Subject: Your Every Other Week Caricature: Thelonious Monk

December 19, 2001


Your Every Other Week Caricature:
Thelonious Monk


Well happy week before Christmas all! 

Today's caricature is of Jazz piano great Thelonious Monk. (I'm a big music
fan that's why you see me draw lots of musicians). Today's drawing - actually
inking - was first penciled-in then cross-hatched over in a black Pigma 01
technical pen. (A fairly fine point.) I drew a rapid-fire pencil sketch (about
14 inches tall), which actually was a very good likeness - especially for a
first try :-) so to not make any more work than was needed I scanned the
original and shrunk it down so the face on the picture was about 6 inches tall.
I printed that out and copied it loosely on a 'light table' in light pencil -
penciling outlines of all the shadow shapes and the main features.

The suit coat was added later and was hatched-in in Pigma 03 technical pen.
This just helps cover more ground faster when hatching - using the fatter
pen (or "nib") tip. Any of you  thinking about working in ink? I'll bet the thing
holding you back is the fear of making a mistake in ink. Why? Because
you can't erase it. But I've said this before, don't let that stop you! See,
you get to cheat lust like me - pencil it in first. And when you cross-hatch
using all those different direction hatches you don't have to worry about drawing
unshaky lines - because you don't draw any outline in ink. Still, the hatching
itself takes some practice - but that comes too if you practice it...(see
lesson 9 for more on shadows and cross hatching.)

What makes Mr. Monk Caricaturable

Well everybody is caricaturable but what grabbed me about him was the
the kind of sad and distant eyes. (Poor guy kind of went off the deep end
towards the end - he had been suffering with schizophrenia all his life), and I
think a little of that comes through in his eyes. He's also got strong shadows
under the eyes and slightly protruding eyes - which the strong shadows support.
He's got the broad African nose  and strong cheek bones. Seems like he's always
wearing a hat in his pictures - it's usually a tight fitting one too which gives me
license to shrink the top of the head - just like the hats had to. :-)

He's got a full lower lip but what's most interesting - and what was most difficult
for me to figure out - was the way the upper lip notches down into the lower
lip and the way that highlight just above the Cupid's Bow (at the top margin of
the actual lip and below the mustache forms a little triangle. I almost missed
the Billie Goat tail on the tip of the beard. One thing I did notice after I scanned
the picture and sized it for e-mailing was the all-too-neat border of the beard
as it courses up the line of the chin and jaw  - it's just too smooth, the transition
that is. It looks like those hair implants. And I see I forgot to add enough fluffy
beard to the corner of the mouth down to the beard. Makes the beard look
a little fake. All and all though I'm very happy with the picture. (Except I just
noticed I mis-spelled his name!)

To see a copy of the original picture click on the link below - the one I worked
from was the exact same picture but whereas the head in the picture on the
web page is about a half inch tall, mine was about an inch to an inch and a
quarter tall (found in Pulse Magazine). The bigger the better. home office moving to Minneapolis end of January

Have a great Holiday all - the communiqué will come next week but possibly
not New Year's week. (I'll be in Minneapolis.) One other note - you won't see any
emails the last week of January nor the first week of February: we'll be moving
into our new offices in Minneapolis. Yep, leaving sunny Southern California for
the four seasoned Northlands. And in the dead of Winter.  I'm excited! :-)

Take care, keep on drawing, and warmly,

Jeff k.

Jeffrey O. Kasbohm
Executive Director

(310) 676-2998
4702-C West 130th Street
Los Angeles CA,  90250

"Once and for all  getting you drawing faces and caricatures"