How To Draw And Caricature Tom Delay

...and glean the essence of a persons distinctive look by doing serial sketches.

Caricature and Drawing Newsletter for October, 2005

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- Once and for all getting you drawing faces and caricatures:

20 October 2005


Your October, 2005 Communiqué



In this months ezine: 

1) Drawing Tom Delay
2) Go all the way down to the PS -- see our latest project :-)


Howdy all,

Well it's been awhile! We're still juggling computers but everything is working. The only fallout 
is that I haven't been drawing the way I'd like to. In fact I haven't been drawing at all. But the 
amazing thing is that once you learn it, it comes right back. Now this months caricature is of 
Tom Delay -- who seems like he ought to be an easy draw. There's ton's of great pictures on the 
web (check out Yahoo or Google images -- both a Boone's farm of images to draw). Now with all 
the resources out there, I was just shaking my head why I couldn't really get him. And why not?

Well three tries apparently isn't enough :-) And I'm not worried about it. It's a truism that 
seems to go against the grain:  in any art quantity comes before quality.  Let me repeat
that: quantity comes before quality. So, I might get back to doing several more of him, and 
I might not, but at least having to get out an e-zine forced me to face the paper. Might you
be doing the same thing? Avoiding the drawing paper? The amazing thing is that once you
just do a little drawing - even if it isn't all that great, when you look back on the day you at 
least feel good about trying. But then, hit it again the next day! Try this: shoot for 15-30 minutes
a day four or five days in a row. Yea! Just go for it once and see if it isn't easier to get back to it.

Here's the trio: the first picture on the left, the 2nd on the right 
and the third try in the middle:


OK. Here's a great shot of Mr. Delay (from the Yahoo series of Delay Pics):



And here's a mini of my first rough drawing of him. If you're going to look for anything in this photo, look for the shadows. Specifically, squint your eyes and  seek out the areas of the deepest shadows. Now look at my mini drawing and see if they don't capture at a least a little of  the shadows in the photo above. I think, they do -- roughly. 

The darkest most intense shadows are around the eye on the right, in the nostrils, under the nose, on the inside edges of the cheeks where they meet the nostrils, under the upper lip, under the highlight of the lower lip, in a few of the folds that emanate off the edges of the mouth, and then under the chin and in the neck folds. Squint until you see them as distinct and separate shapes. 

My attempt #1:




Now let's flip it around: Where are the brightest whites? The brightest highlights?
The light is coming from the right -- is that clear? Convince yourself of that. So, in
this picture, his face is lit up brightest on the right side of the face ( as you look at 
the picture). Now here's an expert level observation: where do you see secondary
highlights? (What's a secondary highlight? It's reflected light but it's light that's bouncing
off something from the left - in this case - and hitting him on left side of the his face (left side as we 
look at this picture). See them there? They're there :-)


Also scan for the overall shape of the head

Ask yourself if you see this pattern: start at the the narrow forehead, widen too 
the cheekbones, stays wide in that jowly part of the cheeks and then the neck just 
kind of tapers into the suit and tie. 

Larger quick sketch #1:


Ok. Let's laser in a little closer: the breakdown on individual parts...

Tom Delay


In retrospect, I think fell into my old habit of always starting off with a small forehead (I 
mean compared to the guy behind Delay -- this other guy has a big forehead :-). But I think 
Delay has such a good head of hair it somewhat obscures or dominates that broad forehead.
So it might work better to go with  a wider forehead. And I'll add another reason for doing that 
in a second. Also note the heavy  upper eyelids -- you can see I added a little to those in the 
smaller pic just below: 

Mini of Try #2

Note where the nose joins the forehead: not a very strong shadow there. In that case it might work to make a more square-like shape out of the merging of nose and forehead. 

