Archive for the ‘Caricature’ Category


The caption for this drawing could be, “We made up at the Beet Street Fair.”  When they first sat down in front of me they were nasty, nasty-funny.  About nothing in particular, it was a general stand off, as in “are we breaking up or are we getting together again.”  They told me that this on-and-off is how it goes with them, they love each other but always fight.  You can see, I got some of the growl and the I’m-not-talkin’-to-you in the drawing.  By the time the drawing was done, in about eight or ten minutes, their mood had warmed up to something close to happy.   What is it about caricatures?  Or was it the October sweetness in the air?  Or just plain Milwaukee?


In mid-October Goodkind and two other bar/eateries put together this big street fair in the Bayview neighborhood of Milwaukee.  It was a delight!  What is it about Milwaukee?  Every time I drive up there for a gig I come back wondering why I like those people so much.  They’re at ease, funny, self-confident and good-looking.  They can be stylish-edgy; when they show up in un-repentant hippie overalls, they come across as ironic, still stylish-edgy.  Mind you, I’m not fishing for more gigs up in Milwaukee…it’s a long drive.  But still, what is it about Milwaukee?

I enjoyed everyone who sat for me that glowing October afternoon.  I have the pictures to prove that the pleasure was mutual. Here’s documentation of a few of the more riotous moments. More in the next post.

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All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.







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Nadja copy

This is the wedding present for the couple that already has everything.  When your friends are famous for having everything, the only thing left for you to do is to give them something funny because a little humorous gift tells them that you think they are perfect and complete. Voila!  A caricature by that famous Whatsername.

All bellybuttons and toes, ha!

I enjoyed drawing this pretzel   Try this at home!

Thank you, Nadia, for finding the perfect artist for this project.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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I did this event at the Elmhurst Library last year and I was honored to be called back.


ElmhurstLibr2Comic Con is a big event.  Various artists who work in cartooning, comic strips, manga, and caricature are set up at tables where they demonstrate and explain their art. It’s an exciting day for kids. Many come in the costume of their favorite character from movies such as Star Wars.  Capes galore!

Last year I worked in black/white, which the kids and parents enjoyed.  But this year I worked in full color, which was fabulous! Color takes just a bit longer, but for kids this is the way to go.  B/w is elegant, but let’s face it, color pops off the page!

Thank you, Kim!

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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… and still looking twenty years younger.  The host’s youthfulness came up in Bernard2the conversations I overheard.  One woman said, when she started working in his office fifteen years ago, they asked her how old she thought Tom was.  She said, twenty-four?  He was forty-five.

It’s not just the prodigality of hair, which is probably the first thing you notice—not touched up, btw.  It’s also his big, oh-so-present eyes.  And then, the casual enthusiasm, so youthful.  Just one more thing: he makes surreal sculptures, some displayed on the mantle.  The man claims to be sixty.

I did Tom’s fiftieth birthday party at a posh Streeterville restaurant ten years ago. It was wonderful to be called back for the sixtieth.

Bernard3Lots of family, some old friends, some new friends.  Among the new friends is a history teacher who’s also a bit of a royalist.  He requested to be drawn as a Hapsburg.  By-gone glory is fun to draw.

In the gallery (below) notice the art-class references. Tom, a business man, met some of his long-time friends in art classes at the Art Institute. Among his friends are art teachers, models and actors.  Is it any wonder I felt so at home with this crowd?!


About the art of caricature in general, one note about color:  My technique is now so fast, that working in color does not take that much longer than a line drawing.  A minute or two longer.  If you look at the above drawing of those three artists, notice how effective the red tongue is, or the very French red striped shirt on the art teacher wearing a French Beret. Not to mention nudity.   Many people understand  this intuitively, which may explain the fact that I’ve been asked to work so much in color lately.  Lucky me. Lucky guests.

Thanks, Tom and Rich, for a wonderful party with people who get what I do.  Even the relatives from Kankakee (!!!)  liked my work.

Bernard6All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.






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Access1bIt’s the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities on Chicago Ave, near Clark Street.  I was invited to draw caricatures of the staff party there last Friday.  I drew not only of staff, many of whom are in wheelchairs, but also of interns and, I believe, volunteers.

When you scroll through this blog, you can’t tell that I’ve drawn many people in wheelchairs before.

