Popcorn Sutton, moonshiner
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 legendary figure in that area for waaaay before that ever came to be. He had penned an autobiography titled, “Me and My Likker” as well as appearing in several documentaries about the subject of bootleg liquor over the years. He started making shine back in the 1970′s and became an infamous Appalachian figure for both his recipe as well as his habit of getting caught.
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 said that he was also diagnosed with cancer. While I was gathering reference for the 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 was foul mouth but charming, and quite the ladies’ man. 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. 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!