Friday, January 20, 2012

IS USING TECHNOLOGY TO DRAW EXAGGERATED CARICATURES CHEATING?

A CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT
One night while playing with my wives new iPad 2, I discovered a neat little application called photo booth. This crazy app enables the user to manipulate photos using filters that stretch, squash, and contort, in tge sane way Photoshop filters do in one eat step. I became intrigued and took a photo of myself and started playing. Instantly it struck me how surprisingly simple these "photo caricature" were to create, and brought back to mind a question I asked on a caricature forum I frequented several years ago.
IS using technology to draw caricatures cheating? I even went as far as to pose the question if any of the artists on the forum had ever used Photoshop, or another photo manipulation program to give them an edge over other computer illiterate artists who struggled doing exaggerations the old fashioned way, namely using our imagination. The overwhelming majority insisted they never used technologhy, except for one prominent artist (who really is brilliant and no doubt can draw outta his head)who confessed that e had used technology occasionally to enhance a drawing, and to solve visual problems.

WHY THE OUTRAGE

At the time, I suspect that along with my peers who were against the practice of using the computer to "help out" we felt that whoever did so. Want being a "real artist" as we loos,y defined as one who used their own hand, brains, and imagination to create works of art. We were the "caricature purists" who were holding to a higher standard.

But there was also a very real fear....

Those of us, like me, who had struggled sooooo hard to "crack the exaggerated code" took pride in the fact that we had labored hard and long to achieve our level of proficiency. While there were many talented, competent artists in our tribe, only a select few were able to achieve those wonderfully grotesque caricature renditions that simultaneously resembled the subject, and a creature from outer space. The air we few breathed in sitting upon Mount Olympus was rare, and sweet!
But that blasted photo editing software everything! with it, even the modestly talented neophyte could achieve dreams of Exaggerated caricature glory! And unlike us poor souls who labored to obtain this exalted knowledge, they could do so in less than half the time!

The other fear was that people who possessed no talent at all, could now, with this diabolical device, thumb their noses at us caricature artists, and exclaim" who needs YOU?? We can now create our OWN caricatures!"

Yeah.... I was a purist, alright.....but recently, as I've grown older, and more open to new ideas, I've begun to re examine if I've been too hasty in condemning the use of technology to create caricatures. They way I see it now, there are actually some real advantages.




TECHNOLOGHY ISN'T "BAD"


Is technology really bad to create art with? If I'm honest, I really would have to conclude it isn't. Like most artists I've used technology to scan my pictures, clean up my sketches, juxtapose images together, re size them, and of course color them. If any purist would come up to me and say I wasn't a "real"artists because I wasn't using rulers to resize, or mixing my own paint I'd totally ignore them on the way to picking up my check from a satisfied client. While I can't cite any examples now, it's safe to say that artists have AKWAYS used the available technologhy of their day to enhance their work, or make it simpler to execute. In our day, that tool just happens to be the computer. With so many other people
In other industries from accounting to zoologhy using it to enhance their performance, we would be nuts to neglect it.

YOU CAN'T DRAW WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE

One time as a beginning artist, I was asked to draw a picture of a unicorn which as everyone knows s really just a horse with wings and a forehead horn. Simple. Or so I thought. When I was told I had drawn it wrong, I was a little confused... I knew what a horse looked like, having seen them in person and pictures I internalized an image in my head I could recall at will. What I neglected to realize, however was that the front and the back legs were wry g. Apparently I hadn't noticed noticed that the back legs of such animal was different from the front. I literally could t draw that, because I couldn't visualize, which means I didn't see it! And the source I was using was my imagination.
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DRAWING FROM THE IMAGINATION SCREEN

Whenever we decide to draw a subject in an exaggerated way, we do two things. First and foremost, we look at the subject objectively to see what they look normally. At this stage, we aren't applying a subjective opinion about the face's individual parts, we take everything in as a whole, first. After we've gotten a good look we start to look for facial "flaws", promise t attributes, etc. Finally once we've got that info, we start to imagine the face stretched pulled, and Shawnee based on the info we've obtained in the previous stage. This process happens quicker than it takes to write or tell, but it does happen. We draw based on what we see with our eyes, objectively, and also what we superimpose whats in our imagination. The level of exaggeration is keft up to the individual artist, but for the purpose of this article, I'm talking about extremely distorted exaggeration like my "peanut head shape"photo here.


AN EASIER WAY TO LEARN EXAGGERATION

Before I continue, let me stress that although you certainly can throw a photo into an image editing program, and trace or copy it to get a likeness quickly. I'm advocating using the tecnologhy as a tool to help you visualize the concept of exaggeration. Let's face it.for the average artist, doing exaggerated work is challenging. Some get close to understanding it, while others never seem to understand it. Master exaggerators often speak of maintaing proper relationships in the face when we stretch pull or squeeze. It's a ard concept though to visualize and remember if you don't have a picture to look at and imprint. In the aforementioned photo, my image is forced into a peanut shape, where the forehead and lower part of my face are ballooned out, and the middle is pinched in. By viewing the oho to, one can easily see what happens to the corresponding facial features of eye brows, eyes, nose mouth, even my goatee "react" when forced into that peanut shaped container. The same can be equally seen when my face is forced into an egg shape and a square shape. by taking your face or any for that matter, and playing around with it, you will get a "feel" for how the corresponding facial features are likely to react when subjected to a given geometric container. In short they will be locked into your imagination, and now that you can "see" what a given exaggerated face is likely to look, you can impose that principle on the current face you are observing.

I realize this approach is a mechanical one, but it's a starting point, a way of training your mind to look through a fun house mirror just a little faster than if you'd have to conjure up the image on your own.


A GREAT TOOL FOR FANTASY ART AND CHARACTER DESIGN

If youve ever been commissioned to draw fantasy. Type art, you know how difficult that can be.
The trick is to create alien characters no one has seen before, but still contain a certain kind of "reality". While some may find this easy to do without a visual aid, if you're like me, you more than likely end up drawing a stereotypical green colored alien with three round eyes and two antentaes on top of the head.

Playing around with a variety of faces in photo manipulation software provide you with endless options so that you can make alien critters so grotesque, you puke on your keyboard. Once you are satisfied with your character, simply copy it, with the confidence that you are not plagiarizing someone elses character.



EMBRACE THE PRESENT
regardless of how you feel about art and computer technologhy, the fact is that this tool is here to stay. As artists WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE CREATIVE ONES! And that means having the desire and ability to use whatever tools the culture gives us to our advantage. If we can find a way to enhance our work, to do it faster and easier, there's no reason why we shouldn't. Photo imaging software is nothing more than using a specialized brush or pen to get our work done.and that should be what's most important to any artist. Getting the work done.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this. All opinions, pro and con are welcome and encouraged.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WHATS THE BEST MARKER TO USE?

WHAT IS THE BEST MARKER TO USE???

Ah! This age old question is asked of me more than any other, especially by beginning artists. I don't mind answering the question,(well, obviously since I'm writing an article) but sometimes I can't help laughing inwardly whenever the question is asked. Usually the question gets asked whenever a person finishes viewing a particular piece of work drawn seen online or drawn in person. The question is funny to me because I feel it's not REALLY what the person is, or should be asking. I feel what they really want to know is what technique I used to make the picture look humorous, exaggerated or interesting? How do you get "life" into the drawing? Why does it have a sense of movement? How do you get that dynamic quality in your work?

Asking What's the best marker to use, is akin to the Harry Potter villain, Voldermort, seeking the Power of The Elder Wand.

The truth is, it AIN'T THE WAND, in this case, it's the skill of the Magician.
At least, in part.

Markers are tools(which vary from one artist to another) that enable us as artists to do a job easier, that's all. They, in themselves don't do the job for us. There are tools that are better suited for what I happen to be drawing. For instance, if I HAD to limit myself to ONE marker to use for live party caricature, I would have to revert back to childhood....



CRAYOLAS AIN'T JUST FOR KIDS

Crayolas are, hands down, my favorite marker for live drawing. Don't get me wrong, I love Markettes, Tombo Brush Pens, and Chart Paks, too, but CRAYOLA holds a special place in my heart.

