Using Celebrity Caricatures
And Your Growing Skills Of Observation
To Tweak Your Caricaturing Ability
This week, as promised, I ran Mr. Spacey "through the mill" (it's a saying we have here in the states. It means "worked him over". Lessee that doesn't help much, that's another saying. I'll try again. It means in this particular case I tried to draw him lot's of different ways.)
(Click here to see the exercise previous to this page)
Six different ways in fact. I've had a little more time lately to draw (at last! ) and so did a few extra drawings. I do have to say the longer you look at one picture when you're drawing somebody the more you catch yourself leaning to a side, trying to look around to see them at a different angle. This is kind of hard to do with a photograph :-). But I'm pretty stubborn and I said I was going to do this all from one photo (a little challenge).
Today when I finished, I DID look at other photos of Mr. Spacey - and it was a strange sensation (I remember thinking "why didn't I do this earlier?").
What do you think?
To get down to it, I don't know if the caricatures are a "success" or not. There's some resemblance. What I want you to do though is look at all the different versions and pick out what's similar in all the pictures. Then go back and see if you can't identify what's different. THEN, (and this is the big step), try to QUANTIFY the differences. What the heck does "quantify" mean?
Simply this: get out a measuring stick, or a fine ruler or just use the side of your pencil and measure the distances between all the main features. If you can put those distances in terms of features (like "the nose at it's most bulbous is almost one eye width wide", or "the forehead in the picture with the fat head is 5 eye lengths wide"), if you can go that extra step all the better. Send me your measurement results if you like (your "sightings"), and let me know which one you think looks most like Spacey.
Subtle differences make all the difference
What I found most interesting while drawing these (in five 30 minute sittings with no warm up over 5 days), was how different the drawings started to look to me while drawing them. What do I mean by that? For instance, by changing the thickness of the upper lip in one picture, Mr. Spacey started looking more like Russell Crowe. In another more like former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (I didn't send that picture - he REALLY looked like Ed Koch and I'm going to send him one day...as Ed Koch :-0). In others I started seeing Harvey Keitel, Gene Hackman and even Alfie Newman (of Madd magazine fame).
Take home point
The point I'm trying to make here is this: as different as people look, differences might be very subtle - differences between the height or width of an eye or the size of the tip of the nose can be very subtle, but the sum of those small subtle differences adds up and we can recognize somebody as totally different, totally unique without any problem.
Conversely when you really grasp someone's likeness in a drawing, (which to me means when you've really observed and discovered AND gotten specific about what makes them unique - which ultimately means you can articulate what makes them unique - i.e. you can put it into words as well as draw it), you can distort the heck out of their picture and they're still recognizable - some times even more so than an undistorted picture. Strange how the mind works.
So check out the picture below (it got pretty big but I think when I get around to uploading it, I'm going to upload it REALLY big so you can get a great look at the details.)
Keep on Drawing,
Republished with permission
and blessing of
Kasbohm & Company's
© Copyright, All rights reserved 1997