Let Laurel And Hardy Strengthen Your Powers Of Observation

Using a pair of well known subjects to compare, contrast,
and make obvious what's caricaturable

Caricature and Drawing Newsletter for August, September 2007
This newsletter is reproduced here courtesy of YouCanDraw.com -
Once and for all getting you drawing faces and caricatures:

September 5th 2007

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YourSeptember 5th YouCanDraw.com Communiqué


Howdy all,

Quickie today. What's a great way to get your exaggeration hat on? The best way is to go look at others great work - the web allows for more ready access to other people's art than anything we've ever seen before. Granted, the pictures aren't always super large or of great resolution, but you can get inspired. But when it comes to really looking at what makes a person exaggeratable, contrasting them with their physical opposite (or just anyone who looks really different) is a great way to say "compared to person xyz, person abc's nose really is big!". So what better pair to compare and contrast than Laurel and Hardy?

So let's dive right in. Yep, the hats, the jackets and ties unite them but if you run down a list of facial features and sub features, and compare back and forth, you'll see how different they are. Here's a photo from ehistorybuff.com of this hilarious pair:


So what should we look at? Where do you start? Since most people look at the eyes first, heck, start there. For instance, look at Stan Laurel's (the skinny guy) almond shaped eyes (as they're captured in the photo) and compare to Oliver Hardy's wider, more crescent shaped eyes. Look at the nose: see how Stan's is longer? Note the tip of either's nose: see how Stan's drops well below the nostrils compared to Olivers?

Note the gap between the bottom of the nose and the upper lip - where is the gap smaller? You might think for a second Mr. Oliver (guy on right) has a smaller gap but the mustache might be deceiving you. It's clear Stan's come much closer to the upper lip.

How big is the vertical drop from the lips to the bottom of the chin? In which is this gap greater? (Answer: in Stan.)Who's neck is thicker? By how much?

Who's eyebrow's are tighter bound to the eyes in this picture? And who's eyebrows are darker? (Stan's are definitely darker and Oliver's are - in this picture anyway - pulled down on the upper eyelids.

Who's ears stick out more? Who's forehead is wider? Taller? Yes, when you get into looking for specific things it's much easier to pull out their differences. What's this do, this comparing and contrasting? It gets you observing. It gets you making real time observations: which is at the root of all drawing.

OK, we've brushed on a few of the features. Now turn your attention to shadows and highlights. Look at the chin in each: see the subtle gradations of gray (shadowing) in Oliver's double chin? Can you outline the shape of the chin and jaw line on Oliver? Now shift your attention to Stan Laurel's chin: does it almost shock you how different those masses are?

Now that you've spent a few minutes warming up here, take a look at the next handful of cartoons, drawings, and caricatured paintings of these two and see how the artists have handled the differences. How would you draw these two?


1) A fairly rough cartoonish drawing from csfgraphics.com:




2) A slightly more grayscale / duotone cartoon from saatchi-gallery (note the eyes and the simplified - but effective - handling of the chins):




This one I found at Caricatures Online:

Note the handling of the noses and ears: there's still no doubt it's Laurel and Hardy.



3) From artist Achille Superbi (check out the mass of Oliver's neck! - and compare the foreheads - definitely a yin - yang effect ):



Compare the chins of each and the shape / droop of Stanley's nose (also note this is one of the few pictures with Oliver Hardy on the left):


4) A French site: http://kicswila.over-blog.com/30-categorie-795292.html . This site has a small gif animation of these two posing as different characters. Note the different ways Stan's trademark tight-lipped, lost-in-space grin is handled by the various artists:


5) A different photo to reference (from innocentbystander.typepad.com):



And almost lastly, a much more cartoonified version of the pair (taken singly, i.e. without Stan next to Oliver and vice versa, it's arguable if you'd recognize either of these guys. Seen as a pair, they're almost an international symbol) :


And lastly, from the same era: From the bottom of this slightly risqué Myspace page:http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=36321845
W.C. Fields - (with another mini movie of Ollie and Stan just underneath him)...I added this just to break up the page a little ;-):



So your job again- if you're really motivated (this would be great practice too!):Go down the lists at all the pages below and compare all the subtle parts of the face as they're drawn or painted between Stan and Ollie and then go back again and compare / contrast Stan and Ollie as they're drawn by the different artists. Here's some very in-depth links for really seeing into the parts of every feature, wrinkle and shadow all taken from this page: http://ycdinsiders.digitalchainsaw.com/InsidersArtistLoft/ani_difranco_part_4.htm )


Have at it!

Eyes: http://ycdinsiders.digitalchainsaw.com/InsidersArtistLoft/ani_difranco_part_4.htm#anis-eyes

Nose: http://ycdinsiders.digitalchainsaw.com/InsidersArtistLoft/ani_difranco_part_4.htm#nose

Apron of the upper lip:

Lips, mouth, and teeth:


Chin and jaw:

Complex shadows:



Hang in there and keep on drawing!






Kasbohm & Company's




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