First off, it's how they make me feel, emotionally.

Whenever I draw with them, It feels like I'm getting ready to play, not work. I've watched caricature artists who draw exceptionally well, technique wise, but sometimes their faces are contorted in this mask of intense concentration, as the do their "job". For me I want party work to seem like fun, not labor, and this is exactly the tool I need to get me into that space.

Economically, the price of the markers can't be beat. Three to five bucks for a pack of ten. If you shop for pens regularly, you know how they eat into your budget.It could be argued that I'm not saving money, if I'm just using the color, Black from the box, but I use the dark colors if purple, blue ad brown as well with equal success and appreciation. People being drawn feel they're getting a color drawing, even though I'm just doing line. Another great way to save money is to wait until Kate August when Staples has their Back To School Sales. You can get the ten box for. As love as .99 at some locations!

Convenience wise, the Crayolas can be obtained from a variety of locations. You can't buy Tombo Brush lens from your local mom and pop candy store, CVS Pharmacy, Target, Duane Reade, or the stationary isle of your Super market, can you? This availability alone has saved me on numerous occasions wen I had forgotten my markers and couldn't get to a name brand Art Store.

Saving money, and Convienience are important factors, but what about functionality? How do these tools really perform in the field? I thought you'd never ask!

SUPERIOR LINE QUALITY

Even with ne ranting on about the skill of the artist, blah, blah, blah, earlier, I must say that the CRAYOLA, in the hands of a trained professional, deliver a quality if line so elegantly, that I come close to weeping looking at my completed drawings.

The secret of this superior line quality us found in the markers wonderf
ul conical tip. This conical tip is unbelievably durable, and might be expected, since it was designed to withstand the pounding of children. It works great for adults like me would are notorious for "heavy handedness" when we draw. With just minor adjustments of your ha d, you can get a curved calligraphic line, a fine thin line, or a bold massive one.unlike other pens whose tip usually loses some of it's firmness after a couple of drawings, I've used these tips until they've comp,etey dried out and they still hold their shape, This is definitely the kind of marker you want if you have a long line f people, find yourself in a zone" and don't have time to change markers, lest you break your flow.

LETS NOT FORGET PAPER
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I must admit, that not all drawing surfaces are CRAYOLA Marker friendly. All if the aforementioned be benefits of using the marker will fade away like your childhood dreams uf you use the wrong paper, stay away from papers that have a lot if tooth to them. You want your paper to have a smooth finish. Glossy paper works best of course, but can be pricey. I recommend card stock and cover stock paper that can be purchased at Staples ranging from 8X11 in size, to 11X17. The price us very reasonable for either size, the paper is sturdy, and you will have saved the life of a marker.

Oh yeah...good old notebook paper like I'm using in the photo works great too! I use notebook paper when I'm practicing. It saves money on sketchpads... Recession ya know...a mans gotta save money....

THE WRAPUP

I hate to get all corny on ya and conclude that no marker is really the best, it all depends on YOU! So I won't. I will say for certain jobs like the one I described, live party caricature, there are markers that ARE better. Yeah, I'm taking a stand.... Argue me down if you must.....

Friday, January 13, 2012

HIP HOP ELF Cartoon by Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling

I was in a playful character creating mood today, so I decided to draw my version of an Elf. As a kid, the Elves I remember were all happy little critters, and some were a little mischievous. I decided to up this mischievous level a couple of notches, turning my Elf into a doo rag wearing, gold teeth and ear ring sporting, sneaker wearing, hip hop graffiti tagged Elf complete with spray can.

BLACK AND WHITE SKETCH

I drew this simply using a very thin line, knowing I was going to digitally paint it in art studio. I imported the initial sketch(not shown) into the art studio app, by first taking a photo of it ane emailing it to myself. I then meticulously traced the sketch until everything was in place exactly the way I wanted.

ADD FLAT AREA OF COLOR

Know lay down the basic colors that I'm going to shade in later to give the picture a more three dimensional feel.if I was doing basic animation, where I had to draw this hundreds f times, this would generally be the end. Thankfully, I'm not done yet!

SHADING STAGE

The shading stage is where I especially start to get excited. I always enjoy seeing the fat colored picture start to pop as I begin to add highlights and shading. Often times at this stage, I get new ideas for the sketch that I hadn't thought of previously. Initially I thought it would just be comical to give my youthful Elf Boy big bucked teeth, but once I decided to make one tooth gold, it enhanced that whole hip hop vibe I was going for.

FINISHING TOUCHES

In the final stage I pay close attention to the eyes adding more shadow to make them slightly more menacing. I also purposely add more white highlights which for me, is reminiscent on how Grafetti artists used to color their pieces. Believe it r not, a lot of my color inspiration comes from observing and copying the way artists color the crazy characters you see inhabiting your breakfast cereal boxes! Have you looked at the way Captain Crunch is colored lately? It's absolutely breath taking!
To complete the pic, I've added yellow spray mist to the spray can,and f course it would be complete with showing how hes tagged the two mushrooms in the background.

What I love about this character is that he can easily be turned into a comic char act that I can build a story around. Now if I can only think of a name?...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

THE ART OF TEACHING ART part three by Elgin SUBWAYSURFER Bolling


YOU ARE THE MASTER

Ever heard the expression,"jack of all trades, master of none?" its seems like a good idea to be a "jack" initially, I admit. After all, if you know a little bit about a variety of subjects, then you will be versatile enough to do whatever a client calls for! What's wrong with that?? Well, while you WILL get a couple of assignments, you may not feel entirely comfortable doing that particular thing. For instance, I can DO background drawing, but it's a labor intensive activity for me, as opposed to cartooning and caricature which I can do in my sleep. When a client hires you to do a job, they're not expecting a generalist, they're expecting a master, who not only knows their subject inside out, but can even re invent and re adjust on the fly. When you are teaching, you don't want there to be any guesswork. You also want to have fun! Strive to teach on the subject that you KNOW. Doing so will help you develop your own niche, and it's this Niche which will focus you and make you stand out from the pack.


TEACH ON A SPECIFIC TOPIC


When I first began teaching art I was so excited to have the job, I started teaching "everything" I knew about the subject in the first session! I talked endlessly, never passing to take a breath, switched from one aspect of my subject matter to the next, gave multiple examples to accent my points, and sincerely wondered why I was getting blank stares.

PEOPLE ARE NOT MACHINES

The one thing that must always be remembered when teaching is that your audience doesn't know what you know. For many, this will be the first time they've been introduced to your subject, and they cannot be overloaded with too much information. THEY WILL NOT RETAIN IT! It's best when teaching, to teach on one or two topics and explore those topics from a variety of angles. It may seem like you will not fill up your allotted time if you teach only one or two things, but don't forget that you will be lecturing, demonstrating, having your class do hands on exercises, evaluating their work, and answering their questions. Trust me if you do things right, you will actually run out of time in most cases.
Teaching on one or two things also allows you the opportunity to do subsequent workshops on the same subject showing a different aspect, and can also give you the opportunity to introduce your products, books, DVDs etc. That expounds on your teaching, and your private lessons.

If you teach "everything" in the first lesson, there's no reason for them to reach out to you again! THIS is a lesson I had to learn the hard way!!

BE YOURSELF


Artists in general, even at an early age,"march to a different drummer"we think different, we talk different, we dress and behave in ways that the general population feels is strange. For the most part, people aren't ready, especially when they're younger, to embrace and accept anyone who is not in any way similar to them.as a result in childhood and adolescence, artists are subject to the ridicule, anger, and fear of others. Some become the butt of cruel jokes and pranks, others the victims of assault. The young artist, if he is not affirmed by someone, carries the scars obtained in childhood, and can still hear the ridiculing voices in the corridors of their mind. In an effort to quiet those voices, some take on other personality traits and behaviors more acceptable in the so called "real world", after all, it's much too hard to be an artist, and have an artists personality....

