Thursday, April 9, 2015

Charting a New Course!

The Brillustrator is IN!

Last Saturday I participated in a small, local birthday event at a small, local bookstore where I set up to do live caricatures. I've been working on this for a while, studying the work of other caricature artists and watching demos and tutorials on YouTube, trying to glean secrets of the craft. It isn't the first event I've done live drawing at, or even one where I've called what I was doing caricature. But it was really the first time I've really felt like what I was really doing caricature drawing--although, admittedly, I'm not quite there yet.

I had decided I wanted to pursue caricature art as a career possibility a few months ago when I picked up a copy of Tom Richmond's book "The Mad Art of Caricature!" I have long been a devotee of artists like Jack Davis, Al Hirschfeld, Johnny Severin and my favorite of them all, the amazing Mort Drucker, and I have done caricature illustrations over the years, but never really took it seriously as a vocation of any sort. Nor had I EVER entertained the idea of doing live caricature events. Studio caricatures and live event caricatures are very different animals; but as a member of C.L.A.W. (my Tacoma cartoonists group), I have been doing public sketching events for a couple of years and even though it wasn't really what I would classify as caricature drawing, I have been able to handle it better than I thought. Also, in my sorted past, I did charcoal portraits in the mall during a couple of Christmas seasons back when I was just starting out and it's very similar to that kind of dynamic. Studying the techniques of live caricature artists, I began to realize that I had the right skills, that I could do the things they were doing. I just need to learn how to apply those skills in a slightly different venue. It's really all about the stylization.

One good piece of advice from those on-line videos, btw, came from my main source of tutorials and examples--Mr. Elgin "Subwaysurfer" Bolling--an NYC caricature master, who said: "When you first start out, you will not like anything you do. You'll hate it and think you're no good. But stick with it and eventually you will get the hang of it and be happy with the work." That's paraphrased, but good advice, because frankly I had not been happy with the drawings I have done recently at events. And even this last one, although the studying and training are starting to click, I still am not feeling like my "caricatures" are successful yet--although the clients seemed pleased with them, and that's an important consideration after all.

In any case--I am somewhat unfairly comparing my work to artists who have been working in the field for 10 or 15 years, so I'm trying to cut myself some slack. I will get these techniques down and get the time cut down too! (Still taking too long.) Anyway, here are some of the drawings I did at the King's Book Birthday Bash, showing my current progress. As you can see--the drawings are a bit tighter and a bit cartoonier, but I haven't really got the exaggeration part of it worked out yet. Anyway--baby steps!