Friday, August 3, 2012

Caricature 41/500: Coach Sun

Here is a fun little business card I made for my new partnership with fellow archer and Level 2 Instructor Steve Sun. It started as a joke but we may end up keeping a few elements in the final!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Caricature 40/500: Jed

As a continuation of my previous post... 

Here is my buddy Jed's caricature after digital coloring. Next will come his body in coveralls holding a pitchfork with a big ham on it and Jed's Meat Shack in the background.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Swamped: Works in progress

Wow, time flies when you get into other things and away from drawing. 

I have been working on about a half dozen websites lately and haven't had any time to work on caricatures. Luckily, one of the sites I am taking on is for a good buddy of mine and a caricature may be perfect for his logo.

Jed is a good ol' boy from Oklahoma. He is starting up a BBQ and smoked meat business and wants a logo and website. Jed's Meat Shack screams caricature, doesn't it?

I haven't worked out all the details but I sat and made a brief sketch of him last night. I will need to work up a farmer's body and some props as well as a "meat shack."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Few More Draw Somethings

I've had a busy week so haven't had a chance to work on drawing caricatures at all but I did squeeze in a few more Draw Somethings while watching television.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Flatt & Scruggs - The Reunion

As many of my constant readers may know (since you are most likely a family member), I play a little bluegrass banjo. Well, last week the world and the bluegrass community lost its biggest star, Earl Scruggs. 

It may be argued that nobody has ever redefined the sound of an instrument like Earl did with the banjo. Before Earl, the banjo was mostly frailed using a brush of the hand type clawhammer style in Old Time music which made it more of a rhythm instrument backing up the leads of the fiddle. When Earl put on a thumbpick, two finger picks and started his syncopated three-finger roll it changed everything. Sure other guys were experimenting with similar techniques but Earl brought it to Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys on the Grand Ole Opry in 1946 and turned bluegrass music on its ear. Earl Scruggs has been a major influence on just about everyone who has picked up a 5 string since.

Lester and Earl, together again.

My original Lester sketch.
My original Earl sketch.
He and his buddy Lester Flatt broke off from Bill Monroe's group a couple of years later and in 1948 started up The Foggy Mountain Boys. This is where bluegrass music had its golden age. It is amazing how many of the classic bluegrass banjo instrumentals out there are Earl's originals or at least his arrangements. He wasn't the most technical and didn't play the most difficult finger twisting arrangements imaginable but he was a MONSTER on tone, syncopation and what he called "playing the words". That was the beauty of Earl's playing, it was simple enough that you could figure out what he was doing and you could learn his techniques. Then again, playing the same notes as Earl is one thing... sounding like him is another.

Lester Flatt was a lead singer and rhythm guitar player. He became a bluegrass legend too. His unmistakable voice is rated among bluegrass' best ever and his famous Lester Flatt G- Run is the most used lick in bluegrass guitar. The Foggy Mountain Boys broke up in 1969 and Lester died 10 years later thus ending the possibility of a reunion concert... until now.

I had already started working on caricatures for Lester and Earl before hearing the news of Earl's passing. I was going to do a scene of them in front of the old Martha White Flour bus they used to tour around in or stand them onstage at Carnegie Hall or the Grand Ole Opry. I had rough sketches of their faces done on paper but hadn't scanned them in to the computer yet for inking or coloring. Then Earl died and I thought maybe I could do something different so got right to work on it.

This scene took an IMMENSE amount of time to complete. I'm sure any expert will find some accuracy flaws but I worked pretty closely from pictures of Lester's famous Martin D-28 with the extra large pickguard and Earl's Gibson. Their all-white outfits were typical of their style and fit the whole "heaven" theme. I spent a lot of time on the shading, clouds and pearly gates as well.

The original file is huge. At print quality (300dpi) it is 64 x 72" and almost 3 gigabytes. The faces are the same size I scanned them so are about the size of a sheet of paper. That means I can use the originals for almost any size print but it also takes my seven year old XP computer 10 minutes just to save the file. Everything is in Photoshop layers so I can move stuff around and erase different parts with the click of a button.

So, this is by far my most ambitious caricature to date. It was a good learning experience and hopefully I will be able to use some of the "parts" to make a few more Flatt & Scruggs caricatures "Down the road just a mile or two..."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Make your own caricature!