In all pictures of Delay, you can see lots of puffiness under the eyes. What could be making this guy so tired? (I'll leave my opinions out of this :-) 

So back to the eyes: his eyes really are big and round -- and I think that's a point I missed 
in these two first sketches. The lower lids are bending down and a away from the actual eyeballs a little too (look for the highlights along the lower edge of the eyeballs). I caught that effect a little bit in the second picture. 

The upper lip really is almost invisible (especially in the shadow of the mouth), the teeth
in the lower jaw pop up in a subtle way. There's a large gap between the upper lip and the
lower edge of the nose, which means he has a large "apron of the upper lip". (Go look that
up in the search tool of your e-sourcebook...or click here  -- you'll need to scroll about half
way down the page and you'll see an example of the "apron of the upper lip":-)

The mouth curves around to a full lower lip (look for the highlight in the lip to give you more 
hints of that. Also note how gravity is doing it's job on the lower lip and again the lower lid 
of the eyes.  Might seem cruel to look so close...but that's what observation is about. 
Realistic or  caricature: it only behooves you to learn to look closer. 


Rough sketch number 2


Heading on down to the chin and neck -- there's a small round point to the chin hid
in those shadows - subtle shadows. Squint again until you start seeing those shadows
and highlight shapes within the chin.  Take a step away from your drawing to get more 
perspective (literally), and to give you a better overall view.

Okay. Here's my third try, followed by the original photo: 

A mini of
My third attempt


Getting closer :-) I think what I got into the most in this picture to was drawing the edges 
between harder edges between shadow and highlights. Look close at all the shadows and 
see if you can't see the patterning and double and even triple edges / parallel lines within the 
shadows. It's  a simple idea -- and accurate too. 


Look for the double and even triple parallel lines
in almost all the shadows

Lastly --oops I didn't finish the one ear there :-) And I have to comment about the hair.
Scroll above and see if you can't see the spiral effect in the hair: especially the one big
wave of hair right that forms almost a curtain over the forehead. Look for the subtle highlights
and shadows hid within the hair -- and see them as shapes, not individual hairs. His hair
is basically a series of tubular rolls when he's viewed from the front. What are the common
patterns of highlight and shadow hid in a tube (a cylinder)? Do a search of "primitive shapes"
in your sourcebook. Or Google "tube" or "cylinder" and I'll bet you see those shadows and 
highlights jump right off at you. 

Oh, almost forgot the nose: make sure you refer to the horizontal landmarks (see lesson
15). If you look close you'll notice the bottom of the nose falls well above the "bottom-of-
the-nose-line". What's that tell you? Tells you you now have permission to pull the nose up 
a lot higher towards the eyes. You can still have a short nose, and a large nose at the same 
time. How? In this case, you could play up that bulbous tip. 

Very lastly: the Dole on Dole

What? Dole? As in Bob Dole. Yes - exactly. Here's my point. Look at the picture above. Do
you think it's starting to resemble Tom Delay? A little bit I think. But also ask yourself this:
whom else does it begin to look like? To me I see a little bit of Robert Dole. (Remember him?
He ran for awhile in the last presidential race? A stalwart of national politics.) My point is, it's 
always amazing to me how subtle the differences are between some people whom at first 
glance look very different. But as look closer it's their personality that makes them look so 
different. I'm babbling :-). I mention it because I went through this same gestalt while drawing
the Minneapolis Sportscaster Mark Rosen -- going through stages of the drawing where he 
err, the drawing, appeared just like Randy Quaid to me. Ah the mind :-) 

OK! So you have your assignment: 

1) where are the highlights and shadows in a cylinder? 

2) If you haven't drawn in awhile, do 15 - 30 minutes of drawing (drawing 
anything! -- how about cylinders with  shading and highlights?), and...

3) if you think two people look alike, see if you can't pick out what it is about them that 
makes them look the same and what makes them look different...

and very lastly, look up in any grammar book and see if you're using "who" and 
"whom" correctly. Cuz I'm totally confused at the moment.

Keep on drawing!  Warmly,




PS -- check out some of my latest work: painting.htm :-)

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