Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Lessons Learned at a BAR MITZVAH by Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling

"That doesn't look like me!"

I cannot tell you how many times that I've heard THAT line, and it always comes from a person that I drew a "dead on" Likeness of. The fact is, that MOST people do NOT have a realistic objective, visually assessment of how they look,mostly because of a inflated ego or because they're not used to seeing their face at a three quarter angle.

Whatever their reason, I usually just ignore remarks like these, smile, and happily hand the person their "drawing that doesn't look like them".
This time, however, it was different.
This particular young man at the Bar Mitzvah looked at my drawing and pointed out things that didnt match up with his face. He did this so honestly and respectfully, that I was compelled to listen, and did. Apparently, this youngster had the presence of mind to know EXACTLY what he looked like, and what's more, he ACCEPTED himself, for who he was and how he looked.

I drew him over.

The results were fantastic.
He was very pleased with the corrected drawing, and once I had something to compared it with, I saw IMMEDIATELY everything I had missed.

How could I have been so Blind?


Sometimes we caricature artists get so caught up in "doing our art" that we can get into a mode where we just "give people a picture" not CARING if it LOOKS like them as long as it's "in the neighborhood".
I dint know I had been guilty of that, in THIS picture(Let's not get it twisted folks, the Subwaysurfer RARELY makes drawing mistakes at parties)

This Young man because of his honesty, taught me a valuable drawing lesson. Dont take your subject for granted. The most important person to draw is the one that is in front of you at the moment. Concentrate, REALLY SEE them, and then draw them like they're the only person in the room. If you do that, I learned, the results can be very satisfying. After all, that "bad " caricature you draw is going to have YOUR name on it. Your name is worth protecting.

So The NEXT time I hear,

"It doesn't LOOK like me"

I'll STOP and CONSIDER it!

Unless of course, you're in complete denial!


Bruce Blitz is one of my heroes. First off, the man is a marketing genius. Bruce's popular How to draw Cartoons books, videos, have been staples in Art Stores for years, and can even be found at major retail stores around the country and especially in the NYC area. He is also an Emmy award winning TV Personality and his show has captivated youngsters for years, and now that he's online , his work will live on forever.
What I personally find most remarkable about Bruce is that he started his media campaigning, his personal "Branding" of himself and his work, at a time when these concepts, although common place today, were relatively unknown, and under used by individual professional artists. Bruce, IMO is the undisputed heavyweight champ of how to promote yourself as a professional cartoonist. I certainly have learned a lot from him.

Most artists may "pass off" Bruce's style as being "too retro" "not contemporary enough" for today's generation who likes their artwork, especially caricature and cartoons, "more extreme". It would be a mistake, to "sleep " on Bruce's ability, as he is able to draw caricatures with the best of them. I KNOW, because I've seen it.

I Met Bruce Blitz years ago at a Las Vegas Convention held by the NCN The National Caricaturist Network , Now known as the ISCA The International Society of Caricature Artists. I was very excited to meet one of the "ICONS" of the profession, and found him surprisingly, for a celeb of his stature, approachable. Bruce wrote me a few weeks later following that Convention, telling me how much he enjoyed my work. Although he loved my caricature work, he assessed me as being what he called "a cartoonist FIRST" which was something I hadn't at the time, discovered, but once he SAID it, I understood immediately. He further went on to say how much he liked my cartooning and how he was routinely checking out my blog, even at one point, offering me caricature work in his neck of the woods. I was trilled that a "little nobody" like me, .....heh... at the time......had made such an impression on a guy with the stature of Blitz. It gave me the confidence to push ahead through many nights of disappointment, and frustrations, to become the artist that I am today. Bruce Blitz, is truly one of my caricature cartooning mentors, and I owe him a lot.

Im hoping in a future blog post to have a s short interview with Bruce if his schedule permits. Stay tuned. this will definitely be worth checking out!

In the meantime, be sure to check out the youtube link of Bruce's cartooning series, and look at his other work as well. You will be inspired too, just like the SUBWAYSURFER Was!


Imagine the SUBWAYSURFER'S Surprise when he turned on his computer and read this story on Yahoo News by Staff Writer, Pete DONOHUE. (see story below) The Subways where Yours truly does all his Extreme Life Drawing is FINALLY getting Wired and coming into the future that we all always envisioned in those JETSONS cartoons!! 

I wont talk about the potential dangers of having us wired in the subways... for now.... instead, lets focus on the possibilities....

 Drawing/Caricaturing Possibilities... to be exact.... heh, heh..

It's hard enough drawing commuters when they're tired , stressed bored and agitated because they have nothing to do while underground, with the introduction of wireless acess, they all will now be so happily occupied that they will be to busy talking, texting, and "inter-netting" ....gee, is that a word???... to even notice The Subwaysurfer Drawing their happy occupied faces!!! whats MORE is that I TOO can bring my digital devices on the train and happily  bring digital pictures straight to YOU AS THEY HAPPEN!!! according to the article  excerpt below,  My main line, THE A  is definitely getting it... Im waiting with baited breath....

Pete Donohue, Daily News Staff Writer
Six subway stations should be wired for cell phone service by the end of next year - with the rest of the underground system not far behind, authorities said.
Transit Wireless has until the middle of 2012 to provide service in the stations, but CEO Chris Jaeger said yesterday he expects the work will be done six months earlier.
Jaeger said he also expects all 277 underground stations to be wired before the 2016 contract deadline.
The first to get cell service include five stations beneath W. 14th St. on the A, C, E, L, 1, 2, 3, V and F lines.
The sixth station is W. 23 St./8th Ave., which serves the C and E lines.
Trains are not expected to have service between stations.

Transit Wireless, meanwhile, has just inked agreements with AT&T and T-Mobile to carry their signals on the communications system being built at no cost to the MTA. The company is still negotiating with other carriers.