...talking of heroic comic book artists, here's another homegrown great: Jamie Hewlett. Creating and posting the image of Brett Ewins a couple of days ago jogged my mind that I hadn't got round to caricaturing his comic star cohort. Remember, without Hewlett: no Tank Girl! - or not as we know her now. This pic was long overdue but good fun to make.
Sad to hear of the death of artist Brett Ewins this morning - one of the true 2000AD originals. His artwork on 'The Haunting Of Sector House 9' still disturbs me to this day! Weird, macabre and brilliant. Thanks for all the great art, Brett.
Here's a sample of one of his great spreads from that series:
My caricature website has been updated and expanded with a whole new look. I liked the design of the old one but it needed reconstructing and future-proofing so I took the opportunity to give it a cosmetic overhaul as well. New galleries have been introduced and many more caricatures have been added to them, so it should provide easy access to the best images from the archives. Still got a bunch of faces to add to various galleries (at the time of writing) but I wanted to get the thing up and working as soon as was possible - so hang tight for a bit if a specific image you're looking for isn't there. Like all new sites there have been teething problems and there still may be glitches that need addressing, so if you discover any links or elements that aren't working then feel free to drop me a message and point out the error(s).
Marvellous Mick! This was a pleasure to create as it was a bit of a leap forward in experimenting with using software in a different way to improve ease of application as well as increase the speed of execution. In the past, a caricature like this would have been created by me entirely in Photoshop, but this one was created almost entirely in Sketchbook Pro (with only a bit of touching up in the background with PS). SBP has a very intuitive layout for adjusting palette colours as one works. When combined with ease of tool adjustment it makes for a very speedy process. I'll be carrying on trying to hone the process in order to gain faster and more pleasing results.
The image is based on an old acylic painting I had knocking about which was never completed as it didn't seem to be working. So, not exactly a 'finishing-off' of a languishing work (like my recent vector-based Slash portrait) but I'm glad I managed to complete the image, albeit in another format...
Had this image of Slash uncompleted on my HD for the last three and a half years! I was originally going to expand it though I always liked the letterbox-crop I'd started off with. After looking at it again after so long I thought (in the persisting absence of a better idea) to go with my original plan. I've got a bunch of images in similar states probably going back just as far. Maybe 2015 is going to be the year I finally clean out my cupboard...
btw: who knew 'slash' meant something else in the art community? Ha
ha! Boy, am I behind the times - too many sub-genres for me to keep up.
If I make a caricature of Slash & Duff being friends does that make
it a Slash slash? Guess so...
Like many of you I've watched the new teaser trailer for the next film in the Star Wars franchise: The Force Awakens, and...hmmm, well, not sure what I think. I do feel wary after watching the incredible visuals of each of the prequel trailers, when they were first shown years ago, which proved that not even they could convey how hokey some of the final effects were to turn out to be, not to mention the plotting, the dialogue, the acting, or (how can we ever forget/forgive) some of the new characters!
My personal bug-bear is the tinkering with the lightsabres. OK, Maul's double-ended sabre was a nice touch but now we're looking at the possibility of some kind of cruciform version. Leave 'em alone!
So, we'll just have to wait and see - but I really hope that Mr JJ Abrams proves to be a more welcome addition to the much-loved universe than Mr JJ Binks.
Wishing blog visitors a gruesomely happy Hallowe'en from me (and Bela). A bit of a rush job this, as I wanted to get something done this evening before the clock struck midnight, so not as much titivatin' as I'd've like to have done - but it's all good fun.
Quick sketch of Brad in his latest big screen role. I haven't done a caricature in 'proper' pencil for a helluva while and quite fancied it. The main reason is that I didn't want to spend too much time on it and pencil always takes less than half the time than its digital alternative: probably because with digital I spend to much time cleaning up and exercising the freedom of choice to change stuff. So the above is very sketchy, but that's OK...