Every once in awhile I do a Google search on "caricature" to see if my little blog is creeping toward page 1. It never is. I usually give up after page 10 or 12 but it is on page 1of "caricatour" so I am eager to round up all of the bad spellers out there to pad my stats.

One neat thing I did find during my search this morning is a little website called digibody. This guy (or gal) has a little applet that allows you to choose a bunch of facial parts and make your own caricature. It is not extremely robust and there are no colors but you can certainly have some fun with it. I started out trying to make one of myself but it ended up looking like Tom Hanks. 

Head over to and give it a try!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Working on a big one...

I have a big caricature scene in the works but it will still be a few days so here are a few more of my Draw Somethings to tide you over...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just Draw Something

I don't know if I have been under a rock or something but I finally caught on to the new web app craze called Draw Something. It is basically a reincarnation of the old game Pictionary for your smart phone, tablet or iPad. The screens are small and using your big unwieldy finger to draw is far from ideal but it is great practice and a most excellent way to get creative. I saw one DS on the Draw Something Facebook page for the clue "APE" which was the final scene of POTA where Charleton Heston walks down the beach and sees the statue of Liberty half buried in the sand. Very clever!

Here are a few of the ones I have done recently. Unfortunately, I missed a few good ones as I didn't know how to do a screen capture until just yesterday. Get the app and have some fun Drawing Something!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Caricature 37/500: The Donald

Here is a guy I should have drawn a long time ago. Everyone does a caricature of Donald Trump. He's a walking caricature with his awesome hair and eyebrows, pursed lips and piercing scowls. Plus, we share a birthday so, along with Burle Ives and Boy George, we make quite a team of June 14th entertainers.

I decided to do this of course because the new season of Celebrity Apprentice has started. I never make it through a full season but I am always there for the premier to see who the next Gary Busey or Meatloaf trainwreck will be. This year I made it through two episodes. It doesn't seem like there are any so-called celebrities interesting enough to tune in for this year. I didn't know who most of this group was anyway. Oh well, I am sure he will have a new season with new celebrities I have never heard of in the fall and I will give it another few episodes.

So here he is, The Donald. Pencil sketched, scanned and digitally inked and colored.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Caricature 36/500: Ink Master

My wife hates tattoos. I have a small one from 25 years ago that I could take or leave. So go figure that when the new reality show Ink Master comes out challenging a dozen or so tattooists to compete for a $100,000 prize we are both completely enthralled with it.

Each week there is a new assignment which involves a bunch of random people showing up and drawing names out of a hat for a randomly themed tattoo by a random contestant. The contestants have 5-6 hours to permanently tattoo these folks with whatever pops into their heads for a grade at the end of the episode. The worst tattoo of the bunch gets the contestant sent home and leaves the "victim" with a lifelong story to tell about how they got the worst tattooist on a long forgotten reality tv show. I'd love to see the waiver forms for this production. The people showing up for their free tattoos, some of which quit halfway through from pain or ask for something so big it can only be half finished in the allotted time, are the most intriguing parts of the show. Some of the tattoos were awesome but some were terrible. If you happen to get stuck with the Tribal Tattoo expert when the assignment is Pinup Girl you are totally screwed... for life!

It is hosted by a couple of expert tattooists and the highly inked Dave Navarro, the guitarist from Jane's Addiction and host of a few other reality competition shows. I'm not sure what qualifies Dave to judge tattoos as his skin is covered with a lot of random bat wings and squigglies but he does a fair enough job of keeping the competition moving and firing people.

The Fair Xty, a "Housewifes of You Name It" expert, says her favorite part of the show is everyone's no-holds-barred brutal honesty. There are no innuendos on this program. If your tattoo sucks, the judges tell you it sucks, the other contestants tell you it sucks and they do everything they can to make you feel like crap for ruining that person's body. They also rake each other over for taking the easy way out or making bad decisions on color use or placement. It all becomes quite dramatic at times.

