17 Caricatures Project

12 Oct

One piece of advice that I can give any cartoonist is this:  Get away from your comfort zone as much as possible!  Seriously, I was in a cesspool of mediocre work of mine for years until I learned this.  You can’t just stay stagnant.  Trying new things – whether you like it or not – helps.  Even learning to paint, use Photoshop, drawing with crayons, etc. is great to develop your own style.  The more you know in general, even if it’s stuff you’ll never use (like math) makes for a better artist.

That being said, I used to be anti-caricature.

I didn’t enjoy doing them, I didn’t think I was good at them and so – I basically passed on almost all projects that included them.

Recently though (this past year) I’ve started created them more and more.  And I’ve had several clients hire me to do them.  The results?  Well, happy clients.  I discovered people don’t hate them and actually, they can be quite a bit of fun to do.

I’m not a Tom Richmond when it comes to OUTSTANDING caricature.  I compare my work more along the lines of The Simpsons.  You know how when that cartoon series gets a guest star on, they look ‘Simpson-ish’, but yet still distinguishable of that person?  That’s more of how I would describe my caricature work.  Much simpler and cartoon-like.

Anyhow, as long as my clients are happy –  I’m happy.  And so far, everyone that has hired me to do my particular style of caricatures really have enjoyed them.  I’m pleased with the work as well.  Yes, I strive to be more of a Tom (Richmond, that is), but also think there’s something to the simplicity of my work that is great for certain projects.

I thought I’d share a recent project I drew for a printing company based out of Norway.

They wanted me to draw their employees – seventeen of them – to be used as wall art.  The work is going to be enlarged to life-size via a Vector file.  Basically, the main contact person sent me 17 photos of the various employees.   No, they weren’t all together, so my job was to put them all in one image and make it work.

He (the contact) gave me some great insight on who was short, who was tall, who did what and so-forth.  I also included some of the materials that they used on a regular basis (printing stuff, computers, etc).  The goal:  Caricatures of their workplace.  For now, just a black & white image.

I love challenging work and so I was anxious to tackle this job.  I thought, in the process, I would document it so I could explain how I went about doing it all.

The first step was printing out all the separate images of the employees.  In respect to the client, I won’t show you their actual photos.  At any rate, I printed those out in black & white (since that was all I was doing) and also printed out various images of their workspace.  Yes, I had a pile of papers to contend with.

I then took his visual advice of who was taller/shorter and worked that part into the image.  So, basically I drew just outlines of where images would go on the paper so I could fit all seventeen people in there.

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Next was putting the actual people in here as a rough sketch.

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When I do a rough sketch, they are VERY rough.

I added a lot of elements like an old printing press, printers, etc.  When this above rough was done, I sent it to the client.  He wanted it more modern and less crowded, so I removed several items.

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I sent off the above sketch, and the clients wanted a few things removed and changed.  I made the changes and came up with this final sketch (below).

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They were happy with it, so then the inking began.

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After inking the entire thing, I scanned it into the computer, cleaned it up and added several black areas that I felt would enhance it.

And this was the final result.

Johan A - Z FINAL

Another point I want to make is ALWAYS take any kind of adjustments, reworks, etc. from clients as a complement.  Sometimes clients think they’re annoying me when asking to make changes.  I like when they ask me to because that way I know it becomes perfect.  I offer my own insight as well on what I think works, and if they suggest something I don’t think is good to do, I’ll mention it to them.  At any rate, it makes for a happy customer at the end with patience and working well with the person who commissioned the work.

So, this was my big seventeen caricature project.

I had a great time working on this and glad again that I learned awhile back to get out of my comfort zone of just doing things I wanted.  A few years ago, I would have never tackled something like this.

The only comfort zone you should stick with when cartooning is your stool.  If it’s not comfortable, get a new one.  The whole idea is to spend as much time at the drawing table as possible, right?  Happy Hiney = Happy Hand Drawings

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