THE POWER OF BEING YOURSELF

I was that young artist, that I eluded to in the previous paragraph. In an effort to bury the artist personality, I tried to adopt a personality more suited to the so called real world. Without going into detail, let's just say the result of that left me feeling angry and exhausted. Angry, because I knew I was presenting a "plastic person" to the world, and exhausted because it became to hard to keep up the charade. In despair, I reverted back to the "artist personality" no one seemed to like.
Then one day all of a sudden, people began to say the strangest things about me...

"wow, you really have a commanding voice!, it sounds like radio!" "wow, I never knew you were so funny, you're kinda zany!""wow, that's pretty deep what you said, I never would've thought that!"

Out of no where I was actually bein affirmed for being ME! so I began to embrace myself even more, and the more I accepted, the mire beauty I found and the more I wanted to show THAT guy to the world!
When I taught something being my old fake "this is what the real world accepts, self" responses from people were......acceptable.
But when I started being this articulate, zany, thoughtful, spontaneous artist guy, people began to respond so enthusiastically that it almost made my heart stop. I recall one insident where I brought an entire high school auditorium to it's feet in thunderous applause, something my son recalled had never ever happened with that tough crowd. I even had kids, now young adults stop me in the streets to tell me how much they enjoyed what they saw and heard...

YOUR AUDIENCE WANTS YOU

It really is that simple. People are hungry for authenticity from teachers. When they get that, it makes the entire teaching atmosphere more enjoyable for both parties. If you are YOURSELF sincerely around your students, you will give out an energy that is going to resonate with them, and once that happens they will ask you back to teach again and again.

TEACHING NEED NOT BE A CHORE

Teaching art gets a bad rap, in my opinion. Some look at it as a default job because you just couldn't get your REAL art jib started, or it's just a way to pay bills. Teaching is very rewarding. Most of us have devoted outpr lives to learning how to draw, paint,and sculpt why should thatknowledgejust die with us? It shouldn't. We have a responsibility to impart what we've learned to other generations so that they might expand and grow, and one day teach others. In a way, by teaching, no matter what the age group or setting, we're putting pieces of our selves into others ane insuring in a small way, that we will live forever.

Don't YOU want to live forever?

THE ART OF TEACHING ART part two by Elgin SUBWAYSURFER Bolling


PUBLIC SPEAKING IS SCAREY

I ain't gonna lie, public speaking is a little scary. Prior to speaking, and sometimes during speaking, your heart pounds, your blood pressure increases, your breathing becomes shallow, and you may even tremble. It's definitely an adrenalin rush. But as I eluded to in my previous article, anyone can get over the fear of public speaking, including the introvert.
I KNOW. I was an introvert.

WHAT, EXACTLY ARE WE AFRAID OF?

Simply put, we are afraid of being ourselves. Much as we try to not admit that we want the approval, and positive regard of strangers, we in fact , all do want it. At least, to some degree. No one wants to be thought of as incompetent, dumb, ugly, or "uncool". It's maddening to not know how people are predicting us, and that creates fear of rejection. I feel this is the major reason why people shy away from speaking. Another fear is that we feel people will see through us, and see our insecurities. When we speak we do tend to reveal things about ourselves through our posture, our gestures, and our voices. We want to appear strong and capable, not insecure and hesitant.

HERES THE FACT

The fact is that we are simply being too hard on ourselves. The so called introvert who wants to avoid public scrutiny feels this eternal pressure in greater degree than perhaps the so called extrovert, but BOTH personalities are prone to the same opinion, and that is "EVERYONE'S LOOKING AT ME!!!" While it's true that you are being watched, for the most part, the vast majority of your audience WANTS you to succeed! Yes, I will admit, that there are a few who want you to fall flat on your face, but more people are with you than against you. It's important to remember that your audience is there because they are perceiving you as an expert, as an authority. They are anxiously awaiting to receive information from you that they don't have knowledge of. You owe it to them to deliver. It's also empowering, and a tremendous ego boost to know that people have gathered to hear YOU. That fact in itself. Should be enough to increase your confidence, which is precisely what you need to give a great presentation

ABOUT THAT ADRENALIN RUSH

That "butterflyfeeling" in your stomach is not going anywhere. Im willing to bet that it is this physical sensation that makes you feel like you're "afraid". But let's analyze that feeling. I bet that you feel those same "butterflies" when you're enjoying a ride on a dollar coaster, about to board a plane, en route to your dream vacation, or watching a nail biting football game! Adrenalin is just your body's response to an intense activity. That's it. The great thing about it, is that it makes you more energized, and alert. If you simply reframe the way you feel about the adrenalin rush, it will no longer be viewed as fear. Instead of TELLING YOURSELF how nervous and afraid you are,TELL YOURSELF how excited you are, how charged up you are. There's something that is truly magical about positive self talk. Your mind, body, and emotions tend to believe what you SAY! let's face it, it believes you when you say that you're scared,dent it? Why not reverse what you say to yourself and have it work for you? I guarantee if you do this, it works!

HOW ABOUT THE TEACHING PART?

So far, we've already established that teaching art(or anything else) is just public speaking, art only being our subject. We've examined why we must speak public ally in terms of benefits, and also the things that hinder us as speakers and some solutions. We haven't quite answered the question yet about how we actually, in an idiot proof way, teach the subject of art. I've wanted to save the best for last, so tune into the next session where I will go into a few of my teaching methods.



Oh, just in case you were admiring the black and white sketch in the above photo,HERE IS THE PICTURE OF THE GUY I WAS DRAWING .

This picture is a revised version of my subject in the top photo. Its taken from a lecture that I gave at a NYC DARE TO DRAW/DRINK AND DRAW presentation I gave on the art of character design.This picture was eventually used as the cover for an ebook of mine on the art of character design. The ebook is available for purchase on this blog in the Ebooks and products section in the upper right corner

THE ART OF TEACHING ART by Elgin SUBWAYSURFER Bolling


There comes a time in every professional artists life when you absolutely, positively MUST speak/teach in front of a group. That group may be a group of public school kids on career day, a continuing education course at The Learning Annex, or community college, or a seminar like I'm teaching in the above photo.

WHY MUST YOU DO THIS?

Actually there are a number of reasons why doing this is beneficial to your career. Among them are:

NOTORIETY AND VISIBILITY

Let's face it, no matter how good you are as an artist, in the public mind "artists are a dime a dozen." most people "know"someone who can draw, or think one artist, is just as good as another. Part of the reason for this erroneous public perception is due to the way most artists present themselves, or rather don't present themselves. For the most part, art is a solitary activity, which takes a lot of time to create. Because we artists spend a lot of tmrw focusing on our work, we may not spend an equal amount of time focusing on, and interacting with people. I've met artists whose work is brilliant, visually but whose personalities seem to evaporate when they have to explain it to someone. Most feel that their work should "speak for them". However, in the non artist world, people make themselves known by speaking for themselves.

In order to stand out from the art crowd, you must become adept at speaking for yourself. You must be able to transfer, and impart what you know to other people. So few artists are able to do this, that those who can, will be the ones who stand out and will be remembered.

A GREAT WAY TO GET NEW CLIENTS

Another benefit of teaching/public speaking is that it's a great way to get clients. Even if you give a free seminar,you never know who is in the audience listening. Often times another person will hear you speak and present, and will be impressed enough to hire you for a business venture they are involved in. This is precisely what landed me a job with EHOW.COM where I was commissioned to do 90 instructional videos entitled "drawing 101" for children. Potential clients are always on the lookout for people who can speak and present well.

FINANCIAL REWARD IN LEAN TIMES

It's great to have a client with deep pockets who keep you afloat, but all good things eventually come to an end, and you will be out of a job, wondering where the next one is coming from. Teaching fills in the gaps, and if you are popular, your teaching gig can last for months. Seminars and workshops can also be lucrative. The great thing about doing a workshop is that you Jacobs total control over what you want to present.

THIS ALL SOUND GOOD, BUT IM SCARED TO DEATH OF PUBLIC SPEAKING!! HOW CAN I TEACH WHEN IM AFRAID TO SPEAK?

I've read thar public speaking is the number one fear most people have and number two is the fear of DEATH! So speaking in front of a group for most people, is close to dying! Trust me, I feel your pain! I can assure you though, that it s possible to get over this fear even if you are an introvert like I was.

