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Someone recently looked at my caricatures and said, “look at that detail!”  That was a high compliment because there really is no detail.  I merely create the illusion of detail with very few lines. In the art of caricature, less is more. The fewer lines, the better the caricature.Can we look at this for a moment?  Consider this detail:

Just three marks. Out of context you can’t tell what this is supposed to represent. But look at the whole drawing and you’ll see that these three marks represent an eye and a very expressive one, at that.

I choose to highlight the eye here because people often zoom in on the eyes, thinking they are the most important, most expressive, feature in a face. I know that, but if I overdraw the eyes, the drawing will not work.  Contrary to popular opinion (and I hear this often) the caricaturist does not blow one feature out of proportion. One feature does not a face make.  The whole face has to come through—in a comical way.  Oh, it’s very deep!!!  Haha.  I give classes and workshops on the art of caricature from time to time.  A good caricature is a drawing that looks more like the person than a photo.  For that you have to get a likeness, duh, and for a likeness the whole face has to come together.  Now, class, it really is deeper than making the nose bigger. Or the eyes, or whatever.

Here are a few drawings that illustrate the less-is-more principle.

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

khilden.com

katherinehilden.wordpress.com

facefame.wordpress.com

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EZ1

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.

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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)

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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.

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ0lck7oo4A

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.

http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/topseoscom-announces-rankings-of-100-best-local-seo-companies-for-february-2016-2100845.htm

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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!

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

EZ3

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

EZ2

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12CassinAutodidact

Your  “Golden Birthday” occurs when your age corresponds to the date of the month you were born.  But you knew that already.  Pingree Grove is west of the Fox River.  You knew that already, too?  Ahead of me!

So, on December 29th I crossed the Fox River and drove up Randall, to help celebrate Samantha’s 29th birthday.  I drew everybody, some in color, some in black/white and the guest of honor and her family on canvas, to make that drawing extra special.  I enjoyed this party immensely, because people were so thoroughly comfortable with each other.  Thank you, Rae!

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

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://artamaze.wordpress.com

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The colleague who commissioned the drawing later told me that the officer cried tears of joy when she received this. It’s very rewarding for me to hear comments like that. A successful caricature is full of insight and the recipient should instantly feel understood and connected.

Thank you, Cindy.

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

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://artamaze.wordpress.com

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When I first started drawing caricatures, babies scared me.  I mean, drawing them scared me.  I knew that I was there to please the parent and the parent wanted “cute.”  I can do cute.  But at the same time I have always seen babies as having a lot of character and individuality.  Babies are actually serious people, I think, always working it out:  how does all this stuff that’s coming at me fit together and how can I outsmart everybody around me?  Hard work, takes a lot of concentration.

So I like to draw them looking assertive, with shoulder up, hand on hip, or elbows on table, biceps strong.  Turns out, parents actually like this.  Probably because they also see their baby as an individual with character.

Here are just a hand-full, from recent parties.  The last one shown here had such a mature face, that he came out looking like a teen-ager in the drawing.  Dad said, yup that’s him.

Btw, a baby is anyone who has to sit on somebody’s lap to be drawn.

(There’s a worthwhile documentary called “Everybody Loves Babies,” 2010, director Thomas Balmes.)

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

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

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Cartooning is a highly specialized art form that is sometimes confused with the art of caricature. Let me be brief here about the distinction.  A caricature focuses on an INDIVIDUAL,  bringing out the uniqueness of this individual and, therefore, stressing distinctive facial features and also personality quirks.  A cartoon deals with a TYPE of person.

In the early days of the art of caricature, artists focused on social types.  For example Hogarth in 18th century England satirized that country’s social classes, especially the affectations of the upper class; Daumier in 19th century France satirized the new, rising bourgeoisie and its attitudes, but he also caricatured the king, an act of courage that landed him in jail.  In the 20th century the word “caricature” was more and more applied to individuals.

If you’re interested in cartooning and want to get a sense what’s involved in learning that art form, see today’s post at http://artamaze.wordpress.com.

For caricatures, www.khilden.com

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