A former WWE (WWF) and WCW legendary professional wrestling superstar, Lash LeRoux. Lash has traded his tight pants and boots for pencils and brushes. He is now a full-time caricatures artist - doing live caricatures for events and parties in and around the Atlanta area.
Lash LeRoux has traded his tight pants and boots for pencils and brushes - now a caricature artist for events/parties.
Not only is Lash a phenomenal artist, but his outgoing and tremendous personality will be a great spotlight at any event or party. Guests love him, customers love him, and artists love working with him!
The ToonHeadz had the luxury to sit down with Lash and ask him a couple of questions about his Caricature Adventure. Lash started his caricature adventure in 2018, and great things started unfolding for him quickly once he got started.
Lash, I appreciate the time and honor of sitting with you today. I have always been curious, how did you get started in wrestling?
I’m a child of the 80s, so I grew up with Hulkamania and the pop culture boom wrestling enjoyed at that time. The late 90’s brought along a second wave of this popularity for wrestling when WCW debuted their prime-time Monday night show, WCW Monday Nitro, which at the time competed head-to-head with WWE Raw for Monday night ratings. WCW, with their villains, the NWO and a newly made over evil Hulk Hogan, became the hottest wrestling company in the world. WCW was own by Ted Turner and headquartered out of Atlanta, GA. So, when I saw a commercial on WCW Monday Nitro offering open try-outs with the company, I gave it a shot. That opportunity changed my life.
During your wrestling career, were you drawing caricatures?
Yes, but only for my own amusement. When you are wrestling and touring on that level, it’s a bit of a rock-n-roll lifestyle. You are on the road three hundred-plus days out of the year. It’s a different town with a different arena each night, and you are expected to arrive at the venue around noon for a show that doesn’t go live to broadcast until 7:00 pm. There are many legitimate reasons why this is necessary, but it still makes for a fair amount of downtime to fill. I would entertain myself by drawing caricatures of the other wrestlers on the whiteboards inside the locker rooms. This quickly became great amusement for the other wrestlers as well, and visiting wrestling publications noticed my work and asked me to begin contributing cartoons to their magazines.
What made you attracted to the art form of caricature?
Obviously, I have always loved art and illustration. However, I would waver between genres. I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and comedy of comic strips, but I wanted to draw characters in a more detailed manner and less simplistic than that format allowed. Comic books had a cool look to them but felt a little too dramatic and serious for my taste. When I discovered MAD Magazine, I fell in love. This was the best of both worlds! I was a kid who didn’t even know what caricature was then, but when I first viewed a cartoonish rendering that was instantly recognizable as a famous celebrity, I was hooked! What was this black magic? I had to try that.
What was the transition like from being a full-time wrestler to becoming a caricature artist?
Long! It takes time and a lot of drawings to become a polished caricature artist. There’s no way to microwave the process of gaining the experience necessary to develop your talent, especially when it comes to live caricature work. With that being said, I was extremely fortunate to have my wrestling career open a lot of doors for me. I found that many caricature artists were wrestling fans already or, at the very least, held a great deal of respect for what I had accomplished. They would ask me about wrestling, and I would ask them about caricature. Most all were extremely kind and generous with their time. In that regard, my path for me to caricature art was made a great deal smoother.
So with this long transition, you ended up starting to do live caricatures around 2018. What was that like?
As we know, live caricature is in a different ball field than doing illustrative caricature. It’s way more intimidating having people watch you draw, and how you have to be confident with doing quick sketches. The voyeuristic aspect for me wasn’t very intimidating simply because I had already spent a dozen years or so appearing on national television in spandex with no shirt on. Self-consciousness had long since left me! With that being said, doing live caricatures checks a lot of boxes for me that I miss from my wrestling days. Some artists dislike the travel. I relish it. Performing in different states, different towns, and different venues is something I immensely enjoyed in wrestling and now look forward to as a part of live caricature work. Entertaining guests and bantering back and forth in a festive atmosphere while I draw reminds me so much of the fan interaction that makes wrestling unique and special. I enjoy the people. I enjoy the places. In that regard, I much prefer live events over studio illustrations.
As caricature is also being in the realm of entertainment, was there a lot of traits or lessons you carried over from wrestling to caricature?
