McKeever’s sketches add extra smiles to celebration

McKeever’s sketches add extra smiles to celebration

As guests gathered to celebrate Bob Terry’s long career in Christian journalism, Joe McKeever chronicled the event in his own special way.

McKeever, a longtime writer and cartoonist for religious publications, including The Alabama Baptist, brought a few cartoons with a humorous take on Terry’s editorial leadership. Then throughout the evening, he drew those gathered, from Terry and his wife, Pat, to the wait staff who served. McKeever and his wife, Bertha, were among the last to leave the party — which is not unusual, since McKeever wants everyone to have a turn as his subject.

“What I do is sketch people,” McKeever said. “It’s not a caricature, which is really exaggerated, but a loose sketch done in about a minute and a half.”

McKeever, an Alabama native who served as a pastor in Southern Baptist churches for 42 years and served five years as director of missions in New Orleans, has a long relationship with The Alabama Baptist.

Former TAB editor Leon Macon assisted in McKeever’s ordination in 1962. In 1972 former editor Hudson Baggett asked him to do some cartoons for the paper. His cartoons have appeared in TAB throughout the years, and he draws a daily cartoon for Baptist Press.

He also writes a series on “My Favorite Deacon” for LifeWay’s Deacon Magazine, blogs daily for church leaders at and has published a number of books. He is a featured artist at many weddings and events.
McKeever estimates he has drawn more than 100,000 people throughout the years, and he has learned that “everyone would change something about themselves if they could” he said. But when he talks to kids, he shares with them an important lesson — “there’s a beauty in every person.”

And whether his subject is a pastor or a bride, a dignitary or a child, he’s learned one more truth through the years — “everyone looks better smiling and you can just decide to smile.” (Carrie Brown McWhorter)