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I'll help you and you can help me...!

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I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Tue 24 Aug - 16:55

Afternoon !
Here's a few bits and bobs of my stuff- the website's undergoing a traumatic overhaul at the moment but the gallery's working !
www.russcartoons.com

I mainly do live work now, but it's always nice to spend time at the Mac and try to make pretty things !

Feel free to comment/criticise and if anyone wants some help, just let me know !
I've only just discovered this forum, so thanks to Leah for providing it !



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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by cartunes-r-us on Tue 24 Aug - 21:24

TRULY great caricatures, Russ. Also, nice line in work [live events] you have mustered up for yourself, there!

Welcome to the forum.
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Tue 24 Aug - 21:51

Thank you ! I blush ! Very Happy

And yep- the live stuff is a fairly new thing for me ( I used to do the odd wedding and private party ) but now I seem to be picking up more corporate work...which I think is so much fun !

I was worried I'd become permanently hunchbacked and socially inept if I stayed at home working all the time, so this is a real tonic.....meeting loads of people, showing off, traveling all over the place, becoming a dab hand at finding the most banal and cheap hotel rooms and the pays not bad.

Had worse times.

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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Kathy on Tue 24 Aug - 22:28

Great work! What tools do you use?
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Tue 24 Aug - 23:15

And for those who want to know what's involved in doing a live gig for a corporate client....( with apologies to those out there who know more than I do !). Here's how I did it....

First-you gotta be good. But then that's what we're all aiming to be isn't it ?
And you gotta be quick. No-one's going to sit around for half an hour waiting for you to produce your masterpiece. Don't hate them for this-they just don't appreciate how difficult this job is.
Brain surgery is merely clumsy swordplay compared to each soul-breakingly deft stroke of the caricaturists pen.

And practice is the only way, sadly.

I've looked far and wide for a quick and easy way of learning how to caricature ( and I'm a MASTER of the skiving arts-just ask my last boss...) but there isn't one.
Try every trick you can...draw celebs from magazines, sketch unsuspecting family members in the living room (or on the toilet if you've had the foresight to drill a hole in the door) or draw passers by while drinking coffee at a high street coffee house ( if you can afford it ). Medical facial anatomy books can be useful if you want to know how it all connects together ( and pass yourself off as a med student to impress the girl or boy who serves you the coffee at Starbucks....) and look on the Interweb for different styles and other disgustingly talented caricaturists and cartoonists. Manga is a particularly nice style to learn from.

So...you've practiced and practiced 'til your hand is permanently locked in a rictus claw shape...Both you and ( more importantly) the people who've seen your work think it's good enough to sell....now for a road test.

Find a gig. Anything will do. ( I started doing school fete's....no money and frankly, if you can caricature squirming kids while trying to entertain them with verbal repartee and blanking out the appalled look of vengeful onlooking parents, you can caricature anywhere...)

Once you've done the gig, analyse it. Pull it to bits. What worked ? What didn't ?
WHY couldn't I get a decent likeness of little Dennis ? Was I too kind to his squint and oddly missing eyebrows ? Why didn't I draw as well as I did in practice ? Etc, etc, etc....you gotta be tough on yourself.

But equally, be kind to yourself ! Well done ! Most artists are shy, retiring, squirrel like creatures who would gladly leap, Life on Mars gleefully off the nearest building than do what you've just done.
And that's where it gets interesting...there are very very few people doing this professionally...it's a real niche....and niches, girls and boys, means cash.

After a few practice runs, you've perfected your style. You know which pens work best ( and you really shouldn't use charcoal, pencils, chalk, or your own blood...it's messy...it's unprofessional...and it's slow. Unless of course you sever an artery, in which case you'll have to be extraordinarily good at aiming the rhythmic squirting.)
I use two types of pens. Bevel point tip ( for outlines and filling ) and a slightly smaller bullet point tip ( for the more delicate facial features ). There's no point in buying the best pens either- you'll go through so many of them, you'll run out of ink long before the tips start deteriorating.

Next...trawl the Interweb and try to persuade an entertainment agency to give you work. You know the kind of agent...they usually supply magicians and bands and balloon twisters.
It's a great time to be a caricaturist, 'cos you don't have to tell these people how good you are... you've had the foresight to video one of your gigs and stick it on YouTube....you can SHOW them.

And then, I'm afraid, it's a case of persistence and building a good reputation.
Be easy and good to work with...be adaptable and compliant to your clients needs.

For example, I'm soon going to travel north for a two day gig for Renault.
They're promoting a new range of Megane's. I'll draw a cartoon of a Megane soon ( once I've found out what they actually look like....) reduce it and add the company's logo get myself down Staples and get a couple of hundred copies to take with me.

The caricatures I'll do on the day will be of people laying a loving hand on the bonnet of the car already printed on the page ( yep- smaller caricature per page means I can cover more people. People happy, Renault happy, Me happy)

And depending on the client, you can expect to earn £300 to £600 for 4 to 6 hours work.

