This is a comic that I did for the newsletter magazine for members of the International Society of Caricature Artists (ISCA - caricature.org). It is my first 'real' attempt at a comic, and it was done in collaboration with my buddy Jeremy Townsend. Jeremy wanted to take the chance to write and art direct for a change, and I wanted to try sequential art a bit more. It was a good fit, and at the expense of our good friends Tom Richmond and Ed Steckley (trust me, you can't get this kind of crap past these two, nowadays!), we had a blast creating it. We had a very specific idea of style and colors, and I think we came pretty damn close. This was completed digitally.
The comic is four pages, but I'll share one at a time (check back tomorrow!):
I'm in Louisiana working at a new studio on a short CG film. Since the building is still being setup and pre-construction, it was suggested that I move over to another studio, where other artists are working on some big projects. Over here are two very cool, young, and sickly-talented artists, and it's really inspiring. I've added their links to the sidebar, over there ==>
You may already know that I made a living drawing caricatures in destination theme parks for nearly 5 years, and it's a large part of where I met a lot of my favorite artists, best friends and really cut my teeth. I say it often, but I really feel that this experience was more beneficial to me as an artist than art school was. Perhaps I was at the wrong school for my needs, but either way, the community and inspiration of friends and artists made it WELL worth my time, and I will probably never "wash off" the love of caricature, especially live drawing.
I've received some requests to share more live caricature here, so I'll continue to do that. While I am working on other separate projects and career directions with my art, and only do corporate gigs and parties now (and they aren't very frequent), I still have a passion for this entertaining art form and will always love those that are excited and driven through it.
The above image is from a day of sketching with my good friend Matt Zitman at a 6 Flags theme park in New Jersey, last year. This was one of his employees, and I was feeling inspired by the simplicity and symmetry I saw in his face. The number one thing to do is to have fun and make the drawing fun, even if it's trying something new.
The sketches below are from my recent booth setup at the Orlando comic/art/entertainment convention called "MegaCon". Orlando is home to some of my best friends in the world and I meet more amazing people and artists there each time I visit. These were some great folks who came by and purchased some books and a caricature from me, as well as sharing their great personalities with the group. It was a great time. Anyway, these are all done with a Dixon Markette bullet tip marker and took anywhere from 8-15 minutes.
Drawing live caricatures at a party, event, or retail (theme park) environment is an interesting thing, because you have to be quick. I was asked recently about taking 15 minutes on one face... HERE I can get away with it, because it is my table at an event where I am representing myself and my artwork. It is less about the product and more about myself, so the patrons and fellow artists want to see something with a little more frosting and sprinkles, rather than hurry on to the next viewing of the Dancing Penguin Waterslide Spectacular. There must be a balance for live artists, where you realize when and who can afford a few more minutes, who would appreciate a more extreme, rendered, or interesting caricature, and when you need to make some money and crank out the CUTE. It is the most delicate balance, and a good artist like my buddy Ed Steckley learns this first and foremost, and is great at it. It takes more than just funny drawings to be good at this profession, and it's important for the business. That being said, find your happiness and see if it fits with the business. If you can make it work, you'll be very happy to pay the bills and laugh at your own drawings, but find what works for you.
Here is a nice fella who was coaxed into a caricature by his wife. He was evidently worried about what I might "do to him." He was right. He has a great face.
I first noticed how large his head was, with a little extra width. Immediately after that, I caught his clenched or 'forced' smile, slight gaps in his teeth, mole above his lip and intensely squeezing eyes that felt uniquely lazy (tense and lazy?). From those observations, I sketched what I described as a "mountainous terrain", with the paper in landscape orientation.
I try to keep these more extreme sketches loose and fun. A big inspiration is John K. and his Ren & Stimpy cartoons, and how he will break the rules with every scene, going off-model, but keeping the important features. The structure should be strong, but does not have to be absolutely perfect, rather it can strongly suggest the form, with a loose and animated feel. On top of it all, I laid down the Prismacolor Art Stixx in a way that describes form, highlights, mass and shadow. I typically use the light and colors that I see on the person for 98% of my coloring choices, the rest is finesse and having fun, heightening things and adding a little spice.
It's not a perfect drawing, and looking back I see many places where I could improve, but overall it's fun, looks like the guy, and he laughed. That's what it's all about.