Lucy, Ethel, Ricky and Fred driving in the car.
  2. Replace Lucy, Ethel, Ricky and Fred with four members of the Imperial Court.
  3. Make them zombies.

I started out by sketching the original picture, just to get the characters in place. Then, without zombifying them, I tried caricaturing the Imperial Court, beginning with "Ethel," since I was sent two pictures of her, and she bore some slight resemblance to Vivian Vance. "Ricky" was next, since he's in front; I was told he'd be clean-shaven for the event. The one photo I had of him is almost ten years old if the imprinted date is correct.

I found several pictures of "Fred" among the Court's Facebook photos -- which helped a lot. With "Lucy," on the other hand, I only had this one photo to work from, and it was the lowest-resolution photo of the bunch. (There were some photos of a woman who might have been the same person, but I just couldn't be sure.) That made her very difficult to draw, and I decided that nothing about this drawing would work at all unless I gave her Lucy's hair -- particularly since she and "Ricky" bear little or no resemblance to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. I suppose I should have done the same with Ethel, since the guy who's going to be Ethel is no doubt rustling up a Vivian Vance wig for the party.

The last step was to add zombie features. In the case of Ricky, that involved giving him a totally different facial expression than Desi Arnaz in the photo, in which the four appear to be singing. I beat up the hats, blackened eyes, tore off ears, and broke Lucy's neck. (Sorry, dear.) Jeff, who had signed me on to the project, had suggested turning the picture into a car accident, but then there would have been no element of the original picture left.

In the end, does it work? I'm not sure it does. I might have liked to choose a different picture to start from -- say, Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory. I can see severed heads going by them on the assembly line as they top the exposed brains with whipped cream and cherries; Fred could be messing with the line's speed dial, and Ricky... um, I don't know. Bandleading, or reacting to the mess, or something.

Or don't you think these four would be ideal as zombie Mary Ann, Ginger, Skipper and Gilligan?

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