Anyway, Dave Navarro has a unique look with his long face, extreme eyebrows and makeup so I thought I would work up a full-body caricature of him. As always, I did the sketch in pencil and scanned it it to Photoshop for a digital inking and coloring. I am pretty pleased with the results. My life drawing class has definitely helped with body proportions.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Caricature 35/500: The Fair Xty

As some of you may know, my wife - the fair Christy - is a great cook and pastry chef.Yesterday she got a new toy in the mail... a chocolate tempering machine! Don't feel bad, I didn't know what that means either. I still don't although for the price it must be something spectacular. The short of it is that it makes the chocolate shiny when you melt it and pour it in a mold to make candy bars and such. Apparently this is very time consuming to do by hand and this machine makes it all automatic. All I know for sure is that the house smells delicious.

What's the point, you ask? Well she has worked up a bunch of custom gourmet candy bars magically titled things like the "Salty Dharma" and the "Don't Be Bitter, My Sweet". She is kicking around the idea of selling them to friends and family for Easter and asked me to make up an order form for her. I said I would do it if I could include a caricature of her on it.

So here you have it... My first full-body female caricature. I sketched in pencil as usual and then inked and colored her digitally with my Wacom tablet.

She says it looks just like her. If you know her you can be the judge. If you don't you'll just have to take her word for it. If you are interested in the wonderful confections she creates I invite you to wander over to Fudge Ripple Blog and have a look.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Comments are now fixed...

I haven't had a comment in over a month. I just figured nobody cared but today when the fair Xty tried to enter one she found herself at a dead end. Apparently, the comment box wasn't working correctly. She was able to enter a comment and choose an identity but there was no "submit" button. After some research I was able to change the comment menu to come up as a separate window which now, for some reason, luckily includes the submit button.

I therefore apologize to the thousands of fans who tried to leave me praise over the last month and were unable to complete their submissions. Hopefully the comment section for each page will now work flawlessly. Sorry about that!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Drawing Class Week 7: Uncle Bud

This week's homework assignment for life drawing class was to do a member of your family or friend in some pose other than simple portrait. I chose to draw my grandma's baby brother, Great Uncle Bud.

My grandmother was born in 1904 and died in 1955 so I never met her. Her little brother was born in 1922, just 6 years before my dad. My dad is long gone too but Uncle Bud is still around having just turned 89 at the end of last year.

Bud still lives on the family farm in the house where he was born . He is a widower but luckily has about a dozen children (now in their 50s and 60s) who own many of the surrounding farms and are able to keep and eye on him. He still has a few cows and rides tractors and ATVs around his 200 or so acres.

The picture I used for this drawing was taken at a family reunion about four years ago. We had been on the go all day long and he was just taking a moment to rest against the back of the rental car and think about the hundred or so descendants of his parents gathered around. He is the last of his siblings by over 20 years and the only one to see the family tree's last two generations.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Caricature 34/500: Baldwin

It has been a busy week of freelance work so I haven't had a chance to draw any caricatures at all for a few days. Plus, our homework for Life Drawing Class this week is a real challenge so I will be tied up with it for the next couple of evenings.

Here is one of Alec Baldwin that I sketched up on paper and then inked with a marker. I scanned it into Photoshop and did the coloring digitally with my Wacom tablet. I think it turned out pretty good. The Fair Xty knew who it was which is my main test. I am becoming more comfortable with the Wacom tablet and the coloring is coming more easily as well.

This is a short post but the caricature is a decent representation of the style I hope to eventually master. Somewhat cartoony, not too detailed but still bares a resemblance to the subject.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Life Drawing Class: Week 4

Just a few photos of my 20 minute sketches from class today and a couple of homework assignments. Last week was a holiday so there was no class and therefore we had a double homework assignment. 

The first was to draw a self portrait at 3/4 view. I did the nose too big but the teacher liked it. She actually asked me if she could keep it so I guess that is fair enough approval. I sketched it with pencil and then used pastels for the color. This one took me a couple of hours since I did it while the Fair Xty watched a movie in the other room.

The second homework assignment was a self portrait at front or 3/4 view including your hand. It took me awhile but I finally decided a way to use my hand that fits my specific style.

Here are some sketches from today's class. There were some hard poses today, particularly the "feet first" one. They are not great sketches but keep in mind we only get from 15 to 25 minutes to do the entire thing. Then she moves to a different pose and we start over. Only two more classes and next week's homework is to draw your friends or family in an interesting pose.