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Making Faces

For almost 40 years, Kerry Waghorn has drawn widely syndicated caricatures of the wealthy and powerful. The demise of newspapers has hit him hard, but he’s got a new trick up his sleeve
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For almost 40 years, Kerry Waghorn has drawn widely syndicated caricatures of the wealthy and powerful. The demise of newspapers has hit him hard, but he’s got a new trick up his sleeve

When the American caricaturist David Levine died in New York City, in December 2009, he was eulogized in a fashion befitting those whose legacies are unique and lasting. There was mention on the newscasts of the major television networks. There was a front-page obituary in the New York Times. Vanity Fair made note of Levine's passing on its website, where people could link to the 6,000-word profile it had run a year earlier. It was generally agreed that the world had lost the greatest caricaturist of the late 20th century.

At his home in West Vancouver, Kerry Waghorn greeted the news with profound remorse, though he'd never met Levine. Never met him, yet knew him in a way few had. That night, Waghorn cracked open a bottle of wine in his studio-a converted garage on his parents' property in North Vancouver-in memory of the man who more than anyone had shaped his life.

Waghorn was born in North Van on January 10, 1947, the son of a copper­smith father, Ray, and a homemaker mother, Morah. Kerry started scribbling pictures early on, showing undeniable talent. The first drawing he published-a cartoon, involving a sign painter-was for this magazine when he was 13.

If that was his first break, his second was meeting Roy Peterson, the legendary editorial cartoonist for the Vancouver Sun. Peterson, now 74 and retired, saw something in the precocious teenager's modest portfolio worth encouraging. It was Peterson who introduced Waghorn to the work of Levine. "And that's what set him off," recalls Peterson. "Kerry became a little obsessed with Levine's work. He had this bundle of Levine's drawings and he'd make drawings that were almost replicas."

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