Tuesday, July 16, 2013



Let me start off by saying that I personally do not like to draw Zombie 
caricatures. It's disturbing to me drawing stuff that's "supposed to be dead". 
However I realize that this type of caricature drawing is gaining popularity, 
and since I'm committed to teaching you how to become a better, more 
commercially viable caricature artist, I've decided to share with you my insight 
( though limited) on the subject.

I was recently asked by a client if I knew how to do "Zombie Caricatures" .  
Being the entrepreneur that I am, of course I said, "yes I do!"  promptly booked 
the job, and proceeded to learn how to do it. 


when you want to learn anything, you ought to learn from the best. And IMO the 
very best at doing Zombie Caricatures is SEAN GARDNER . 

To my knowledge, Sean is either the founder of this Zombie Caricature Movement, 
or at the very least the one who popularized it, and is most associated with it.  
I realize that I'm doing a tutorial on this, but if you want to see how the 
MASTER does it, please check out Sean.

That's what I did.


Keep in mind, when I saw I learned from Sean, what I mean is that I watched what 
he did, and studied his artwork.  This is one of the ways artists learn. It's 
called (by me) the "Monkey see,Monkey do" method.  


Just because you're doing Zombie caricatures does NOT. Mean  that you neglect 
the basics. What I mean by the basics is knowing basic facial anatomy, knowing 
bone structure of the  skull, knowing how to color, and shade, and most 
importantly, HOW TO DRAW A DECENT RECOGNIZABLE LIKENESS.  A Zombie caricature 
uses a RECOGNIZABLE likeness of a person  as a point of DEPARTURE. If  your 
caricature of your subject doesn't look like them drawing them normally, it 
certainly won't resemble them if you exaggerate them as a Zombie.

Having said that, and assuming that you can first draw a recognizable likeness 
of your subject normally, doing Zombie caricatures is easy and a lotta fun! 
Here's why....


After viewing the variety of Zombie caricatures on  Seans FACEBOOK page,
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zombie-Caricatures/160904467284444.  I noticed 
immediately how different and varied each one was. There were pictures of 
Zombies who had bullet holes in their head, others had eyeballs missing, some 
had the tops of their skulls blown off exposing their brains, still others had 
foreign objects like pencils, spears, arrows, hatchets, even cell phones 
embedded in their skin and skulls.  It became clear that in this particular form 
of caricature, your imagination could truly run not just wild, but amuck!  And 
it made total sense!


It seems contradictory to discuss "basics" after telling you that your 
imagination could run wild,but I assure you, these basics are what give you the 
freedom to let your imagination run wild.   In the Zombie world the human body 
is in a state of slow decomposition. As a result, each face is going to reflect 
that I various degrees. A face that you decide has been decaying longer is gonna 
be very different looking than one that has recently  started. 

Remember, your subject is not supposed to be living" so replace the normal 
proverbial rosy cheeks with a  gray pallor. or pasty white, or moldy green or a 
dull yellow. Remember that if you're drawing blood you can also you different 
shades of red. "dried blood" is a lot darker than "new blood"


Remember, your Zombie is an...er.. Individual in that their experiences are 
unique to them. So your Zombie may have a cracked skull because he tripped 
pursuing someone, another may have a spear through hus neck because someone 
threw it at them, etc. Etc. Which drawing try to come up with a story" why your 
Zombie looks the way they do. This is not a rule written in stone, it just makes 
drawing it a little more fun to do.


