The three faces of Andy Zaltzman

Maybe he doesn’t like photoshoots; maybe he’s gathering material for a museum devoted to his own image; but for some reason, my brother has asked me to paint him for his past three Edinburgh posters. He always does this a couple of days before the deadline, so there’s only enough time to churn out the pictures, but not enough to improve them. Also, today’s lesson is that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, as I think these get worse as they progress. The first is my favourite:


In the next one, I was going for a sort of naive style, I think? He had to look very serious, because of the gravity of being sworn in in court. I do wish I’d chosen less muddy colours for the words.

I had grand plans for quite an elaborate collage for 2011, but yet again, Andy commissioned the picture not only within milliseconds of the deadline, but also within a couple of weeks of my wedding. Suffice to say, I was pretty busy. At least he was kind to me in not opting for one of his usual 17-word show titles.

The previous posters were painted in acrylic, but because subconsciously I must hate myself, I chose to use watercolours for the first time in about 20 years. Watercolour is a tricksy bastard as paint goes.

I wanted it to look as if his hair was fire. I didn’t intend to make him look pear-shaped, seeing as he isn’t. Drawing and painting people has never been my strong suit, but I should start practicing because they are probably the most interesting subjects to paint.

To complete the set, here’s a plaster bust our father made of Andy when he was perhaps five years old.

He was trying to anticipate what Andy’s adult face might look like. In the family photo archive there’s a series of plaster-spotted pictures of the young Andy from every angle; there’s a similar set of pictures of our eldest brother, too, but I suspect he didn’t sit still long enough to be a suitable subject.

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3 Comments to “The three faces of Andy Zaltzman”

  1. Love the hair on the most recent one.

  2. I must say, Andy was really slacking this year on the title for his show!

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