I read today that Bill Cosby recently received the “Mark Twain Prize for American Humor”. I’ve always been a huge fan of his from the time I was little and heard my brother playing Mr. Cosby’s album titled “To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With”, to his days on “The Cosby Show”.
As I started to work on this caricature, I first thought about how I wanted to draw him. I set out to find some reference photos of how he looks today. But, in my search I soon realized that it was the younger Bill Cosby who had an influence on me. I remember watching him on the show “The Electric Company”, a great, great show from the 70’s and, I think I even saw him on “Sesame Street”. But, it was his animated show “Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids” that became a big part of my growing up. I loved plopping in front of the T.V. on a Saturday Morning to watch it and, as I look back now I realize something. As a kid growing up in a small town in the Midwest, “Fat Albert” was my exposure to people who were a different color and race than me. This was one of the few shows on T.V. that showed me that there was a diverse America out there. This message was unknowingly silent to me though, as I was a kid who just fell in love with great characters on a Saturday morning show and who loved to hear Mr. Cosby’s message that he was teaching. Now as an adult I can see that it was much more.