Granted, it's a daunting task to draw Zombie caricatures at a live event with 
people watching in five minutes or less. To do this requires that you visualize 
on the spot the way you're going to jack up the persons face, then you execute 
what you've visualized , all the while maintaining a likeness of the person. But 
it can be done!  The method I've used is to initially draw the caricature 
perfectly without a single flaw. After I've done this, I then add things like 
bullet holes, rips and tears in the skin, etc.  Remember when you were a kid and 
you used to take a marker and deface photographs? (I hope you're not doing this 
as adults!) you'd blacken out eyes and teeth, maybe draw a mustache or beard. 
It's the exact same idea. But there's still an even better way  to make you 
drawings freaky looking.
DRAWING ZOMBIE GIFT CARICATURES Gift caricatures are commissioned drawings where clients send you photo references to caricature. The fact that they're not right in front of you waiting for the drawing immediately takes all the stress out of it. Start off by drawing a perfect likeness of your subject. You can choose to do an exaggerated picture or simply a "cartoon portrait" it doesn't matter. Next, if you're satisfied with this initial drawing, take a sheet of tracing paper and trace the original drawing defacing it as you go. What's great about this method is that you can absolutely keep the original lines because you're tracing it, and you have the advantage of taking your time doing it. This is exactly what I did with the caricature you see.
NOW GO OUT THERE AND SCARE PEOPLE! Like any other. Art form, the more you practice, the better you'll be able to do it. Drawing Zombies may be difficult at first, but once you get into it, your creativity will take over and pretty soon you'll develop your own style. Doing Zombie caricatures is a great addition to your caricature toolbox, especially around Halloween, Frat Parties, parties in Bars, the possibilities are limited to your imagination.

Friday, May 24, 2013


heres a series of ArtStudio caricature done of Subway commuters and one Dunkin Donut Customer.


I had a flash of Nostalgia this week as I remembered my old Kung Fu Instructor, Preston Riddick. Sifu Riddick was my first instructor back in the 70's when the martial arts was something you studied when you wanted to take your life into your hands. The instructors were brutal and harsh as most of them were ex military men from Vietnam. I dont know if Sifu Riddick was a vet, but he sure was pretty intimidating. He was also a bodybuilder and compared to a chubby 11 year old boy which I was, he seemed like the incredible hulk only sporting an Afro and Shades.

Sifu Riddick was a fitness fanatic and drilled his students hard on calisthenics making us do endless laps around the gym, not to mention push ups and situps until you felt like puking and after you were totally exhausted and feverish... THEN  we would do our Gung Fu Training!.... I loved every minute of it. As I got older I found out that he was an outstanding activist in the Fort Greene/Pratt Institutecommunity where the school was located and taught other arts like drawma and drumming.


As i mentioned in a previous post, its helpful to be able to draw caricature sin a variety of styles as some faces lend themselves to different types of caricature, sometimes photo realistic, sometimes cartoony, sometimes abstract, sometimes exaggerated. Its also great fun for the artist to challenge himself by drawing in a style that hes comparitively speaking, unfamiliar. In this picture my using a cartoony abstract style.


I think its a good idea for a caricature artist to have more than one style under his belt. Not only does it break up the monotony of drawing everyone the same way, but Ive found that  some faces lend themselves to one style more than another. Ive drawn people whose faces practically scream the word, "CARTOON!" while others lend themselves more to photorealism , and still others  scream "EXAGGERATE ME!" this guy, who I call Big Red, had the best of both worlds going. He originally thought Id just caricature his NOSE mainly, but I told hijm he had much more going on in his face!


 I swear, every party I go to theres at least ONE guy there with bushy eyebrows!!
 I didn't think at first this pady would appreciate me drawing her nose so prominently, but she ended up loving the caricature. You just never know how people are going to react.
All of these caricatures were drawn at a recent gig in Coney Island. I originally drew them in black and white, then immediately drew a copy of each for myself that I knew I would color later in ARTSTUDIO for  IPad


The Far Rockaway Shuttle bus traveling from Mott Ave to Howard Beach is a great time to catch faces while you ride. Here are a few memorable ones.


Ive been Caricaturing my sonk Gerard all his life, much to his embarrassment because i usually show no mercy! this timje, however I decided to do a complimentary picture of him since he is in seminary now pursuing a career as a Lutheran Pastor. I wouldnt want a bad caricature to haunt him as one of his parishioners in the future would be bound to dig up the picture one day! On myself however, I had no mercySome would call this self hate.....