Over and Over Again

I’d hardly call myself disciplined, mostly I learn out of self-defense. In this case, it is caricature I’m working on learning. Here is how it all started.

I was sketching at a nature center. A ranger with a hawk was walking around and I decided to give them a try. Up until now, all of my sketching in public had been pretty much ignored by passersby. Not this time. This time the ranger sees me sketching, moves into my line of sight and poses! Oh the pressure.

It went okay, though, not bad. I got the hawk. I did a good facsimile of a ranger vest. And then panic set in. I had never done a face. I had no idea how to approach the face. It was too much. I knew it was too much, but I couldn’t give up and have a faceless ranger holding a hawk.

This is how Bear Face was born and, I suspect, the beginning of my quest to learn faces.Bearface

It wouldn’t be until nine months later that I felt sufficiently recovered from that trauma to  approach the human form again. I came in from the angle of how expressive cartoon sketching and animation was – how the sketches could catch the essence of form, without being portrait-like. Which led to my reading caricature books, especially Tom Richmond’s The Mad Art of Caricature, which led to me deciding to take on the task of not giving up on faces until I had done 500 caricatures. Thanks for the suggestion, Tom.

I’ve done 182/500. Here are the last three I’ve drawn. I admit, Bear Face still rears his ugly head from time to time, but I do see improvement. Today, it took me three tries at Paul McCartney. Transcendence didn’t happen, still, I could see I was getting better.


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