Makin’ moonshine with Popcorn Sutton.
Here is an illustration of Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. Popcorn Sutton was a legendary moonshiner from Maggie Valley, North Carolina. There is a lot of hype right now about moonshine, with the hit Discovery Channel series “Moonshiners”, but Popcorn Sutton had been a prominent figure in that area of expertise long before the TV show ever came to be. He had penned an autobiography titled, “Me and My Likker” and appeared in several documentaries about the subject of bootleg liquor over the years. Popcorn started making shine back in the 1970′s and became a famously infamous Appalachian figure for both his white lightening recipe as well as his habit of getting caught cooking it.
Sadly, he committed suicide in 2009 by carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 62 right before he was due to spend an 18 month stint in federal prison for distilling illegal liquor and possession of a firearm as a felon. According to Wikipedia, it is later said that he was also diagnosed with cancer. While I was gathering reference for this illustration, it was apparent from some of the photos that he did not look well.
He was a skinny little guy with a wild, scraggly beard that I just HAD to draw. Apparently, he had a foul mouth but was also described as charming and quite the ladies’ man (insert exclamation point). He is what I picture in my head as the epitome of a back woods mountain moonshiner. He was also famous for wearing his hat. And his bib overalls with a plaid shirt. In every piece of reference that I gathered, except for the mug shot (ahem), he was wearing both. Below are some details of the illustration. Enjoy!