28 November 2000
This week, as promised, I ran Mr. Spacey "through the mill" (it's a saying
we have here in the states. It means "worked him over", lessee that doesn't
help much, that's another saying. It means in this particular case I tried
to draw him lot's of different ways.)
Six different ways in fact. I've had a little more time lately to draw (at
last! ) and so did a few extra drawings. I do have to say the longer you
look at one picture when you're drawing somebody the more you catch yourself leaning to a side, trying to look around to see them at a different angle. This is kind of hard to do with a photograph :-). But I'm pretty stubborn
and I said I was going to do this all from one photo (a little challenge).
Today when I finished, I DID look at other photos of Mr. Spacey - and it was
a strange sensation (I remember thinking "why didn't I do this earlier?").
What do you think?
To get down to it, I don't know if the caricatures are a "success" or not.
There's some resemblance. What I want you to do though is look at all the
different versions and pick out what's similar in all the pictures. Then go
back and see if you can't identify what's different. THEN, (and this is the
big step), try to QUANTIFY the differences. What the heck does "quantify"
Simply this: get out a measuring stick, or a fine ruler or just use the side
of your pencil and measure the distances between all the main features. If
you can put those distances in terms of features (like "the nose at it's
most bulbous is almost one eye width wide", or "the forehead in the picture
with the fat head is 5 eye lengths wide"), if you can go that extra step all
the better. Send me your measurement results if you like (your "sightings"),
and let me know which one you think looks most like Spacey.
Subtle differences make all the difference
What I found most interesting while drawing these (in five 30 minute sittings
with no warm up over 5 days), was how different the drawings started to look
to me while drawing them. What do I mean by that? For instance, by changing
the thickness of the upper lip in one picture, Mr. Spacey started looking
more like Russell Crowe. In another more like former New York City Mayor Ed
Koch (I didn't send that picture - he REALLY looked like Ed Koch and I'm
going to send him one day...as Ed Koch :-0). In others I started seeing
Harvey Keitel, Gene Hackman and even Alfie Newman (of Madd magazine fame).
Take home point
The point I'm trying to make here is this: as different as people look,
differences might be very subtle - differences between the height or width of
an eye or the size of the tip of the nose can be very subtle, but the sum of
those small subtle differences adds up and we can recognize somebody as
totally different, totally unique without any problem.
Conversely when you really grasp someone's likeness in a drawing, (which to
me means when you've really observed and discovered AND gotten specific
about what makes them unique), you can distort the heck out of their picture
and they're still recognizable - some times even more so than an undistorted
picture. Strange how the mind works.
So check out the picture below (it got pretty big but I think when I get
around to uploading it, I'm going to upload it REALLY big so you can get a
great look at the details.)
Keep on Drawing,
Kasbohm & Company's
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