November 28th, 2001
Your November 28th, 2001 every other week
In this issue:
1) More on hair (Chuck where are you?)
2) A really neat Thai caricature site - all in pencil
1) Howdy all,
hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Chuck who goes by "Dan Van Go"
(I don't have any other identifying information on this member - Chuck
write me back, let me know if you have an URL and what city you live in :-)
So where was I, Chuck or "Dan Van Go" sent me an email just before
Thanksgiving. Here's what he asked:
"For the last couple of years I've been working the trade shows and tourist
trade in this area doing "cartoon caricature drawing." Love it! and the money
is not bad....When I'm working I go by "Dan Van Go."...My big thing is
"hair." After all this time I'm still not comfortable with my style, could you
suggest anything from your library?"
We're here to help
Well we're here to help Chuck. (Though we are a little slow sometimes) I've
got a few suggestions for you too. For starters, more than any other part
of the face, the hair has density. By density I mean it's got layers and
layers: remember it's made up of lots and lots of individual strands. I don't
know the average number of hairs on the average persons head - but it's
in the millions. So drawing each hair would be a ridiculous job to saddle
yourself with. And you certainly don't have the time to get into that kind
of detail at a gig.
What hair does do is bundle itself in shapes: some shapes are feather-like,
some more cylindrical; taken together these sub-shapes form the overall
hat-like effect of a full head of hair. (Or any state of hair or "non-hair")
So task # 1 is recognizing the overall shape of the hair.
Task #2 is seeing into the hair to see the sub-shapes
Task #3 is recognizing the highlight and shadow
patterns of each sub shape - they'll be consistent with
the way the light and shadow behaves on the underlying
(* To find "primitive forms" in the e-sourcebook, double click on the "find"
icon in the tool bar at the top of the book, (It has the picture with
the magnifying glass placed over the mini page picture the type in
"primitive", click the entry button and the built-in search function will list
all sorts of pages that contain the word "primitive". When you click any
line of the results, it'll instantly open that page in the right part of your
screen. If you don't like that particular result page, click on the next option
in the "Find" results list. It's a pretty handy little feature)
What's practical at a gig
Of course, when you draw at a gig, speed is everything (almost) - if you
got accuracy too, well then you're going to be that much more successful.
What's worked for me is drawing the overall hair shape first then smearing
in pencil with my finger along the hairline and then again at the outermost
edge of the hair - where hair is normally densest and darkest in the "real
world" and where the light is coming mostly from above. I know that's
Other links in the book
Tell you what though, check out these links for a little more graphic
The first: 2 February 2001 - Using Margaret Thatcher for looking at hair
as shapes and a whole bunch of links for looking at other hairstyles.
Next: 9 February 2001- looking at the layering that hair really requires to
make it authentic looking (Ani DiFranco) example. Click here:
Next: 18 February 2001 - swapping hairdos: how much hair can influence
a person's appearance. Click here:
Lastly, Part V of the Ani DiFranco monster files goes into a little more depth
over the same stuff. Click here:
Hope that's enough to get you started Chuck.
2) A great Thai caricature site
I think it's pretty timely, but I received an email a couple weeks back
out of the blue from two Thai artists: Samsudin Ismail and Jabatan Perisian.
I checked out their site and found it to be full of great pencil work - humorous,
refreshing and very, very skillful. I was inspired! So Chuck, to get a few more
ideas on how to deal with hair in pencil and in a gig-friendly way check out
this site - and tell em "YouCanDraw.com" sent you. (My little plug for
Here's their truly impressive site - and yes they do caricatures:
Keep on drawing!
Warmly, (and I do mean warmly this Wintery week!)
4702-C West 130th Street
Los Angeles CA, 90250
"Once and for all getting you drawing faces and caricatures"