How did I get into caricaturing?
I have been drawing and illustrating now for around 20+ years and caricaturing had never been a thought in that time. In that time I have been asked on numerous occasions if I would do a caricature of someone. Almost all of the times I declined, as I felt I held a fear of doing a likeness of someone and not getting it right.
About three years ago, I made some decisions on my artworks. My Animal Behaviour series was taking too long, per image; in the region of 1-2 weeks per illustration. This is a considerably long time in regard to commercial aspects. The money required to cover the costs of that amount of time was more than people would be willing to pay for an image. So some action needed to be taken.
I looked at my process, and then also the processes of others to see if I could find a part of it that could be changed to get the processes sped up. It was evident that the part of the drawing that was most time consuming was the pencil rendering. I would sketch out a design, carbon it onto drawing paper and the pencil render to a fine level on the Bristol paper. This alone took, one week. So, I cut this part out of the equation. My first real attempt at this was a great success, which came in the form of “Lamb“.
So after finding that the process of sketching and direct painting in Photoshop was a lot quicker than the original process (seen above) then with practice I managed to get the rendering of the animal art down to three days (depending on the details required).
All I required was a very rough pencil render of the composition, and then this was scanned into Photoshop, where the reference art and details were added to build up the final composition.
Then the thought came into my mind about all those requests in the past about doing caricatures; the main motivation was two-fold. First, I wanted to look at a new technique using a new brush, and second was to test if it was possible to render out a complete image within a day.
So was born, Celebrity Sunday! The idea was to take famous person from a found image off the Internet and to render it out on a Sunday (my day off). The rules were simple. I would sketch the main image the evening before and then the following day I would attempt to render out a complete caricature as quick as possible, but within a day.
Luckily for me everything went (and has been) going well. For the first year I dedicated myself to doing it every Sunday without exception, until I had 53 caricatures. I am proud to say that none of the images were a failure. I managed to complete all of the caricatures from their starting point to end point. Some took 4 hours and some (like Bryan Cranston) took unto 10 hours. Nonetheless I persisted and found that the style and complexity actually improved over time, even though the time consumption didn’t.
The series is now into the second year, with three series in total. After the first series I decided to do a vintage set. this would comprise of celebrities either past or well-known in their black and white era. This series still has some 23 images to go to complete a full year, but is very successful in it’s reception.
So, what does the future have in store for the caricature series? Well, there are countless celebrities out there that still need to be done. I do have a list that I tend to keep to. And when I discover an interesting face that I feel that could join the group I add them.
Any suggestions are welcomed! You can leave as a comment or send via the contact form.
One thing I have noticed in my many numerous designs of famous faces, is that I have not yet achieved any sports celebrities. So, at the end of this current year and entering series four this will be a part of the growing challenge (both vintage and current). I will also be including some of these images in an upcoming exhibition in Cyprus, as part of the Graphic Stories Cyprus events in March. So more news to come!!
1 creative person, slightly matured
2 tablespoons aptitude
1 piece of aesthetic flavouring
6lbs hard work and sweat
4 ideas more than most
salt of the earth to taste
Take a creative person and stir in some aptitude, thoroughly from the start. In time, mix in the aesthetic flavouring with the most appropriate tool at hand, and then, fold into the mix as much of the hard work and sweat that the mix can take. Sprinkle in the ideas; the more the better. And finally, as all is cooking, a pinch of ‘salt of the earth’ to give it the necessary character. Leave to cook over time and serve when required. Tasty treat in a tasteless world.