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Capturing sport's biggest characters

By Tom McGowan
  • Stanley Chow is a British-based caricaturist who has captured some of sport's biggest stars
  • As a Manchester United fan, star striker Wayne Rooney has been his inspiration
  • His impression of Tottenham Hotspur's winger Gareth Bale is his personal favorite

(CNN) -- Sport has always been defined by the characters it creates. Men and women who are world-renowned for both their exploits in the competitive arena and for their larger-than-life personalities.

Legends like Muhammad Ali and Diego Maradona wowed millions with their skill and ability, and grabbed the limelight with their forthright views and unwavering confidence.

Everyone has a view on these unique characters, but few see them in the same way as artist Stanley Chow.

Based in Manchester, England, Chow has always had a passion for creating caricatures, and in recent years he has started to combine it with his love of sport.

Drawing Cristiano Ronaldo

"It's something I've done ever since I was at school," he told CNN.

"It started off as me poking fun at the teachers, but it also earned me brownie points with them too. I started drawing my classmates and I guess this increased my popularity within the school."

Despite having a long-standing love for the humorous compositions, Chow struggled to find work as a caricaturist and instead gained illustration work within areas such as advertising and storyboarding.

After 15 years without caricaturing, Chow felt an urge to go back to his passion.

It's such a buzz when I capture someone's likeness with a few lines or shapes
--Stanley Chow

It was a move sparked by one man in particular, Manchester United and England football star Wayne Rooney.

"I think the important thing is to illustrate someone I care about and also someone that a lot of other people will care about too.

"Being a Manchester United fan, there was great disappointment when [David] Beckham was sold to Real Madrid. We needed someone to replace him and along came Rooney.

"He showed the spirit on the pitch which United and England fans love. It could have been Cristiano Ronaldo but despite his abundance of talent, we never warmed to him as much Rooney."

Although Chow may never have the global fame and huge wealth of his sporting subjects, he believes they share a similar sense of satisfaction from a job well done.

"There's no particular reason why I have an interest in caricatures. It's something I can do and enjoy. It's such a buzz when I capture someone's likeness with a few lines or shapes.

"It's like scoring a goal!"