The new mayor was a godsend for Grimes: heavily freckled, red hair fading to white, ears that stuck out just a bit, and the beginnings of jowls at his cheeks. Nobody could argue that Mayor Grayling wasn’t a handsome man, but in the eye of a seasoned caricaturist, those features were ripe to be pushed out of whack.

Grimes doodled at his easel while looking at an 8×10 glossy of the man. He began with the shape of the head: a Nixonesque pear was perfect, and was added in light pencil. He fleshed out the cheeks next, bloating the slight flabbiness of Grayling’s jaws into jowls of epic proportions that wouldn’t be out of place on a mastiff. The mayor’s ears were stretched into outrageous satellite dishes ready to receive broadcasts from the Viking landers on Mars. Brisk charcoal strokes placed the mayor’s modest hairdo atop the pear and turned it into a grizzled and crosshatched mop. A dash of red from a Copic would be added later for the full color Sunday edition.

But it was those freckles which really interested Grimes. He drew a group of outlines next to the main sketch, testing different patterns and colors of freckles. It was a delicate balance: too many and too large meant Grayling looked like a spotted Martian; too few and too small meant there was nothing funny about it. Soon Grimes hit on a good balance, but one of his freckle studies intrigued him: in it, he’d used the freckles to spell out the phrase “politics as usual,” an inversion of Grayling’s campaign slogan.

“That’s a keeper,” Grimes chuckled. He added the freckle-slogan to the main caricature and leaned back, admiring his handiwork.

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