WANNA KNOW MORE?
Read part two of this article!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

THE7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ARTISTS by Elgin SUBWAYSURFER Bolling

7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ARTISTS
By Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling
(Apologies to Franklin Covey)

So there I was, reading Franklin Covey's fascinating book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, and as usual, my creative mind began to free associate as I went down Covey's list. Although I've done a tongue-in-cheek play on words of the principles, these really are habits of highly successful artists that I've read about,come in contact with, and implemented myself.

Enjoy.


1 BE ACTIVE PROFESSIONALLY

When I was a younger artist, I loathed alliances of any kind. "they're not going to steal my clients!""they're not going to steal my ideas!" I said to myself, and I did make decent money. But I was lonely and unfulfilled. As I got older, I realized the power and practicality of aligning myself with other professionals like myself, and being active in organizations. Not only did active participation make me a better artist, but t also created a sense of community in a profession that is solitary. Oh, did I mention that my income did not suffer?

2 BEGIN WITH NO END IN SIGHT

In regards to working, I've found that you create an infinite amount f stress when you're always focussing on the END of the project rather than enjoying the process, the journey. Whenever I forget about clock watching, I get into a creative zone where I become so involved that I get much more work done, with Kessler stress.


3 PUT FIRST THINGS LAST

Most people focus primarily on the thing they do best FIRST rather than working on their weaknesses. That's putting first things first. Try saving the first easy thing for LAST, and you'll find you'll gain more control over the stuff you're bad at.

4 THINK GRIN/GRIN

There's nothing worse than coming out of a. Negotiation or business deal where you're happy but your client isn't, or even worse, when your clients happy, and you aren't! Both scenarios will not get you repeat a referral,or repeat business from that client, and that is what need if you are to make a living as a professional artist.
I would refer to these as GRIN/FROWN scenarios.
In GRIN/GRIN scenarios you seek to walk away from a business meeting where you both are satisfied. To achieve this takes compromise, business savvy, the gift if gab, a d even a little luck, but it can be done, and a client who is Grinning is sure to eel you winning. (their money, that is!)


5 SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN YOU WILL BE IN DEMAND
I've always been turned off by salespeople and business professionals who just look at e like I'm a dollar sign. These types never ask my opinion, keep firing questions at me, without giving me time to respond, or if I have objections, mentally write me off as not being a potential paycheck. I've found that if I seek to understand my clients needs, objections, fears, and concerns, not only does it make my work with them easier, but they also end up purchasing a lot more from me than they normally would, people haye to be treated like statistical data. Threat them like human beings and you'll be in demand.

6 PRIORITIZE

As an artist, it's natural to be loose, carefree, and spontaneous. Much if the creative process has that air of unpredictability, it's how we find our muse. Once that muse is found, though, it's time to take off the"artists hat" and put on the "business person hat."
You will never get a project done in a timely fashion for a client unless you prioritize. As a young artist I literally avoided some business projects because I felt they were too "labor intensive" and instead did my "fun"stuff first, vowing I'd get to the hard stuff once relaxed. I remember many a sleepless night burning the proverbial "midnight oil" in an effort to get my "labor intensive "



7 SHARPEN YOUR FLAW

Before Arnold was Governor of California, he was a world champion bodybuilder. Seven times mr Olympia in fact, beating out consistently world class competitors all over the globe. Arnold boasted that he won consistently because he ad no weak parts, which was not just an arrogant boast. In professional bodybuilding, the top competitors are judged, objectively on how well proportioned each particular muscle group is in relationship to the entire body. Although it's true that Arnold's charismatic personality didn't hurt his chances for obtaining victory, objectively, he was found to be "perfectly proportioned"according to competitive standards. However, this wasn't always the case. In a candid interview, Arnold revealed that early in his competitive career,his physical flaw was his calve muscles, which he referred to as weak, and constantly lagged behind the rest of his body in terms of continued growth. To improve, he purposely wore pants cut off that only revealed his weak skinny calves. Doing this forced him to work even harder on their development since he was forced to constantly look at them. Arnold didn't run away from his flaw pretending it didn't exist, but continued to sharpen it working assiduously unlit it was no longer a weakness,but one of his strengths.

As artists we too must not run away from our weaknesses but sharpen them into strengths. I recall early on having terrible line qality when I drew, as was pointed out by a fellow artist I respected. I practiced continuously until I got to the point where I actually became sought after BECAUSE of my great line quality!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

CARICATURE EXPRESSIONIST CHRIS CHUA

I discovered Chris Chua by accident. One day I was randomly searching the Internet for caricature artists, and came across a name that I didn't recognize(at the time Chris was not yet a member of the NCN) I thought he had a cool name that sounded like a candy bar, and noticed immediately that he was doing something so zany that gave me the impression he was taking dope and dog food. Chris' caricatures were a total departure from the exaggerated squash and stretch drawings I was accustomed to seeing. In fact, his renditions were reminiscent of looking through a kaleidoscope, or at times a broken mirror. The likenesses were definitely discernible from one angle, then when you looked at it again, the likeness you thought you saw, seemed to vanish, only to appear again! It was totally trippy!I remember reading about drawing a portrait on a distorted grid, and this is something he seemed to do naturally.Shortly after finally joining THE NCN, I noticed,that many of the members didn't quite "get Chris" (although many of the members might deny this now)I recall discussions on the forum criticizing his caricatures as not being consistent, or lacking a likeness if the subject. I recall watching Chris with fascination defend his way of drawing, and knew that he was on to something really edgy, different and unique. I wrote him several times encouraging him to close his ears to the naysayers, and to realize instead that soon his style would become a force to recond with, and would give Birt to a host of admirers and imitative. (turns out I was right)





AS ONE OF THE LEADERS IN THE NEW SKOOL OF CARICATURE, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE IN AN ELITE GROUP?

Umm...I didn't know I was one of the leaders? says who?...so I don't know how it feels...but I like the way "skool" is spelled, so I'm glad to be a part of it! yeah! Oh yeah! skool-aid man! heh.

YOUR STYLE OF CARICATURE CUBISM ,ABSTRACT EXAGGERATION,REPRESENTATIONAL REARRANGING OF PEOPLES FACIAL FEATURES HAS CAUGHT ON IN A BIG WAY . DID YOU ALWAYS DRAW THIS WAY?

Huh?! Again, who are these people that are saying it's catching on?! is it my mom? it's prolly my mom, heh. Actually, my mom is just confused a lot of times when I show her some of my work, heh. Anyhoo to answer your question, no...I was pretty into cartoons and especially comic book artwork for most of my life so my art reflected an amalgamation of those influences...ok, I just wanted to use the word amalgamation...hope I used it right, heh. I was always interested in shapes/design and slowly became more and more stylized and experimental. It wasn't until I caught the caricature bug with my nifty net later on that I played more with abstracting the face more. But the one consistent that I've always done and I think most people don't know about me and still do to this day (although a little bit less) is practice drawing more realistically for practice to keep myself in check so I don't use style as an excuse or crutch. I've always tried to balance moving more and more stylized with improving my knowledge of traditional. I love all styles of art, from abstract to realistic and everything in between and that goes for caricature styles too. I feel that I can learn a bit of something from it all and increase my bag of silly rabbit trixs.



I NOTICED YOUR KNACK FOR DOING THIS YEARS AGO WHEN YOU FIRST CAME ON BOARD THE USS NCN NOW KNOWN AS THE STARSHIP ISCA. AT THE TIME THE NORM WAS DOING KRUGER-esque TYPE OF EXAGGERATED PORTRAITS. DID PEOPLE REACT TO YOUR OFFBEAT STYLE IN A NEGATIVE WAY?
People, as in other caricature artists? or customers? well, I guess it's kinda irrelevant, as I don't think I've gotten that much negative reactions from either...or maybe people just kept it to themselves, heh. But for the most part, fellow artists have been very welcoming and encouraging to my style which has been awesome! I honestly have been blown away by the sheer amount of awesome, friendly, way more talented than me caricature artists that I've already met in the few years I've been associated with caricatures. Seriously, most caricature artists are amazingly cool, willing to divulge their process, down-to-earth fun people! Oh, except Sean Gardner, he's a jerk and a hack. just kidding, heh, he's actually one of my best buds as whale as one of the best caricature artists!