And it's the cash that stops me waking up screaming every night at the failure to capture a good caricature of little Dennis.

Best of British and please- let me know if you can add to this rambling post !
;-D

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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Simon Lake on Wed 25 Aug - 11:39

Not a lot I can really say to that but thanks Russ. You might like to take a look at http://www.emilyarts.com/ She is actually on this Forum although she hasn't said anything yet. But as far as I'm concerned she is the best in the field without a doubt.
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by cartunes-r-us on Wed 25 Aug - 13:02

That was a brilliant, in-depth post, Russ. I can do the odd political caricature, but to draw total strangers [and to give them a good likeness] is a rare gift that takes immense skill and courage.

I sometimes feel that practising caricatures but the rest of the face is unusable. it's a case of putting together the right elements properly, I reckon.
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Kathy on Wed 25 Aug - 16:32

Wow, that was not only informative, but funny too! I do tend to be squirrel-like...you're right LOL!

So how do you get a good characture without people being mad about their accentuated flaws? I had one done once and was mortified. Yes, it was good work, but embarassing.
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Wed 25 Aug - 18:26

Hello again.
Thanks for the positive replies !

To take your points...

Simon- I agree-Emily is wonderful ! Kinda blows my theory of needing to be ultra-fast to succeed in live work doesn't she ? Lol ! We all find our own niche within the niche, it seems ! ( Still reckon I'm better though...;-)

Carunes-r-us- I've never subscribed to the idea of anyone being "gifted". I reckon it's a case of finding something you find enjoyable and challenging ( whatever the pursuit may be ) and just becoming immersed in it. You naturally become better and better ! It may be that you can become a perfectly good caricaturist, but you excel in,say, producing spot gags. (Something I've struggled with !)

Eileendover- Thanks ! I shall always imagine you chewing a nut as you draw, now ! There's two ways to look at what you mention though....First, you can be kind to your victims. You'll stray into portrait territory though. Nothing wrong with that ( every hand-crafted face drawing or painting is a caricature to some extent ) but I'm of the mind that, frankly, if you are willing to have a caricature done, you've got to expect your ego to take a quick slap. That's half the fun ! I've seen some caricaturists that take things to extreme levels, and while I personally find them brilliant, you can see the utter horror in the victims and the surrounding crowds' faces. Sometimes you can go too far. The trick is to judge your victim and talk to the crowd. I usually find I get followed around by a gaggle of kids ( my entourage ) and I use them. " What shall we do to this one then ?", I say. "Big ears !", they shout back. If the victim is doing the "jokey-smiley-oh-no-not-my-ears" act, you know you can go to town on the ears.



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Post by Kathy on Wed 25 Aug - 19:07

Good points, all of them. I've heard before that talent is really just lots of practice. I read somewhere that anyone who is a master at anything, be it drawing,violin, or whatever, they've probably put in 10,000 hours of practice. I like that thought because it helps me focus on the things I really want to do. I ask myself if I'm interested enough to put in 10,000 hours to become good at it. If the answer is no, then I know it's really just a passing interest.

I'm gonna go find some nuts now...!
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Wed 25 Aug - 19:54

Exactly my thoughts !
Enjoy the nuts and don't forget to clean up the crumbs.

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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Emartiste on Wed 25 Aug - 21:31

Hello all! Simon alerted me to this thread and I thank him and Russcartoons for their compliments.(I'm blushing!) I don't have much to add to Russcartoon's long post except to say I agree with him wholeheartedly. It's pencil mileage (practice) and observational skills (seeing) that make a good caricaturist. No one springs from the womb being able to do this at a master level, although some may have faster learning curves than others.

As for it being a niche, very true. I think my particular niche is appealing, very specific likenesses with a fun flair. I've worked with others who specialize in outlandish, crazy colorful, etc and they all have their audiences. If you're good and have a passion for it, the work will come. I started off doing it for free in my kids' schools as well.

And as for subjects who are squeamish about caricature, you can never please 100% of the people 100% of the time. Even milder styles get rejected from time to time. It all depends on whether the subject has a sense of humor about their appearance. I have some brutal ones of me done by friends, and they are the ones I prefer-- because they are exaggerated and kept the likeness.

Emily Anthony
www.emilyarts.com
www.emilyanthony.blogspot.com

I'll try to post here more often! Great forum, Simon!

PS As for speed, I spend 5 minutes or less per face in BW...which is impressive enough to guests, and is as fast as I want to go because I love shading as much as drawing.
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Wed 25 Aug - 21:56

Credit where it's due Emily ! I've had a chance to look through your site- fab work !
And I agree with the 5 minute ethos. Any longer and you'll lose the interest of the audience ( we're dealing with not only the attention spans of the MTV generation, but God help us all, the Nintendo generation aswell...) but more importantly, you can seriously compromise the number of people you can cover at a given event if you slow down.