But I have never drawn wheelchairs.  I chat with disabled people as with any other party goers who want to be drawn.  They are interesting and inspiring, always.


Access2I often find people with disabilities full of energy and eager to talk and laugh.  That’s why I have never drawn them sitting –as I actually see them—but instead I have them running or standing in an assertive, often sassy pose, as if they were saying “look at me, this is the real me inside, forget this mechanical chair.” These drawings have always been received with spontaneous delight and gratitude. Not everybody smiles for the picture, because people with disabilities are sometimes self-conscious about their smiles—as are others, too.

At this Access Chicago party last Friday, however, I had a new experience.

Carrie1One of the women in wheelchairs was exceptionally glamorous.  Her hair Carrie2was carefully styled, her make-up was flirtatious and her earrings said “Carnival.”  Naturally, I drew her in a flirtatious, standing pose.  When she saw it, she had a big smile, at first, but then she rejected the drawing because it did not depict her accurately.  “I’m not standing,” she said, “I’m sitting down.”  After some hesitation, she did accept it.  But later, towards the end of the party, she brought it back, saying, she did not want it.

Lesson learned:  In the future when I’m drawing people with disabilities, I will ask for specific instructions from the party organizers about how people are to be depicted in the drawings.

I drew nine-teen people in an-hour-and-a-half.  Thank you, Cris.

Access6And thank you, Pat, for your riotous laugh!!———————————-



All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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On my favorite holiday I get to do my favorite thing under a white tent on the village green in Glencoe.  Yeah!  And I get to work in color on this colorful day!  Thank you, Robin.

As you can see,  I drew mostly kids.  You can also see by their reaction to the drawing that they knew what a caricature is.   Sometimes I hear parents explaining to their kids that a caricature is a cartoon of you.  Not here.  Everybody here knew the difference.  So, let me make one thing perfectly clear (hmmm): a caricature is not a cartoon.

Glencoe2I enjoyed drawing the sophisticated kids there in Glencoe, but on this post I’m leading with the picture of a new dad with his ten-week old daughter…because it’s so funny.  The reason it’s funny is that I drew him as the opposite of what he actually was.   He was totally devoted to this baby, very attentive and a virtuoso with the pacifier.  To make this point, I drew him as just the opposite–overwhelmed and confused.  You know, how you sometimes express the opposite of how you actually feel?  That’s it.  It’s called irony.

He and I chatted about how calm and alert the baby was.  Well, no wonder, with a dad like that. We also agreed that she completely upstaged him.  He was in a supporting role and she was the star. And he wanted it that way.  Lucky little girl.  That’s why I drew her so big and solid.

It was a great Fourth!———————————————————-



All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.





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When the president of a company hires me to spend a whole day to draw everybody who works there, I know I’ll be looking at energetic, imaginative, intelligent, personable, interesting and interested people across my drawing board.  All of those characteristics go with a sense of humor.  And it takes a sense of humor to appreciate caricatures.


t was an absolute delight to draw smart people who also had a sense of humor. Humor is a cerebral function.  I haven’t done much theorizing in these posts, but it’s time to mention the French philosopher Henri Bergson.  Bergson wrote about laughter and humor around 1900 and in the first two decades of the 20th century.  I highly recommend looking him up.  You can start with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laughter_(book)


Humor is related to creativity.  In our own time, there’s much talk about creativity, but humor seems to be off the list of speaker topics.  We get jokes, yes.  But what’s the psychology of humor, not so much.  Touchy subject, you know, given the rules about political correctness.


I highly recommend this presentation by John Cleese linking humor and creativity:


IMG_9524You’ll see that PC is overshadowed by the importance of tickling your brain with a joke, even a not so PC joke.   All in the interest of getting at the “open mode,” in which creative thinking is possible.

IMG_9521he link between humor, intelligence and creativity was confirmed in all those faces I drew this past Tuesday.  No wonder, I was privileged to draw my caricatures at EZlocal, rated among the country’s top one hundred SEO companies.




As the old Monty Python silly walker tells us, you get things done in the “closed mode” but if you don’t know how to get into the “open mode” you won’t come up with anything interesting and worthwhile to do.  The president at EZlocal obviously knows this.  Maybe intuitively, without theoretical terminology, but he knows it. He had the place buzzing. It was a privilege to be there.  Inspiring!


Thank you, Jim!  And thanks for wanting the work in color!


All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.





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