I HAPPEN TO KNOW THAT THE THEME PARKS HAVE A "HOUSE STYLE"THAT EVERY ARTIST ADHERES TO, SO AS TO ACHIEVE A UNIFIED LOOK WITH THE TOURISTS. SINCE YOUR STYLE IS A DEPARTURE, HOW DOES THE CROWD, AND MANAGEMENT VIEW WHAT YOU DO?

I don't necessarily agree with your statement of the "house style" that artists HAVE to adhere to. I've drawn at half a dozen theme parks and have never seen that being enforced...maybe I've just been lucky? At the park I work at and help train I encourage individuality in styles and I'd say pretty much all our 15 or so artists all have their own distinct style, no one really draws like anyone else. Our sales are VERY solid as well and it's rare that we run into any customer issues either. I believe if you can sell it, and regardless of style if it looks professional/executed with confidence and looks enough like what a caricature is, it's fine. As far as crowd reaction, I don't always draw extreme, I pick and choose, sometimes it's based on how much I think a customer will enjoy a more out-there caricature, other times, I'll just do it if I feel like it. I don't think management has much issue with what I do, I'm one of the top sellers in my park because like I said, I don't go crazy on every sketch. I'm a pretty decent hustler and feel like I go about things in a smart enough way to still have fun and do what I want and still make money for my company and myself. Well, I do have a reputation of taking WAY too long on some sketches but I balance it with quicker, tamer sketches and my sales are still very solid, so I can't really see them having too much issue. I rarely get rejected drawings and usually if I do it's oddly enough the more tamer ones where I purposely try to draw a more pleasant and customer pleasing sketch. And when I do the more out there ones, sometimes they are kinda confused, but like I said, I usually am choosier on what customer I think would enjoy that so I rarely get a strong negative reaction.

HOW DID YOU START DRAWING LIKE THIS?

Mushrooms. next question. just kidding. Drugs are bad kids! Stay in school! I mean skool! Actually, it's funny, as I used to get asked every so often if I did drugs when they saw my art, which I don't. and this is before I got into live caricatures where I started pushing it even more too. Anyhoo, as far as how I started drawing like this, I've always been one to keep pushing my art and experiment, never satisfied with most of my work or current style. I've heard people say that you shouldn't worry about style and that it will just come naturally...and to an extent I agree but I pretty much did the opposite of that and have always been aggressively conscious of trying to find my style. I'd intensely study artwork I like and try to take the things I like and incorporate them all into my own art stew style. This was much easier said then done, because I liked SO many different styles of art, like cartoony, graphic, realistic, minimalist, highly detailed, angular, curves etc. it was hard to figure out what even I really wanted especially since a lot of the aspects I liked contradicted each other. I'd say it's only in the last year or so that I feel like I'm starting to figure out what I want, at least the general direction I'd like to take...and even still, I still feel I change my viewpoints a lot from day to day...and especially depending on if I have shrooms or not. just kidding! drugs are bad kids!

WHAT ARE YOUR INFLUENCES, AND HOW DID THEY CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR CURRENT WAY OF WORKING?

Ever since I got the caricature bug/started doing live caricature at the end of 2006, other caricature artists, especially fellow park caricature artists that use similar marker/artstix have really influenced as well as been tremendously inspiring. When I was starting out and trying to teach myself live park caricature, I looked at Brian Oakes' work a lot for inspiration and influence. Other caricature artists that influenced and/or greatly inspired me early on were: Al Hirschfeld, Philip Burke, David Cowles, Steve Brodner, Turcios, Tom Bachtell, Kruger, Grigor Eftimov, Paul Roustan, Aaron Philby, Nate Kapnicky, Joe Bluhm then later on artists like: Andy Urzua, Tomo Tabata, Matt Zitman, Alex Clare, Dan Hay, Marlo Meekins, Sam Gorrie, Pablo Lobato and many more. Also those old great cartoons such as Looney Tunes, Tex Avery cartoons and all that stuff on TV I loved, as well as Ren and Stimpy, Animaniacs, Samurai Jack, Powerpuff girls, some older awesome 2-D Disney films like Aladin, Emperor's New Groove, Hercules. Some anime like FLCL. Hey look! I like to list things! I like all kinds and styles of art, but especially liked things that are more on the stylized, graphic or very cartoony side, so anything I see that falls in those veins I'd say has influenced me. I'm always looking out for inspiring artwork or cool designs, like recently the cartoon animal labels for Suave shampoo for kids really caught my eye. Go google image those and tell me how awesome they are! Comic book art which was my 1st love for most of my life until I found what I feel is my true calling with caricatures so it's definitely influenced my style. Although I'm not sure how much it's influenced my caricature work...well, my live caricature work maybe not so much, but some of my studio caricature work where there's more line work I'd say it's definitely from my comic book art influence. Oh I also loved those old "Garbage pail kids" cards. Those prolly shaped some of my love of demented humor and puns, heh.

IM PRETTY FLUENT IN A VARIETY OF STYLES MYSELF, FROM THE MINIMALISTIC TO THE EXAGGERATED, YET YOUR STYLE I'VE FOUND TO BE THE MOST CHALLENGING TO INCORPORATE. WHAT IS YOUR THINKING PROCESS WHEN YOU CREATE THESE?

My process and way of thinking is in constant flux almost on a weekly/daily basis so it's kind of hard to say a definitive...I do a LOT of sketching of caricatures on a daily basis and make lots of notes on things I want to work on, things to try and/or to remember. I take a lot of pictures of my live caricatures and often go back and study/resketch them to see what I could have done better/differently. A few things that I think have been a more mainstay in my thinking process are: trying to breakdown the face and understand it's unique proportions so if I go for an extreme caricature or even any caricatures really that it hopefully still retains decent likeness, try to come up with solutions that are unique, max out contrasts, avoid patterns/being predictable, a lot of times I don't have a real game plan and just improvise based on the previous line drawn and think more as a design. Also..."wow, how do I fix/save this" goes thru my head a lot of times and sometimes being forced to come up with a unique solution to that problem turns out some of my more favorite and unique drawings.

ON AVERAGE, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR YOU TO DRAW ONE OF YOUR CARICATURES IN A LIVE SETTING?

My live caricature style and speed can vary A LOT. Sometimes if it's busy or I just want to get it done, I'll draw really fast and tamer which can take me 5 minutes or less for each color face. Then if it's slow and I have time I can take 30 minutes or more on each face especially if it's one of the more complicated out there ones. On average for a decent caricature that I don't go one extreme either way and something I can be moderately be happy with I'd say around 10 minutes a color face.

AS A LIVE CARICATURE ARTIST MYSELF, MY MOST CRITICAL AND TEMPERAMENTAL CUSTOMERS ARE WOMEN. IF THE GIRL DOESN'T WANT OR LIKE HER PICTURE, YOU LOSE THE BOYFRIEND TOO. AND THAT'S IF YOU DRAW HER DECENT LOOKING! IN ALL DUE RESPECT, CHRIS, I CAN'T SEE A WOMAN ACTUALLY "WANTING" ONE OF YOUR PICTURES! LOL! HOW DO YOU CONVINCE THEM TO SIT?

Hmm...I don't seem to have as much issue as you do with women customers being critical as you do, like I said before, a lot of it is reading the customer and figuring out if they are ones that would be more accepting of something more extreme. You can exaggerate and stylize to extremes and still make it non offensive or vicious and in some ways make it more customer pleasing than a less exaggerated caricature. Also, when something looks less human and more graphic/iconic it can be less offensive because the viewer associates it less as human and thus the direct connection of "them" is less...hope that made some sense...cause I don't know what I just wrote, heh.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU WORK, AND WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO.