I must say at this point, that I LOVED the idea of doing a small group of friends as you did for that birthday dinner, Emily. That must have been a wonderfully "close" experience where you could spend a bit more time and incorporate more of the individuals characters into the caricature.
I'll try and do one of those !

Can I ask a question ?
When you get someone in front of you...what do you look for first ?
Where do you start ?

I used to look at the eyes first ( I believed that if you get the eyes right, the rest will follow- kinda like drawing outwards from a middle point on the page )

But I found that as I got more confident and proficient, I kinda "snapshot" the victims face and have a good idea of the image I want to draw already in my head...and find that now I tend to think firstly of the shape of the head,jaw, hair etc and how that fits on the page, and then the eyes come into play once the shape of the face is established.

Still vitally important to get the eyes right of course, but I find this method suits me better as I don't run out of paper at the top of the page if I've got a particularly outlandish hairstyle to portray, for instance.

C'mon Emily, what works for you ???
;-)

Russ
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Simon Lake on Wed 25 Aug - 22:19

I'd just like to stick my oar in the water here and say that I think body language plays an important role. Here's my Mandela....

This was another thread I initiated a while back as well....
http://www.cartoonist-forum.com/how-to-draw-caricatures-f26/caricatures-a-career-t153.htm?highlight=caricatures
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Emartiste on Thu 26 Aug - 1:12

Simon: that's absolute blasphemy to mention my name in the same breath as Kruger... affraid

Russcartoons: I've always started with the nose and worked out from that. The upside-down triangle formed by the eyes nose and mouth seems, to me anyway, to be to be of vital importance and determines which half of the skull, upper or lower, gets more prominence. But I never think this stuff while I'm drawing...it's all non-verbal. Yes the eyes are very important but their relationship to everything else is just as important... Many live caricaturists use the outside-in method that you speak of and I think that would trap me...and yes, I do run out of room sometimes. The key is to be aware of what you have to fit before you start. That's my two cents!! Smile
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Simon Lake on Thu 26 Aug - 1:25

Emartiste wrote:
That's my two cents!! Smile
Makes sense. A few dollars as well I suspect. Thanks again Em.
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Thu 26 Aug - 9:13

Simon- you're right-body language is incredibly important ! I'm always surprised when I'm asked to draw someone with their eyes deliberately crossed, or with a finger up their nose.....but you can tell from the reaction that you get that whatever the action is they want portrayed, absolutely NAILS the person they want caricatured.

Emily-thank you for the insight ! It's nice to know that I've found a not tooo dissimilar approach ! And it's always nice to be able to talk about the way the caricatures appear on the page with someone else who does the same thing.

My kids love to practice drawing and they love to colour in drawings I do for them but as soon as I ramble on about "look at how long his face is compared to his forehead" they blank out and think about how to screw more sweets money out of me....

And did someone mention Kruger ?
Hallowed be thy name...
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by LeahG on Tue 31 Aug - 20:25

ello ello ello!

It all happens when I'm on holiday doesn't it? Very Happy

Welcome to the forum Russ and Emily, great informative tips here re drawing caricatures.

Maybe we should all have a go at drawing one particular celeb (or one of us) and then compare styles and what not for fun and for those of us unfamiliar with caricatures...as a learning aid.

what do we think peeps?

Leah
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Tue 31 Aug - 21:17

Thanks Leah- hope you enjoyed the hols !

And the caricature thing sounds like a lovely plan.
Great way to learn from each other I reckon !

As the Holy Administrator, Lord Protector of the Forum and Anointer of the Chosen Celeb, it falls to you to choose our victim...
;-)

Russ



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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by inkthomson on Tue 31 Aug - 21:48

Wow, great work man! Love the talent!

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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Tue 31 Aug - 22:37

Thank you !

You joining in this caricature experiment ?
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by inkthomson on Tue 31 Aug - 22:47

Never tried the caricature thing, but always wanted to. This is a perfect excuse.

I do a single panel thing. I have some on here, but you can check out more on the Facebook Fansite at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ink-cartoons/135884756427766?ref=sgm#!/pages/Ink-cartoons/135884756427766?ref=sgm
I'd like it if you joined up, too. But at least sneak by and have a look. I promise you a chuckle...

Again, wow.

-Tim
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by RussCartoons on Tue 31 Aug - 23:01

Wow yourself !
Very nice work my friend !

Yep- I did chuckle ! Nice line in humour ( can't believe I've not seen the "suicide note " gag before ! ), elegant line work and subdued colours.

Good stuff !
You should try the greeting card market !

Russ
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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by inkthomson on Tue 31 Aug - 23:04

That's an interresting idea.... and one I haven't thought of. Thanks Russ, I'll do a little digging. Did you become a fan?

Tim

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Re: I'll help you and you can help me...!

Post by Simon Lake on Wed 1 Sep - 8:53

Right, where shall we start?
http://www.forbes.com/2006/06/12/06celebrities_money-power-celebrities-list_land.html
Tom Cruise could actually be good.
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