As my regular reader(s) knows, I have of late been using caricature as a starting point for my pop-culture paintings rather than regular portraits. And I’m having a lot of fun with it, but I’m certainly not the greatest caricaturist in the world. I mean there are amazing ones out there. But, as I’ve written before, I do think I have a bit of a knack for it. Since I’ve never really practiced it a lot, there is definitely room for improvement. But there is one thing that drives me nuts about it. Sometimes it’s really easy to capture the ‘essence’ of a person’s face, and sometimes it’s almost bloody impossible! It seems if I don’t get it right away—and I mean right away, in no more than three minutes—it will take me what seems like forever! And then I’ll probably never be quite happy with it. And there often doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for it. Some faces seem so caricaturable that it doesn’t seem possible it will be difficult and others seem like they should be hard to get, but it turns out they’re not.
Case in point, I did a painting a couple of weeks ago of Alex from A Clockwork Orange. There are iconic shots of this character that just had to be relatively easy to capture in caricature form. But damn, it was hard. And a little frustrating! I was not happy with any of my caricatures, to be honest. But I played with one of them to make it into one of my psychological cubist paintings and was pretty convinced that it would make a good painting. And I’m rather happy with the final result. Here is the caricature and the painting for side-by-side comparison.
Last week I decided it was time to do a painting of a Star Wars character that I’ve been thinking I should do for a while. Lando Calrissian, as played by Billy Dee Williams. “Billy Dee Williams has a lot of character in his face, so this should be pretty easy,” thought I. But damn, it was really hard again. I spent quite a bit of time frustrated and decided to look online for other artists takes on Lando/Billy Dee caricatures. I’ve been doing this for most of my caricatures, but normally after I’ve finished mine. I’m always curious to see what features other artists decide to exaggerate in order to capture a likeness and really bring out a person’s character.
Anyway, I played with it and played with it, sometimes being convinced that I had it, and then showing it to my wife only to hear something to the effect of “I don’t see it.” Here is the final one I used for the painting, which I’ll post to Instagram tomorrow. I wasn’t convinced that it was working, but my wife insisted this was the one! So a little frustrated I proceeded with the painting. And in the end I’m fairly certain that it looks like Lando and I think it’s a pretty good painting! Anyway, check out my ‘gram tomorrow! See you next week!