I like cake, buffets, bbq, french fries and long woks on the stir fry. I work as the assistant manager for Kaman's At Shoppes at Dorney Park, in Allentown, PA. My good buddy and one of the best caricature artists, Matt Zitman, is the manager and along with our awesome staff we pretty much rule and have tons of fun while ruling, heh. I look forward going to work every single day, drawing, interacting with our staff and customers. As far as why I do what I do, I truly love the art of caricature and the challenges and limitless potential it has in interpreting someone's face into unique works of art. Doing live caricatures adds a whole other level of unique challenges that is both nerve-racking and tremendously exciting.

WHAT ELSE ARE YOU WORKING ON BESIDE CARICATURE?
ANY PARTING SHOTS?

Most of my work is caricature related whether it's caricature commissions or personal work that is caricature. What can I say, I LOVE caricature! I do still dabble in some freelance illustration and comic book art when it comes up. I wrote and illustrated 4 pages for Marvel Comics' "Strange Tales vol 1." issue #3 called "Suenami Cupcake!" that will prolly make your eyeballs vomit, heh. I also drew in a ton of cameos of my awesome caricature friends...as sea animals. Also, there's lots of violence and silliness. and puns. yeah, I like puns. and cake. yeah, I mentioned it twice. I trade caricatures for cake, heh. no really, hit me up :)
SEE MORE OF CHRIS CHUAS WORK AT....
  http://chrischuaartturtle.blogspot.com/ and my webcomichttp://www.tentonstudios.com/webcomics/turdles/

--
Chris Chua
Assistant manager Dorney Park
Kaman's Art Shoppes
http://www.chrischuaartturtle.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 06, 2012

CARICATURE ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST ERIC GOODWIN INTERVIEW

Eric is another one of those intrepid, out in the fringe caricature abstract cubist expressionless that I love so much. Eric's caricatures remind me of a car wreck! There's something so grotesquely compelling about them that I find myself mesmerized, unable to turn away. Eric's caricature interpretations have a "bendable" quality to them. Kinda like a rubber toy being pulled to the extreme! It's what I personally love the most about his work. It appears to be in motion, this rendition of comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, is a perfect example of this caricature cubist masters work.



TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC BACKGROUND. WHATS YOUR DOSSIER?
I studied illustration at the Hartford Art School for 4 years and started drawing live caricatures at Six Flags in Massachusetts about a week after I graduated. I spent that summer and the next 2 working at Six Flags and doing occasional gigs and a bunch of craft fairs in the fall and winter. I've had my own caricature stand at 2 different malls in New Hampshire (where I'm from) during 2 Christmas seasons and once during April vacation.

This past summer I drove out to San Diego to work with some of my favorite artists in the world at Sea World. I've currently been drawing a lot at Balboa Park in San Diego by myself or with friends, doing free caricatures for donations.

At the 2010 International Society of Caricature Artists convention, I won my first awards for caricature (besides winning for my Jerry Seinfeld piece on facebook's Caricaturama Showdown 3000): 3rd place for Outstanding Exaggerated Style and Outstanding Abstract/Design Style, and #3 Caricature of the Year for my painting of Derek Brennan. I also won 3rd place for Sick & Twisted at the 2011 Cripple Con (another caricature con).

Oh yeah, and I've done illustration work, both caricature-based and editorial-based, for magazines and websites every now and then as well.


LIKE CHRIS CHUA, YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST CARICATURE ARTISTS CURRENTLY UTILIZING WHAT I CALL THE CARICATURE CUBISM SLASH ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISTIC EXAGGERATION APPROACH. DID YOU ALWAYS DRAW THIS WAY, OR DID IT JUST EVOLVE?
I've been constantly pushing myself to try new things and to improve overall since I started working at Six Flags. I've worked on improving my exaggeration, likeness, composition, color, funniness, uniqueness, structure, cartooniness, attention to detail and assymmetry; you name it, I've worked on it. Working on caricatures in 3/4 views and profiles came about during my 3rd summer at Six Flags and was like almost starting over, but I knew that all my favorite caricaturists could handle any pose, so I knew I had to break out of my comfort zone. After that summer and a winter season at my own mall caricature stand, I felt myself at the top of my game but also felt that I was becoming a bit too comfortable with the way I was doing things and wanted to learn the way of the Beastheads since they were my biggest inspiration. At this time my art was exaggerated and fairly solid but was mostly done in a frontal view and relied on a rigid formulaic structure that limited the range of how my caricatures could look.

So I moved to San Diego to draw with the Beastheads (Aaron Philby, Nate Kapnicky, Andy Urzua, Brian Oakes and other awesome artists) to learn caricatures all over. Their way of approaching caricature was a lot more based on the "feel" of a person and on creativity instead of always relying on realistic structure and a formula for the face. My caricatures at SeaWorld changed from what I had been doing, but mostly my studio art became a lot more free and creative. I started drawing and painting sometimes cartoony, abstract, surreal, more exaggerated or just all-around different from how I'd approached caricatures before. And it was the most exciting that caricatures had been for me since I first started working at Six Flags and started discovering what was out there. I tried and still try to not develop a certain style; instead I try to make each piece look and feel different from the last. To this day I'm constantly trying to outdo myself in a way that I haven't done before, and it's a helluva fun time I've been having these days!


OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE TO BE "WIRED A CERTAIN WAY"TO EVEN GET A RECOGNIZABLE LIKENESS AT ALL USING THIS STYLE, WHICH YOU DO CONSISTENTLY, BY THE WAY, WHAT IS YOUR THINKING PROCESS
?
Thanks! But my likenesses definitely aren't there 100% of the time. That's the gamble of trying something that's a bit out of your comfort zone every time because it's like exploring the unknown. I'm not sure that you have to be "wired a certain way;" I think it comes down to practice and trial and error more than anything, which is the case for anyone tackling the art of caricature.

When I do approach a caricature in a bit of an abstract way, I think it comes about from trying to capture all of the unique qualities I see in a face in a way that maybe can't be done realistically. I think what can make a piece abstract is simplifying shapes, depicting features at conflicting viewpoints, flattening form and space, using lines to depict separations of form instead of relying solely on value, lighting and color differences and otherwise intentionally changing what exists in reality to accommodate a graphic, design-based or stylistic look. I sometimes like to contradict form by making my lines connect or overlap in a way that doesn't make sense anatomically but that works in a design sense and that looks interesting. Most of this decision-making comes about in the sketching process and can evolve in a couple sketches or (more often than not) take 10-20 sketches to come about. A lot of the time I don't think about the abstraction until I see the sketched lines on paper and think about how they could work together. If my sketches look like they'd work better in a surreal way or illustrative way then I'll go with that approach, so I normally don't try to force a style or approach to a face that won't benefit from it.


ARE YOU INFLUENCED BY OTHER ABSTRACT ART/ARTISTS?
I love the work of Picasso and Dali. They're obvious choices, but their approach and way of thinking is probably just as inspiring as the art itself. I'm really influenced by too many artists to name, but some of my favorites are Ralph Steadman, Steve Brodner, Sebastian Kruger, John Tenniel, the San Diego Beastheads, Kev Jackson, Chris Chua, Marlo Meekins, Dan Hay, Joe Bluhm, Grigor Eftimov, Omar Figueroa Turcios, Stephen Silver, Tomo Tabata, Ty Jones, Chris Singleton, Jeremy Townsend, JoaquĆ­n Aldeguer, Seo Kim, Dylan Glynn, Andrea Gerstman, Jorge Barroso, and many others. Some are more abstract than others, but I don't think you can only be influenced by and obsessed with a couple artists while trying to make original art. And listing only abstract artists as my influences wouldn't do the other artists justice, as they're just as influential. And what is abstract art, exactly? Haha just kidding, that's a whole different discussion.


HOW DO PEOPLE REACT TO YOU DEPICTING THEM THIS WAY? ISNT IT SORT OF A RULE TO DEPICT PEOPLE IN A PLEASING MANNER?
When it comes to drawing customers live in an abstract, exaggerated, surreal and/or otherwise creative but "unflattering" way, I almost always get strong reactions that most of the time include a lot of laughter, surprise and sometimes a bit of shock. But I'd say that 90% of the time, people love the drawing. Of course, when I'm at my own mall stand with all my own exaggerated sample drawings hanging up, and I have a fun conversation with the customers while I'm drawing them, the odds of them liking the drawing are very high, especially when they can tell that I enjoyed working on the drawing myself. I'd say that people deserve a lot more credit than you'd think when it comes to being able to laugh at themselves when they're in a friendly environment that encourages having a sense of humor. I stopped holding back on my drawings a while ago and for the most part draw as crazy and jacked-up as I want.