I have updated my post on cartoonist Derek Bauer as I noticed that the image links were broken due to their source site being taken down - therefore, I've uploaded scans from my own book. Bauer had a big influence on my style and the keen-eyed will see where I've cribbed from him. Hope you enjoy it.
If anyone has issue with copyright please email me.
If you are a speed freak/TT racing fan/adrenaline junky then I recommend the film 'Closer to the edge' which is a documentary covering the Isle Of Man TT races and follows the fortunes of the (then) leading riders; of which Guy Martin was one. It's a funny, shocking and engaging watch - and you don't have to particularly like bike racing as it will satisfy anyone who loves well-made doc's.
This is a commission I was asked to complete for the designers of a website dedicated to the two Norwegian rowers Are Strandli and Kristoffer Brun, back in the spring of this year. They recently got the website finished so I feel at liberty to post the artwork. Good fun to do.
Click on image to expand for larger and clearer view.
You would not believe the amount of trouble trying to capture Roy Hodgson's face has given me! I think I've sat down on about five occasions to fix a caricature only to have each session ending in failure. Always strange to find out which subjects end up being the most difficult to caricature. It's not that he doesn't have strong features: the bags under the eyes; the large rounded ears; the architecture of the jowls - that nose! Sometimes the most 'obvious' becomes the most difficult. The above drawing is the nearest I've come and it's still not quite 'spot on'! Oh well....
More WIP for upcoming Dredd-related work I'm playing around with. Still needs some tweaks - her left wrist needs thickening up, for instance - but this should work for the final composition. Still not 100% sure as to which technique I'm gonna use for the final...
I had a communication recently which in part asked for advice on the best way to render hair in a caricature. I was going to reproduce my short reply here but as is usually the case it has expanded into something more comprehensive. No doubt I will think of further things down the line, but if you've been having problems yourself or just want to know how I go about it then read on, and I hope you can get something from it.
In this post I've referred mainly to drawings, as cross-hatching and shading feature heavily with this format, but some of the advice offered will hold true for painted caricatures, digital or actual.
All caricatures shown below are created digitally using a cintiq in SketchBook Pro.
Anyone looking at past drawings of mine will notice that I don't always render hair the same way, and certainly not always with high detail. I usually approach each caricature from a fresh start point and try and think about the effect I want to achieve. Sometimes I want to render the hair with high detail while other times I want to keep it simple - even blocked in with total black or white. Certain approaches can help to accentuate the comic effect over the serious - and to achieve this I try to consider not just the shape of the drawn hair but the style that is used within it.
The Shape Vs The Style
The two main criteria to consider when approaching the hair is exactly the same as for the face - or any other part of the caricature - which is first, how to caricature/stretch/morph the hair (thus giving it The shape) and second, how to best represent the quality of the massed strands of hair (giving it The Style). A style can be anything from shading, cross-hatching, straight or squiggled lines to wavy patterned strokes as well as blocked areas of black or white.
Although the shape of the hair is important as it's a major element
in the success of the overall caricature, this post is more leaning
towards how hair itself is rendered, so from here on I'll concentrate on that.
Style - simple
Sometimes very exuberantly detailed cross-hatching or shading in the hair will actually detract from the overall effect of the caricature. It's not always necessary to draw every last strand as this can overwork a caricature, especially if the face is already highly detailed with crosshatching. I understand that it's tempting to always and everywhere render at full capacity by filling in every corner of a caricature in order to show off a learned drawing technique. The danger is thinking 'more is more' when in fact it's 'less...'. It's all about what you focus on in the image - and you should have a focal point as contrast will help the image have more 'punch'.
In the above caricature of John Kerry, not only did I keep the lines simple but I suggested a type of pattern or wave. I felt this gave a more comical effect to the image as well as contrasting the cross-hatching in his face.
Sometimes by keeping the hair devoid of busy detail, volume can be suggested with simple lines by paying attention to the thickness of the pencil stroke - which would include considering how it tapers (see image below of Robin Williams).