Confidence is key! When you are performing live, the spectators want to be entertained. They are primed for it. As a result, they will often get caught up in the moment and believe what you believe, like a magician crafting an illusion. If I am self-conscious and scrutinize my own work, they will do the same. If I am enjoying myself, appearing to have the time of my life, and giving the impression that I just drew the best caricature ever created, the guests will invariably mirror that same enthusiasm. It’s a wonderful performance art. I’m selling the drawing with my eyes and body language constantly. My expression conveys that I’m as excited as they are to see the result. When the big reveal comes, and my subject views their caricature for the first time, I celebrate with them! In wrestling, we refer to the loud cheers of the fans as “pop.” I love the “POP” that comes with each caricature reveal!
When doing live caricatures, what are some of your favorite jokes to make about your models?
I have an absolute favorite one! There was a huge wrestling superstar I worked with and all around great guy named “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. Any true wrestling fan knows exactly who this guy is. Curt was an infamous practical joker. When he discovered my talent, he became the chief instigator for picking out subjects for me to lampoon. Typical Curt's behavior was, “Draw Hulk Hogan. Draw him really old. Now, draw him with an oxygen mask… add a walker… oh, this is awesome!” He would laugh, and I would sweat because I was a 22-year-old kid drawing wrestling’s biggest icon while that very icon was sitting in the same locker room with me. Curt would say, “Awe, Hulk won’t get mad. Tell him you don’t write the news. You just report it!” I love that line. To this day, when people make comments or special requests like, “Draw me skinny; Draw me with more hair,” I always reply, “Hey, I don’t write the news. I just report it.”
"I don't write the news. I just report it."
As artists, we are always trying to soak up information or ideas from other artists. What was the best advice you got from an artist?
The best advice I ever received was from A.J. Jensen: Draw what you see. It’s simple and straightforward. Often an artist can get in their own head and overthink the process. You might worry drawing a big nose is going to offend the guest. Well, do they have a big nose? Draw it. Is the subject extremely beautiful except for that mole above her lip? Well, it hasn’t detracted from her beauty in your eyes, so draw it. Never hold back or be hesitant with a feature simply because you are afraid your drawing will be too “honest.”
Some models also give you some enlightenment when you’re drawing. Was there a subject you met while drawing that gave you some great advice?
Yes. There have been two. One was an airline pilot. Inevitably, caricature artists are always asked the same question, “Hey, does your hand ever get tired?!” No. My hand never gets tired, but my eyes do, and they can become unfocused after staring so closely at drawing after drawing for hours on end. I had this conversation with an airline pilot, and he explained how pilots experience the same eye strain, which they are able to counteract with a 20/20/20 rule. Every twenty minutes, they look away from their instruments roughly twenty feet away, for approximately twenty seconds, and that will reset and refocus your eyes. It works!
A second great piece of advice came from a dentist. I am a perfectionist by nature, and early in my career, that caused me to labor entirely too long to complete what should be a quick live drawing. The dentist told me he never allows perfection to get in the way of greatness. I took that advice to heart, and it has dramatically increased the speed and comfort of each of my caricatures.
What is your favorite new artistic idea or trick you now like using while doing live caricatures?
I’ll take a simple black crayon and add a loose halo of shading around my caricature. I feel like this helps the image pop off the page.
Is there anything you want to improve on artistically?
Everything! I believe when you stop learning, you stop growing. I am constantly scrutinizing other artists’ work and paying close attention to how they handle different features. Why do they draw noses that way? How does that hair look so simply drawn and yet perfect at the same time? I am constantly evolving and adapting my style in an effort to improve the quality and speed of my work.
As of now, where would you like yourself to be in the next five years with doing caricature?
I really enjoy doing live digital gigs, especially for conventions, expos, and trade shows. I love the travel to large cities it requires. I love the extended multiple days in the same location. And I love the constant flow of traffic to the booth or kiosk I am working for. Attendees hear about the caricature artist, and by the second or third day, they are going out of their way to seek you out. You become the highlight of the convention, and that is the best win-win scenario for both the artist and the client. In the next five years, my dream would be to become the “go-to” caricature artist for convention clients and vendors who are looking for a unique and memorable experience that will drive traffic to their booth. I’m living the dream!
Lash, I really appreciate your time, and I will always wish you well through your caricature adventure. You're a phenomenal artist and friend! I am glad to have you a part of the ToonHeadz Team!
You can find more information on Lash on his Twitter Profile: www.twitter.com/LashCanDraw
You can also book Lash for your next party or event with The ToonHeadz. Follow the link below if you would like Lash at your next event: