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Posts Tagged ‘likeness’

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.

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This young computer company is located in a leafy corporate park in Lombard.  The offices are spacious with good art on the walls. Dress is casual. Hey, everybody knows that we do our best thinking when we’re wearing sandals!  The reception area in the front is comfortably furnished but it needed something distinctive on the walls.  Ta-tah!  The office manager thought of caricatures.  She organized a little Friday lunch on the grounds and invited me to draw all of these thirty clever people, which I did amid much chatting in three hours. I thoroughly enjoyed this crowd.

I haven’t talked about technique in a while.  Here’s a tip when you judge a caricature:  few lines, the fewer 13SinglePath4bthe better.  That’s why I put Marty in the lead position here.  Few lines AND it looks like him.  The likeness, of course, is key.  If it doesn’t look like the person…well, what can you say, it’s embarrassing and a waste of T & M.  To get a likeness in a few minutes, like 3 or 4 (which was the case here), takes a lot of practice and then a lot of concentration. I love this work.

Here’s what the incomplete display looked like that afternoon.  Thank you, Laura!

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

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www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://artamaze.wordpress.com

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I’ll be teaching a 5-week course on The Art of Caricature this summer at the Evanston Art Center.  The class will be held on Thursday evenings from 7 – 9 p.m.,  starting June 14.  Due to an email glitch, the class is not listed in the printed summer catalog, but it will be listed online at www.evanstonartcenter.org

Here’s the blurb:  “For intermediate & advanced portrait artists.  Seeing through the “caricature lens” enables you to heighten your subject’s expression and will develop your personal style. A good caricature is a stronger likeness than a “realistic” portrait or even a photo. As you develop your ability to see in this new light, you can decide to what degree you want to “tweak” the features and still maintain the likeness. The notebooks of some of our great artists (Leonardo, Picasso) reveal that they were, at heart, caricaturists. This course broadens the view of a much-misunderstood art. The class is set-up so that students can see the instructor’s drawing as it emerges, step by step. “

That last part is important.  I tack a long sheet of brown paper on the wall and draw with black markers so that everybody can see.  Every student will have an 8½ x 11 printout of the face we’re working on and I will have the same face taped to my brown drawing paper on the wall.  We go at it.  How do you look at this?  What feature will you push and pull?  How do you enhance the expression? All this, while keeping the likeness.  In fact, the likeness will be enhanced by our pushing and pulling. A good caricature looks more like the person than a photograph.   It’s fascinating.  I will also sit next to individual students and draw along with them.  I provide the copies of the faces but students can also bring in their own choices.  Hmmm, friends and family. The  class is, of course, fun, but it’s also serious work and very challenging.

The number at the Evanston Art Center is 847-475-5300

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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