60 Second Caricature Smack Down
Ok so I got it in my head I need to learn how to draw caricatures. I consider myself an accomplished illustrator in alot of areas, but I think I suck at true caricatures. I see how caricatures are built, I’ve dissected them, I’ve ripped them apart…and still feel like I fail. I understand the formula behind the properly built caricature, but pulling it off every time without looking too real or too ridiculous is truly a separate art form all together.
AND…when I focus on something, I’m a bit like a pit-bull with a steak. . . I don’t let go. I’ve come to realize this obsessive fact about my personality over years of adventures, and I just go with it now instead of fighting it. Now I’m known as a jack of all trades, but very possibly master of none. Time will bear that on out. I’ve decided to focus on the caricature, and getting better at it ( or at least passable).
So I sit down this morning a my local coffee shop as early as I can get there to seek inspiration in the form of coffee patrons. I brought with me about 200 sheets of 20# White Bond photocopy paper. Like most artists I’m a paper snob, but I knew I was preparing to draw absolute garbage. I’ve noticed over much trial and error that the cheaper the paper, the more freely, casually, and less critically I draw. Illustrations on a $100.00 piece of museum quality, coated and treated illustration board is a bit like driving your father’s Ferrari. ( You drive very very carefully). Cheap paper lets my artist’s constantly-poor-crunched-for-cash-brain get out of the way so I can just draw.
Now I’ve got my coffee, my paper and a quiet corner to draw caricatures from. The previous day I bought a 6-pack of the cheapest markers on the planet. A friend of mine whom I work with and respect as an artist turned me on to these markers called “Scholastic”. Yes they are about $4.oo total for the assorted color pack (I really only wanted black). They have a nice, fat tip that tapers quickly to a point. Here’s a scan of them (and yes I cringed during the scan because I could “feel” them drying out by the second with the caps left off)
So he tells me they dry out fast and he wasn’t lying. I tested one out the night before and was saddened by how quickly the smooth flowing, rich color faded. Well, it is a washable color marker made for grade school kids. So I did what any artist would do and dismantled it. I pulled out the felt stick reservoir and soaked it in a bottle of Bombay Black India Ink. It immediately clogged right up and refused to work. So I alternated soaking it in water, then ink, then a different brand of ink (Pelican) back and forth until I got it right. I drew some caricatures with color, but ultimately I’ll soak all the colors in Black India ink and have an entire set of blacks. When the tips finally erode, I’ll spend the $4 again.
Back to my caricature mission.
I force myself (not easy to do) to just let the caricatures happen. I don’t want to put too much style, effort, or brain-power into them. I just wanna see how it comes out of my hand. So I limit myself to 60 seconds per caricature and let the paper fly. I did, indeed, draw nearly 200 caricatures in 200 minutes. There were the odd blotter sheets or mistakes and some took 90 or 120 seconds, but for the most part I stuck to the plan. I used no pencils or erasers, and my only reference were the people in front of me.
Now, for better or for worse, I know for a fact I can pump these babies out in seconds. Too bad they’re really crappy. But with a little luck, patience, and blank paper, I’ll be hitting some kind of caricature groove at some point. It always happens that way. So I’ve posted about 2 dozen of them I selected and scanned. I ACTUALLY got tired and bored of scanning, or there’d be literally hundreds of these caricatures.
As you’ll see, I purposely limited my poses, scaling and level of detail. One thing at a time, right?
15s. = 15 Seconds, 60s = 60 seconds…etc etc.
If you’d like to see more than what’s listed on this page, here’s the gallery. Click on the thumbnail, then click on the thumbnail in the page that loads. I know it’s clumsy…sorry.
Again, not all caricatures are listed on this page. The complete gallery of caricatures is above.
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