This was fun, because it felt similar to character design. I recently 'auditioned' for a freelance illustration gig for a publishing company and shot over these samples. The purpose was to illustrate an attractive man and woman, with the contrast of "heavy vs thin". I tried to go a few angles, but they were looking for a certain quality. I can't say I was entirely satisfied with all of these, but in general they turned out okay.
These sketches were drawn live during the summer of 2006, nearly a year ago. I was traveling across the country and drawing at various theme parks, and these are some of the ones that I thought were okay at the time, but now feel that they need improvement. This probably represents the average sketch I was doing at the time.
Each year the National Caricaturist Network has an international convention at a different location, where hundreds of artists gather, learn, workshop, attend seminars, compete and create amazing pieces of art for a week, straight (very little sleep). Almost three years ago, I was asked to contribute a commissioned piece to the auction- by which I'd complete a caricature in acrylic paint (similar to a sample I'd provided) of the winning bidder at the annual art auction. We have had a couple other artists do this, like Tom Richmond and David O'Keefe. The winning bid on my piece was placed by Patrick Harrington. He's a great artists who draws very gutsy and unique caricatures, and I was excited to do it.
Here's a look at the process. My friend Brian was nice enough to snap a picture after each important session I had with the piece, sometimes as much as 8 hrs. of work between each photo.
This is the reference that I chose. Pat sent me dozens of pics, preferring the "singing" pose, as he's in a Led Zeppelin cover band (and a damn good one, from what I hear). I liked that this was more of a crooning pose than a yelling pose, something that I'd seen Plant do from time to time, and less cliche' than a scream. I also liked the angle and the unique and descript anatomy around his mouth, chin and forehead. I'd noticed Pat's mouth and hair more often than anything, so this pic seemed right.
From there, I did a pencil sketch. I tried a couple quick thumbnails, but this was the first larger sketch I completed. It is roughly 6" tall. I planned on projecting this onto the illustration board, however I didn't have access to an opaque projector at the time, so I used a grid system (you may see the notches marked on the right of the sketch) which proved again to be time consuming (use a projector!). I like the life and vigor of the rough sketches and pencil work, so I have been recently using them more directly in my paintings.
After transferring the drawing onto the board (don't quite remember the size, but I think it's around 19" tall), A monochromatic brown painting is done to recreate the tones. Contrast and value is important, so I try to establish that early on so I have a good anchor for the rest of the color and detail. I have a bad habit of mixing white back into the brown and painting the hilights a bit thicker. This is okay, but something I got a little too detailed with in the nose/mouth/eye, as you can see. At this point, I'm ready to start applying some color.
I started very pinkish/purple, and built the color slowly. Patrick has a very pink, flushed complexion and I wanted that to come out... especially in the cheeks and chin, which stands out to me. This pic is about 1/2 way through the entire process.
This is the finished painting (click for a large view). I'm not sure it feels the same as the sketch did, to me, but I was generally pleased with the result. He requested a microphone and a hazy, smoky atmosphere, so they were roughly included. I also got to the end of his pendant and decided to leave it out.. I'm not sure why, but it made me chuckle, and was the first thing Pat noticed! I defninitely enjoyed the process, and am not sure if I like painting in oils or acrylic... I enjoy them both for completely different reasons. They cannot be treated similarly, and have benefits to themeselves that are very unique. Either way, I'm glad I had the opportunity to do this.
In my book, available this July, you will see many extreme caricatures of real people from the theme parks, but some images didn't make it to the book. Some due to editing and space and others due to quality. Either way, here are some of Rejects'REJECTS.
This is of caricaturist and character artist Dave Wolter. He's very very talented and was working with me at Knott's Berry Farm this day. I tried about 8 times to capture him and this is what I got. I was pretty happy with it, but just lacked space in the book.
This boy got a free demo drawing- Black and White, completed in about 2 minutes. He walked away and I continued to color it from memory (which often produces the most interesting result, as you're now committed to the drawing, not the subject). When his family came back, they laughed histerically saying, "He does look like a little old man- we tell him that ALL THE TIME!" ...yet they wouldn't spring even $8 for the sketch. No worries, though... they genuinely liked the drawing and had a good laugh. Unfortunately, it's not quite good enough for the book, but I can at least show it here.
I've just confirmed that I'll be drawing in the Southern California Kaman's Art Shoppes theme parks from June 2-June 17. I'm really looking forward to it and plan on really stretching the quality of the drawings, the appeal of the product to customers (sales) and overall exaggeration. It will be a good time, drawing next to some great caricature artists. If you're in CA, drop me a line and stop by and get a cheap, funny sketch!