24 June 2000

Hi everybody,

Well the Lakers did it this week and for that I'm pretty happy! (I live in
LA.) So, I bet you figured I'd do a Lakers caricature, right? I figured I
would too but it's been such a crazy week I went with something I had
planned to do about a week ago - before I knew they were going to win.
Actually, I KNEW they were going to win! Right. :-)

In last week's communique...

In the last communique I told you how I got prepared, how I "ramped up" to
drawing at my first "live gig". I went diggin' into the archives and I found
a whole roll of my practice drawings.

In order to get my speed up my plan was to do timed drawings. The pictures
I've included this week are right out of those files. I don't recall if
these were 5 minute drawings or 10 minute drawings. What I find most notable
about them is the depth. (Depth for a 5 - 10 minute drawing.) I'm not
complimenting myself when I say that - almost every good caricaturist I've
seen matches or betters the same depth and detail in the same or less time.

What gives depth?

If I could name one thing that can add depth to a picture I'd have to say
it's not so much the detail (though that sure helps), and it's not so much
the subject matter (any subject can have depth)... so what is it? It's
shadowing. And there's a real quick technique I use (that I learned from
watching professional artists).

Shadowing trick

It's this: shadow around the most dominating lines (like the very edges of
the face - the outline, the deepest lines of the face: under the eyebrows,
under the chin, along the naso-labial folds (the wrinkles that outline the
area from the sides of your nose down to the corners of your lips), shadow
towards the hairline and the most outward borders of the hair - to name the
major ones. It's just a "mirror-mirror" line, like a drop-shadow (that's
what graphic artists call it).

Speed counts

And the fastest way to make shadows is like this: get your finger tip full
of some pencil lead and just mimic the contour. Or, if you don't want to get
your fingers dirty or any skin oil on the picture, you can use chamois or a
"leadless pencil". A leadless pencil is just a rolled piece of white
construction paper with a pencil-like tip pre-cut into it. Any art store
carries these. They're really accurate too - with the fine point and all.

Leaded and unleaded

On a piece of clean paper, using your regular pencil on it's side, scribble
down layer after layer of pencil until you've got a parch of pencil that so
thick it almost shines back at you. Now, take that leadless pencil, roll it
in the middle of that big 'ol patch of heavy lead you just made, get the tip
all silvery - loaded with that lead. Then experiment. Draw cartoon faces
and shadow them in the logical places (see "logic of light" in Lesson 9),
and there you go, 3-d cartoons in 60 seconds or less! (Eventually :-)

So until next week, keep on drawing!


Jeff K.