FILL IN THE BLANK:CARICATURE, TO ME, IS...
is an opportunity to capture the essence of a person, including their likeness and feel, in an infinite amount of creative ways.


ANY INTERESTING STORIES INVOLVING YOUR WORK?
I was drawing a couple young kids at Six Flags during either my second or third season while their family watched. It was a boy and a girl, both around 4 or 5 years old, and I was really exaggerating them to hell and doing a really funny drawing. The laughter from the family started slowly at first as they watched me draw and then turned into loud, constant laughter by the time I had started drawing the second kid. At this point the kids were looking a bit sour and upset that everyone was laughing at the drawing so hard, thinking that really the family was making fun of them and laughing at them instead of at the drawing.

After a couple more minutes of non-stop laughter, the kids both jumped off the bench and ran off away from the caricature stand crying loudly. Meanwhile, I wasn't done with the drawing and still needed to airbrush it. A few minutes later the kids slouched back onto the bench, their faces dripping with slowly drying tears. I was able to finish the drawing and the kids were ok with it after seeing it, but that was the only time I've made 2 people cry with 1 drawing. I've made people cry from my drawings a few other times, but never simply because of how much laughter the drawing was getting. And they hadn't even seen the drawing! Pretty epic.


WHAT OTHER THINGS ARE YOU PURSUING WITH YOUR ART?
I'm going to try to get some more illustration work for myself, as that's a really fun and challenging form of art that I've only had experiences with a handful of times. I'm currently trying to figure out what my options are for this summer. In the meantime I'm going to continue to work on studio caricatures, draw live at Balboa park, try to get more caricature gigs and continue to make impression videos of friends and singers. I also just bought Logic, so I'll be making some music too. Staying busy!


EVER HEAR OF THIS SUBWAYSURFER GUY? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HIM?
Yeah, I've known of this Subway Surfer guy for at least a couple years now. From what I'm aware of, he surfs subways and draws people a lot. And he draws all funky and crazy, which I like. Seems like he's not afraid to exaggerate a lot, which I like. I hope to meet him someday at a caricature con if he decides to show his face again!

SUBWAYSURFER CARICATURE TOP TEN

Considering the thousands of faces I've drawn over the years, it really is hard to make a really definitive top ten list. However, the pics that I've chosen here do hold a special place in my heart a d I find myself going back again and again to admire them. Each one marks either a particular prolific drawing period in my artistic life, the adding of a new principle,or an artistic breakthrough on a new method. It's not listed in terms of priority, meaning number one n my list is superior to number ten, it's just that I have to start SOMEWHERE, so I dd. Hope you enjoy the pictures ad the commentary.


1. "HAMMER HEAD SHARK DUDE ON THE BUS"
I will never forget the unbelievably large protruding forehead of this guy who sat across from me on the Q32 Bus. I immediately thought that if Hammerhead sharks were to evolve into humans, this guy would be the result. I originally drew this in pencil, then colored it in my iPad using the art studio app. This was the first time I'd used the app to color over my pencil lines which took my coloring technique to a new level. Aside from his forehead, I loved the way I was able to capture his subtle expression and personality. It was just like I'd caught him in mid sentence.

2 ANTHONY WEINER GETTIN KICKED BY TWITTER BIRD
I drew this Editorial caricature of Anthony Weiner following his "sexting" scandal where he accidentally sent a provocative message on twitter to what he thought was one of his liaisons.the caricature was dead on and had just tge right amount if exaggeration and animated quality to it.

3 DUDE WITH THE GIGANTIC EARS

I love this caricature because it was done during a period where I was trying to go all out with my exaggerations while still maintaining a likeness. At the urging of a collegue, who suggested that I draw the ears reaaaaalllly impossibly oversized, this "butterfly head" bag was the result.



4 GIRL WITH A WEAVE! WITH LIPS LIKE A DUCK

This pic is so memorable because it marked the absolute first time I did an extreme exaggeration in a live setting. I drew this caricature on 11X14 paper with a colored penci. She was an especially beautiful girl with an unbelievable mane of thick curly hair that seemed to be everywhere! That was my first visual hook, the next one was her full lips, and mouth that was slightly open. I saw her completely from profile view, which enabled her to be totally unaware of me, and enabled me to get a really good look at her. Prior to drawing this caricature, I avoided drawing profiles, but after this began to love them.



5 BI-RACIAL COUPLE

Ths was drawn during my colored pencil period, and was a gift caricature of a Bi racial couple I'd met in Starbucks in Brooklyn Heights. She had this cutie pie face, with a mane of curly hair that framed her face perfectly. The most outstanding thing about him was his looooong neck. Possibly te longest on a guy I'd ever seen which didn't seem to match his height.



6 CARICATURE COMMUTERS IN PEN AND INK
I KNOW this is a group, and technically not a single "sixth" caricature, but they all have that same awesome ink line which demonstrates my skill when I was really into doing pure "open" inked caricatures minus shading colour and other props. It also represented my signature party caricature style





7 CARTOON FAMILY PORTRAIT

This is one of my personal all time favorite caricatures because it was a departure from my caricature/portrait style that I had grown comfortable doing. During this artistic period, I began to be heavily include by several "caricature cubists" like Andy URZUA, Chrs Chua, and several Japanese artists from the NCN. I always wanted to break out and use this style exclusively, but never quite developed the confidence to Donita live....YET.

From left to right, Wife Charlena, Me, Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling, Son, Gerard, daughter Janine, and oh yeah, my doggie,, Butchie!

8 CARICATURE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
THIS S MORE OF A CHARACTER DESIGN!cartoon/caricature of the biblical,l prophet.

9 BUGS BUNNY GIRL
She had a tremendous mouth like a cave

she looks a little like bugs bunny dont she?

10 HUMAN BEAVER
Raul, a fan from FACEBOOK requested that I draw his caricature highly exaggerated after viewing my work. It had been weeks since I'd gotten my iPad, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do a commissioned drawing from start to finish, entirely on the device itself. I did all my initial pencil lines and digital painting. It took days to complete, but the end result was magical, and gave me a lot og confidence.


As soon as I saw that overbite of Raul, I knew EXACTLY what flavor THIScaricature was gonna be! Drawn/ painted in art studio app, on the iPad, using the, you guessed it, the ifaraday stylus, and a lotta patience.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Caricature Expressionist series: ANDY URZUA

The word,"Caricature"to the lay person, brings to mind exaggerated theme park, street corner portraits with big noses, tiny bodies, and oversized heads. And while this is one style of caricature, the truth is that there are many different styles ranging from the realistic, to the abstract and iconic. It is the last two categories that I'd like to focus on in ths interview series. I've ad the privilege of associating with a special group of artists from around the world and nation who make up The ISCA( International Society of Caricature Artists) formally known as the NCN (National Caricatrists Network). Over the years I've noticed an elite "fringe" group within the organization, who seemed totally unconcerned with drawing so called conventional caricature, instead preferring to not only push the envelope of exaggeration, but rip the envelope to shreds and burn the pieces of paper! The result if their labors emerged a totally new exciting and highly personal way to draw caricature. In tge first interview of the series, meet Andy Urzua!





I REMEMBER WRITING, HOW YOU DRAW LIKE A LITTLE KID! NO DISRESPECT MEANT BY THAT! LOL what I meant is that its unrestrained and free. Have you always drawn this way? Well, I never used to draw this way?

