Getting Mail

I often get emails from artists asking about caricature, illustration, exaggeration, or my book. Often, they are the same questions or similar questions. They're not bad questions at all- quite the contrary. Usually very good inquiries come in, and I've decided it would be good to share them with anyone who may visit this blog. I may go back to some archived emails and post them here.

I'll start with the email that I received today, spawning this choice. It's from a chap named Peter who recently purchased my book, REJECTS, and had some questions about live caricature:


Q: Do you always start with a real loose rough, like you show in your book, and then move to a fresh piece of paper? And also, you seem to work from the inside out, beginning with the left eye...Is this true?

A: I do typically start with a rough sketch. A good practice is to let your EYES do that, and don't let it be a tool until you know how to properly do it quickly. Many people start doing this, but they essentially draw the caricature twice, and it ends up being very simple and boring. I use this sketch only when I want an interesting composition, when I want to do something extreme, exaggerated or bold, but don't want to sacrifice too much time. The "pre-sketch" (as I call it) actually will save me time, when used properly. It can be seen as a bad habit, but can be a good one when used infrequently and at the right times.

I don't like the "inside out vs. outside in" argument, and I'd say that I typically start with what seems to anchor the drawing. If it's a pair of glasses, if it's a big nose or the eyes, then yes... but drawing from the outside-in usually limits your capabilities and can cause an improper placement of features and spacial relationships. When starting with the facial features, you can eyeball the spacial relationships and place the 'outline' of the face better. This is my opinion, and has more to do with exaggeration and choices than speed or convenience of habit.

The most important thing to remember is to draw UNIQUE lines each time, and don't just change the size and positioning of the same lines. When drawing live, a lot of artists find a "generic stamp" that they find works. They can quickly sketch this face in just a couple minutes, and it is easy to appropriate spacial relationships to fit the person in front of you... with the right hair and other elements (glasses, earrings, etc) you can fool anyone into thinking it's "them", when it's not really a unique drawing. Each face is unique, and the biggest mission of a caricaturists should be to pay that respect to the individual, and NOT to fix them nor to focus on the common elements of all faces.

I hope this helps. Keep sketching, and write any time.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

man, i just checked out all your posts!..... you are AMAZING!! dude, keep it up!