Posts Tagged ‘laughter’

When I draw at parties I always have my little Canon at my side. It handles well and is unobtrusive. When the drawing is finished I turn it around with my right hand for the “victims” to see. The little Canon is in my left hand. I quickly raise it and click the shutter. This maneuver has to go very fast because that precious reaction lasts only a fraction of a second. What makes it precious is that it is uncontrolled. It is, dare I say, a moment of truth. They throw their heads back, they drop their jaws, they howl. When that split-second of truth is over, they collect themselves and make nice for the camera.  Too late, I gotcha!

Here are some examples of the moment of truth from the Wedding in the Park (previous post).























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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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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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13SchillerPk4This is the moment!  When the drawing is done I hold it in my left hand and in my right hand I position my little Canon ELPH 330 with index finger poised on the shutter.  I turn the drawing around.  People throw their heads back, jaws drop, a shriek of laughter…click!  A moment of pure spontaneity!  I love 13SchillerPk4bthis.

(Click for enlargement.)

The block party was in Schiller Park, in one of the cul-de-sacs at the edge of O’Hare.  I never heard a plane that Saturday afternoon, just giggles of anticipation from the kids and then that wonderful laughter I work for.

At block parties, people tend to arrive later in the afternoon.  My caricatures rewarded the few that came early.  Next year the anticipation will bring them in earlier—just you watch and see.

Thank you, Jennifer!——————————————

13SchillerPk1 13SchillerPk1b



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




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Really, I was there.

“Paradise Senior Living” is the full name. You might think that’s a presumptuous name, hard to live up to, but this place really is quite wonderful: the grounds, the building, the décor inside, the staff and… the parties they throw.  Parties are good for your health, did you know that.  Well, certainly, parties of this paradisiacal kind:  live music with a cabaret singer belting out “Me and Bobby McGee” and  a superb DJ backing up Elvis.  That would be Elvis in the white suit with the white cape, that Elvis, the one with the hair and sideburns.  Top notch entertainment and these guys knew the residents by name because, well, did I mention that the Paradise throws a lot of parties.  And then there was a new addition to the parties, Caricatures by Katherine Hilden.  As you can see from the photos here, my drawings elicited uproarious laughter.  Laughter is good for you.  Seeing people laugh like that is very rewarding for me.  Thank you, Jill!

Shown here is a small sampling of the many (about 30) drawings I did in those three hours.  Another note:  I took the photos of the people at the moment they saw the drawing, holding the drawing in my left hand and the camera in my right.  They really do crack up and that’s the moment of truth.

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





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