In fact I never used to draw caricatures. I used to only draw little comic strips and a few drawings here and there with markers for friends of just random things. My last real job before being hired at Sea World through Kaman’s Art Supplies were I do caricatures was at Safeway/Vons where I was a baker. So I really had no connection to caricatures at all. It wasn’t till 2yrs at Vons when I met Gabriel Hunt he had told me about a try out for caricatures at Sea World for the SeaWorld/ San Diego zoo. So I submitted my portfolio of drawings. Went to the try outs and was quickly swept up by Beau Hufford who was the manger at that time for Sea World who told me that I would be great for Sea World and that the zoo was lame. True story. 7 mths in my job at Sea World I had learned so much I had never known about the human face and myself. After my first convention within my first 7mths in it had changed my view on caricature once again. This is when I started experimenting with my own cartoon strip style with live faces along with some other styles I had seen at this convention like my buddy Tomokazu Tabata from Tokyo, Japan. Since then my style has slowly improved, but I’m always learning new techniques.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC BACKGROUND. WHATS YOUR DOSSIER?

I had only high school training in the arts really. I mean I only attended art classes as electives I used to always get C’s in class. I always wanted to do the projects my way. I wasn’t good at listening. But I also was in Journalism as the editorial cartoonist which I would draw everything from fillers to full on strips, I would also go on to compete for the school at state wide journalism competitions. I placed 4th usually locally, 13th state wide. After high school I had know plans for college, I never really had any sort of direction. I went with the flow. I had a caricature job once before when I was 18 but it only lasted a few months and I never really enjoyed it then. My head was somewhere else.



LIKE CHRIS CHUA, YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST CARICATURE ARTISTS CURRENTLY UTILIZING WHAT I CALL THE CARICATURE CUBISM SLASH ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISTIC EXAGGERATION APPROACH. DID YOU ALWAYS DRAW THIS WAY, OR DID IT JUST EVOLVE?


My style has totally evolved. It’s funny you mention Chris Chua, when I first saw his work during a pre NCN Reno Convention issue of Exaggerated Features I didn’t really like his style. I remember having conversations on his choices. My boss then told me I had to keep an open mind. But I did how ever like Tomokazu Tabatas style featured in the same issue. Which is the whole reason why I attended my first convention. As far as my style and where it originated from well it just came from everything I had accumulated through the years be it cartoons I watched, artist I admired or just the motivation from knowing I had the skills to create something completely different then someone else. I dunno really. Right now my favorite artist is Makoto Wada an older Japanses artist from japan. He doesn’t do caricatures anymore.But I came across a book of his through Tabata and it has helped me categorize myself as a minimalist caricaturist defining my child like style

OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE TO BE "WIRED A CERTAIN WAY"TO EVEN GET A RECOGNIZABLE LIKENESS AT ALL USING THIS STYLE, WHICH YOU DO CONSISTENTLY, BY THE WAY, WHAT IS YOUR THINKING PROCESS?

Thank You. But it can be hard, and not all the time am I happy with my likenesses. When I draw live I sometimes wish I had more time since most of the time your decisions final. But I’ve had lots of practice to get it right most of the time. But when I work at home and have more time to work on a likeness of a celebrity or client/friend then my decisions can out easier for me, theres no pressure. But my process is usually looking at objects that reflect the design I have in mind and then exaggerating from that one idea.




AWHOSE WORK DO YOU LIKE? WHOSE DO YOU HATE? WHY?
I have many artist I like most of them are my friends, I don’t have to many that I hate since that word for me seems to strong, I would have to care to much about one style to hate it. But there are times when I disagree with decisions an artist makes.


ANY INTERESTING STORIES INVOLVING YOUR WORK?
As far as this interview goes? I’ve gone on to win some awards from the now ISCA convention and have been able to travel around with my work. Drawing in another country is something I will cherish forever.


WHAT OTHER THINGS ARE YOU PURSUING WITH YOUR ART?
At the moment I’m taking it slow,I’m drawing mainly for some online competitions once and a while since I have a curious 17th month old son running around. But I have some plans on children books and other such illustrations not having to do directly with caricatures.


EVER HEAR OF THIS SUBWAYSURFER GUY? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HIM?
Yah, I’ve heard of him alright, this punk owes me money!


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WATERCOLOR CARICATURE OF RADIO K-LOVE DJ CHUCK





I got a chance to follow through on one of my New Years resolutions of experimenting with a new medium, Watercolor, in 2012. After working beside my collegue, Kenly Dillard, I always admired the beauty f his caricature paintings, nit to mention his audience response, whenever he added watercolor to his caricature. I vowed several times in 2011, that ud follow his lead, but never did. I decided to dive right in, a d started with a face that I thought was kinda fun, namely DJ Chuck of K Love radio. I don't know hw Chuck feels about the picture, but I love the results! I applied the same shading principles to the watercolor as I would to pencil, and the results were great! I feel very encouraged. Since I'm just getting used to this, I decided to severly limit my color choice and I think I will stick to monochromatic for a while.

Monday, January 02, 2012

I GOT A CHINESE GUY TO DO IT!"

"I GOT A CHINESE GUY TO DO IT!"

Let me start off this post first my saying, rather strongly, that I am not in any way, shape or form prejudiced against Chinese people, I am not angy wit them, I have no ax to grind with them, I have no desire to ridicule them, I do not hate them. Anyone who walks away from this article thinking otherwise has made up their own minds about what THEY believe I am implying. 

So, why the title?I GOT A CHINESE GUY TO DO IT!"

Recently, in the latter days of 2011, that phrase,I GOT A CHINESE GUY TO DO IT!" was uttered a lot by potentially high paying clients, and the frequency of this response caused me to reflect on just hiw many times I've heard this phrase uttered by a client.

It would be an understatement to say,  I've heard it a LOT.  So many times, in fact, that it's become a private joke. A bad one, but a joke nevertheless, and the "funny"part is, that the jokes on me, and my fellow NYC caricature artists.

Here's how the scenario usually plays out...
Client A calls me up frantic and excited , ranting about an assignment that involves a caricature of a boss, employee, family member, or lived one. The client assures me that I was chosen specifically from a cast of billions of other caricature artists. I am told that it was MY work, MY Style, MY special intangible, irresistible "something" that made me stand out from the pack. I purr like a freshly petted kitten and bask in the sunshine if their praise before inquiring as to what they need. Client A explains that they have an impossibly tight deadline, and require my services, or a picture that includes caricature, scenery, and my own sparkling personality. I smile and give my price waiting for that familiar sound of wallets opening, and cash being cheerfully pulled out into my waiting hands.  I look up, and Client A's face has become a stoic mask of concentration. I begin to hear as if coming from a far away dimension the words, "I have to consult with my husband, colleagues, dog whisper, etc. But I'll get back to you!"

I flash another smile and say, "OK" with as much enthusiasm as possible, knowing that this may be the end of what started out to be a beautiful business friendship... I still hold out hope though!
After all, they DID choose ME because of MY style , my "special something"right? I mean, you can't just get that anywhere! It's MY "special something" after all, and only I can make it!

I recheck with Clent A within the hour to find out how their consultation with the other parties went. I call with renewed confidence! I was worried for nothing! Just a silly, momentary Lack of confidence....

Then I hear the dreaded response on the other end:

I GOT A CHINESE GUY TO DO IT!"

For those of you readers who are not NYC Caricature artists, the afore mentioned line, I GOT A CHINESE GUY TO DO IT!" may ave gone over your heads. Allow me to shed some light on this.

In NYC caricature is big business. Tourists love them. And all , they have to do to find one is go to the "caricature Mecca spot" Times Square. From West 42nd street up to about west 50th street, you can practically trip over a caricature artist as you're being dazzled by the bright lights, jostled by the crowds of shoppers, and gawking at the tall buildings. You would think in the proverbial cultural belting pot that  NYC is famous for, you'd see a variety of artists of all creeds and races, curiously, that's NOT SO!  The fact is that Chinese portrait artist have the place on lockdown taking every available spot  

Whenever a cheapskate client doesn't feel like paying an artist what they are worth, they always can go for the default plan of going to Times Square and ayi g a Chinese guy to do it for a whole lot less. I can understand saving money, but what's unfkrgivabe is that these clients ask the world of you And expect to get it for discount prices. The fact that they choose the Chinese guy tells me that they don't even NEED all the trimmings they demand from me, when they KNOW they know will settle fr less....


Because they do.