However, I was soon to discover that everyone appreciates someone who can draw. Even in my profession as an artilleryman, I found that my terrain sketches were admired - not just because of how nice they looked, but because anyone could pick them up and immediately identify the various targets and reference points because they matched the terrain in front of them. Also, I found myself in constant demand to do t-shirts, coins, tattoos, etc. for the various units I was a part of. I even painted a few murals that are still up at Fort Sill and outside the T-Hutte in MARFOREUR headquarters.
My first effort into doing caricatures occurred during my second deployment. One of my buddies had asked me to do one of him, and it quickly evolved into a large drawing that involved all of the principal staff and officers in our Battalion Landing Team. It got so popular that people would come by my stateroom to see it and provide suggestions on how I should draw some of their buddies. By the end of the float, everyone wanted a copy, so I ended up going to Kinko's and making a bunch of color copies and then hand-colored each one so it looked pretty close to the original. I then sold 'em for $20 apiece, and I think I made somewhere around $400 or so.
Several years later, I began doing these sorts of sketches on an individual basis - either for retirements or end-of-tour gestures. I also did a few on my own of some of the well-known figures in Marine Corps lore.
Here's one of legendary Marine Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, 5 time recipient of the Navy Cross:
Here's the original source photo that provided the inspiration:
I also did another one of Major General Smedley Butler, well-known to legions of Marines as being the only officer to ever be awarded two Medals of Honor for two separate acts of valor:
Sadly, both of these original drawings have disappeared; probably stuck in some forgotten folder somewhere. Fortunately, I was smart enough to scan them into my computer before they lost themselves in the depths of my file drawer.
I guess that's enough for now - I'll post more of them later when I have a bit more time.