March 4th, 2002
Your 4 March 2002 YouCanDraw.com
every other week Caricature: more Larry King
In todayís Every Other Week Caricature youíll see more of Larry King and
the next stages of exaggeration. Did we finish a picture today? No, but I
think youíll see the picture shaping up some. Last issue you saw the first
roughs of Mr. King (to be posted in the next couple weeks) and this week
weíve refined them even more. They're not pretty or artsy, but they're starting
Areas we focused on
What seemed notable about Larry 2 weeks ago (which haven't changed),
were the bulky tip of the nose, the asymmetric mouth, the general mass
of the head and the relatively small chin. The hairline was also notable for
both the bulk of hair - which you wouldn't expect - from someone with so
much forehead. And those trademark glasses...
I also decided to pursue the ďthree quarter viewĒ rather than a straight on
front view or a profile (heck, I donít think Iíve done a profile in 20 years :-)
Old training aids
To get on with it, this week I had to revert to some old drawing aids that
I pull out when Iím in a drawing slump, namely tracing paper and one
of those fine point Paper Mate mechanical drawing pencils in place
of the big fat 4-6 B drawing pencil.
Hereís the usual course of things before I pull out the tracing paper. I
find a handful of decent pictures of the subject (I could only find 3 or 4
ok pictures on the Internet - none of which were
more than about an inch and a half tall. One great picture is all you really
need to start with. And where do you find those? All over the place - but
especially in magazines and on the web).
Then the task is to start drawing. Yep, just dive in and start drawing.
Sometimes drawing one feature at a time until I ďget itĒ is the program;
sometimes I start with the overall large shapes (like the head and main
masses of the face). After drawing the individual features I might just do
a realistic quick sketch. If a realistic sketch or a slightly exaggerated
picture starts to work, well then why reinvent the wheel?
Thatís when I get out the tracing paper. I lay the tracing paper right
over the ďsort of workingĒ previous drawing and exaggerate ďon the spotĒ but
using the underlying decent picture as a guide. This way I can trace what
works and concentrate on what needs more embellishment,.
And you can see the process at work in todayís picture. I didn't come up
with a finished inked product that I was happy with - that I usually try to
get finished within two weeks of starting. Oh well. Maybe itíll be more
useful to you to know everybody (me included) gets into slumps. (Not like
Iím a world famous or world class artist yet either :-) But thatís not a whine.
This is practical stuff. Any thing that gets you practicing and expanding your
craft (as long as itís legal, moral, and half responsible) is allowed. So...
Looking at the pictures, hereís specifically what I did:
the far left drawing was the picture I chose to run with. The middle picture
is a trace of that - with a whole mouth study. It was the mouth that gave
me the most trouble - and especially in a ĺ view. But note how much more
satisfying a ĺ view is to look at: When itís done right, and the proportion
is correct and the foreshortening is correct perspective, it jumps off the
page at you even if thereís smudging and erasing etc.
The nitty gritty
Compare the area of the mouth in all three pictures. Isolate the lines in
each that make it work/not work: follow the blocks of the tip of the nose,
follow them down to the upper lip, compare left to right between the three
the shape of the teeth in the lower jaw and the shadow space just above
them (actually the dark space of the mouth)
Look how the eyes stay very similar in the left and middle drawings and
how they evolve in the right picture. (You also have to ask if it isnít starting
to look like someone other than Larry King. Look at the glasses - how they
change. What happens to the proportion of the different horizontal landmarks
(the middle of the eye line, the bottom of the nose line and the and the middle
of the mouth line) Can you isolate them even in a ĺ view? (Good work:-)
Lastly, look at the overall masses of the head and face: the far right
drawing the head is getting pretty inflated and the overall mass of the
nose and mouth keeps shrinking. Note also the angle of the lines
used to draw the forehead: do they suggest mass and a large underlying
bony mass? Ask yourself how that was accomplished with just a few lines.
Well thatís about it for today - I know how over long emails get tiring. Iíll try
to have a finished drawing of Larry next time but if not, the process of getting
there will be interesting. I hope.
A question for you:
(Give me your feedback: do you prefer a slam dunk likeness or is wrestling
through the process more beneficial to you?)
Take care, Spring is almost here! (Though Iím not really qualified to make
that statement since Iíve only been back in Minneapolis four weeks after 10
years in Los Angeles :-) ...and keep on drawing.
6920 Southdale Road
Minneapolis, MN 55435
"Once and for all getting you drawing faces and caricatures"