Drawing Artistic Inspiration From C-SPAN's Talking Heads

By NPR Staff

March 24, 2013

A few months ago, Reid Cherlin, a GQ magazine contributor and former White House spokesman for President Obama, was sent a link to a website with what he says was "a sort of grotesque sketch" of his face.

It was the website of Michael McCutcheon, a 73-year-old retiree who draws sketches of all of the guests on C-SPAN's morning programming. Cherlin was a guest on C-SPAN last year, a pretty normal thing for D.C. pundits.

Intrigued by the site, Cherlin contacted McCutcheon and wrote about him and his drawings for The New Republic.

McCutcheon, who has no formal art training, says it's just some "random thing" he does in the morning hours to occupy his time. He says he uses C-SPAN because it gives him time to draw the guests.

"If you go anywhere else and try to find someone to draw a picture of, they're moving around and you only get a couple of seconds at it," McCutcheon tells Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition Sunday. "These folks are there for 15-20 minutes, sometimes. So they're just a talking head, I guess."

As far as the criticism that his talking head sketches aren't always true to life, he says it doesn't bother him.

"I don't really care how they come out," he says. "If they look right to me, then that's good enough."

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