Saturday, March 8, 2008

A little bit of luck...

Caricature fascinates me and people who do it well (like John Kascht and Pete Emslie) have my admiration and bit of envy. Like everything in drawing there is bit of alchemy to it, but it's an alchemy I can't reliably crack. The only time I tend to get a likeness right is by one quick sketch or hours and hours of painstaking trial and error.

Here's a few of the quick and lucky ones I found in an old portfolio I used to use. These have to be at least twenty five years old.


John Candy (as "Johnny LaRue")

John Cleese (as "Basil Fawlty")

Prince

John Forstythe (in "DYNASTY")

I do think drawing caricatures can be good practice. Ward Kimball once demonstrated to a group of us that he used to draw caricatures taken from photos of un-famous citizens in his local San Gabriel newspaper. One tip he pointed out was that photographs of small groups of people lent themselves better than "single" shots, because in the groups you'd notice right away a range of contrast and differences.

19 comments:

Weirdo said...

Those are AWESOME!!! My favorite one is the John Candy caricature. You just captured him so perfectly. The lines just seem to flow into one another. Also, you were taught by THE Ward Kimball!? You are one lucky guy. Tell me, how would proceed to begin a caricature?

Will Finn said...

Thanks Weirdo

At some point Ward Kimball did teach (at Art Center?) but no, I was not a pupil of his. I got to meet him a number of times and had a long conversation with him once but the tips on caricature I refer to here were given during a group lecture he gave at Disney Feature Animation in the late 1980's.

Bruce said...

A brilliant man, Ward was. If I was born on an earlier date, it would have been wonderful to meet not only him, but the other men and women from the so called "Golden Age" of Animation.

Anyway, I also remembered the caricature of Gilbert Gottfried that you did, and making his not-to-noticeable big mouth larger than his whole body, is a nice touch.

It's beyond my knowledge that you still have it, but I know that doodle (along with others, and production art) is available to view on John Culhane's book Disney's Aladdin: The Making of an Animated Film.

Thanks for sharing these Will, and the valuable information from Kimball.

From an inspiring animator/ artist

Hey Bullblog said...

Hi Will.
These caricatures are amazing.Prince is so funny.I really like your drawings and i hope you post more like these ones.
When you worked in Aladdin,you met Hirschfeld?
Thanks.
Alex.

Mike Gillett said...

Will, your caricatures here - along with my recollections of your caricatures of yours truly and the old gang from AIP are, as most of your stuff, to be both coveted and lusted after. These wonderful sketches are more than the two or three-minute sketches done at company picnics, bar/bas mitzvahs and at theme parks. Those are only graphic likenesses. What you do is slice of personality and character. Not just a woolly mustache under a honker of a nose. Iago wasn't just a bird, it WAS Gottfried reincarnated as a parrot... Cogsworth wasn't a hoitey clock with a stuffy voice... it WAS Stiers as an enchanted timepiece.

NOW I've got to brave the cold and snow (Michigan winter!) and see if I can find your sketchbook and post your stuff on my blog!

Jeff Harter said...

These are great. Especially like the John Cleese with the beedy eyes and massive forehead.

Elliot Cowan said...

Elvis Costello famously called Prince "a dwarf dipped in pubic hair"...

chrisallison said...

Very poignant to what I'm doing right now, Will. Many thanks! I actually tried to do a caricature of John Candy and I simply failed. He's a really small face floating in a bit head, and I can't seem to peg it down. You did a nice job of getting a likeness and an essence. Your Basil Fawlty is AWESOME, and your Prince needed no caption. Dynasty is before my time tho.

You're totally right. There is somewhat of an alchemy to caricature, and I can't crack it either. I'm doomed to 50 drawings before I can even get a likeness, and then I have to worry about cramming the essence of the personality in, and it's a horrible mess. But I attribute it to practice and having good reference. If I keep plugging away at it, I hope it gets easier.

Also, for Weirdo and anybody interested, a MAD magazine artist posted a really interesting blog post on the subject of caricature HERE.

Mike Gillett said...

Will, I found your old sketchbook and have posted some of your stuff on my blog... check it out, sir.

Mike Gillett said...

Will... glad you enjoyed your sketches on my post!

Let me return the ol' sketchbook to you - consider it kept in my care for the last thirty years and now its coming home.

Besides, that way YOU can select which ones you'd rather have posted...

I gave away one of my sketchbooks from AiP and would love to have it back (gave it to a girl in attempt to woo and win her... it didn't work. I ended up with neither one). Let me know, 'kay?

Clio said...

Good caricature is so grabbing. I really like your John Candy and Prince... really catches their mojo, y'know? I like the many head shots idea, that's a great exercise. Now to draw!

Patrick said...

You rock Will.and this drawing of Cheney in your wonderful brush stroke style is fantastic.

PCUnfunny said...

Great charicature work Will. I miss John Candy. ;(

Mukpuddy said...

Wow, really dig your blog dude. There's some really inspirational stuff here!!

Manders said...

Hey, Will, I just took a look at your Fossil Fools cartoons--nice & loose. Even when they're at rest, your characters have action. What did you draw those with, conventional brush & ink, or a stylus? How many gazillion times did you draw those guys before you were able to create these images, with the characters looking like themselves in every panel, and make it all seem effortless?

Love & kisses, your old art school pal

Will Finn said...

Hey Mr. Manders--

the exact count is that I have drawn the fossil fools guys twenty two octillian (that's eight billion) times (and counting)... This is a little idea that my friend Mr. Santoro and I have been evolving for about three years now. It's still got a ways to go...

And for fans of outstanding contemporary children's book illustration--visit www.johnmanders.com and check out the wonderful world of JOHN MANDERS, the envy of Art Institute of Pittsburgh class of fall 1978....

Mike Gillett said...

I don't know, Will, the envy of JUST the fall '78 class?! Methinks Manders (and you of course) are two much and often envied AiP alums...

Wouter Tulp said...

Hi Will,

Great caricatures. I like your version of Prince and John Cleese.
Very inspirational!!!

chuck said...

hey Will,

love these drawings