The caricature of Gabriel Faure above shows fairly simple hair as it's mainly comprised of blank space. Just some lines to denote basic architecture help place the hair in space. The white contrasts well with the hatched face.
Style - busy
When not simplifying hair to make it contrast better with heavily crosshatched faces I will go all out on it by considering it an intricate 3d object - so I'm looking
to have locks and strands pass under and over each other to help give
the illustration volume in space. I'd suggest keeping cross-hatching on
hair to an absolute minimum as too much can 'confuse' that area and pull it away from actually looking like hair. Instead, consider drawing strands in the direction they naturally lie and if you want to
suggest darker areas then either block it in or draw massed smaller
strands running in the same direction. Other than that, the same rules
apply to the hair as they do everywhere else.
Ben Stiller & David Tennant
The above two images show how layered, wavy, thick or tangled hair can be sculpted and filled with detail. By not applying cross-hatching to the hair but representing strands drawn 'in direction', the detail in the hair doesn't fight with the cross-hatching in the face.
As an aside from the hair issue: further contrast is achieved with David Tennant's caricature by foresaking detail in his jacket and using almost abstract block areas to denote the dark pin-striped suit - it just gives it that extra punch I was referring to. (click on image for closer look).
Directional light Sometimes you may wish to consider a half-way approach between simplicity and detail by combining areas of shading/heavy line work in the hair as well as blocking out whole sections - either in black, to show deep shadow - or white, to suggest a strong light source. Consider the images below to see how this can be achieved:
By using a combination of detail in the hair near the forehead and temples and leaving the top section white, a strong light source is suggested. Combined with the light reflecting off the actual temples, this has helped make the drawing more pleasing (though not automatically more successful)
Not all hair is the same! We may know it but we don't neccessarily draw it. Hair can be straight, curly, slicked back or shaved to the length of stubble, and therefore must have different drawing techniques applied to them to best represent each look. Below are some examples of different styles and comments on how I went about each one:
Shaved and shiny!
Roberto Di Matteo
This is a kind of inversion of what I've suggested above,
though the principle holds true. I've used simple cross-hatching in the
hair in distinction to the lack of detail in the face, therefore, a
contrast remains for the desired effect. The shine was created by just using a soft eraser brush on SketchBook Pro.
White & Wild
The white 'Mucha' curls sit nicely against the cross-hatched face
Black & Conditioned
I just blocked in the entire hair then took a white brush to draw in the highlights. Again, with the help of the solid black jacket, the central details of the hatched face pop-out.
Greased, Oiled and Smarmed
Similar to Michael Madsen above, a lot of blacked-in blocks are used but locks are seperated out and more highlights are added. Notice how the light hits the sharp edges of where the hair folds back. If locks lie flat and level in relation to themselves then keep all highlights level and in a line. Raise and lower the position of highlights to accentuate difference if the sections of hair sit at different levels. Again here, the basic idea of lines, and not hatching, make up the pomaded architecture of Shia's locks.Hatching kills shine!
Not as much blocking in with solid black as you might first imagine. I wanted the highlights to be from unsketched areas and not filled in with white after the fact. The highlights above his widow's peak give the hair volume in space as well as showing a difference in hair height, front to back.
OK, this is well over the top and all attempts at realism have been abandoned in favour of humour by producing a ludicrous level of (hatched!) detail to Jerry's wild mop. However, there's enough blocked black in the image to stop this failing altogether and as I don't think 'conditioning' was high in Jerry's concerns at the time, the wool-like texture of the hair's cross-hatching can stand.
Be prepared to break any of the above rules if by doing so you first; make the likeness of the subject more recognisable and second; make the caricature funnier. These must remain the primary concern. It doesn't matter how you've approached describing the hair or whether you've made it look photographically real or not, it must meet the condition that any other element of the caricature must achieve: if it doesn't possess the qualities of helping make the caricature instantly recognisable, and to a lesser degree humourous, then it's been done wrong.