Thursday, December 31, 2009

Marlene Dietrich digital painting

Miss Dietrich's birthday was December 27th and this was done for the celebrity birthday thread on the ISCA forum.
And she's actually a pre-New Year's part of my new year's resolution (one of them, anyway) to do more digital work, daily. We'll see if I have time to do one today. This one took about an hour and a half in Photoshop, not counting the time it took me to remake all my customized PS brushes, and reset the buttons on my Wacom tablet to work with my new Macbook.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

RIP David Levine, Master Caricaturist

A giant in the caricature world passed on yesterday. David Levine, 83, of New York, who was well-known for his biting pen & ink versions of past and present politicians, the famous and (infamous) of the world, was a favorite artist of mine. Here is an example of one of his pieces:

"John Rennon's Excrusive Gloupie" by David Levine. Pen & ink, 1975

He was known for not only the incisive black and white technique he used, but for his witty observations on current events. Thus, this drawing of Yoko Ono looming large with a tiny John Lennon on a leash, evinced the then-current (and still held by some) view that Yoko was an oppressive force in her husband's life.

You can read more about David Levine and his work here.

The International Society of Caricature Artists had long wanted to have him as a guest speaker, but scheduling was a difficulty. I would have totally loved to meet him had that been possible. However, he won't be forgotten because his art influenced many, many people.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas-gift commissions

Here are some safe-to-show-now recent digital commissions I've done.

This one was a total joy to create, since I'm a long-time Beatles fanatic. The young man's aunt asked to have him playing the drums, with Ringo giving him the thumbs-up, and Paul, George and John playing and singing, circa 1969. The only reference photo the client needed to give me was her nephew, I pulled the rest together from the vast amount of Beatles stuff I either own or found on the internet.
(I almost didn't need references anyway, since I know the Fab Four's faces so well!)

A teenage super-couple! This one was done both as a couple and as solo versions.

Another musically-themed caricature.

This client asked me to keep it on the dignified side, even though it's a clown...his sister collects clowns and he wanted this posthumous portrait of their father rendered that way. He was very happy with the result! I did this from a normal snapshot of the man, the clown makeup was totally of my own design. I also decided not to give him a big wig, as the shape of his own hair was so interesting. I just changed the color!

Under my tree, Santa left me...

....a MacBook Pro!
Now I have a real artist's computer. Hello Mac creativity and ingenuity! My digital caricaturing will now be done on this laptop, still with my trusty Photoshop and Wacom Intuos, but with a new lease on digital life!

Christmas Eve gig...

On Christmas Eve, I nipped out for a little while and did a short gig close to home, so I was still able to spend most of the evening with my own loved ones. The event was a small family Christmas party, where I did full-color, full-body-with-theme caricatures. The host asked me to draw him as a runner, and to incorporate his favorite spirit, Patron---I think I did a pretty good job, as it got the biggest guffaws of the night! :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays to everyone...

...from myself and John. Here we're surrounded by my collection of treasured childhood Christmas decorations from the 1960's (including a pair of wooden elves, made by my late dad from a pattern).
It's been another wonderful year of caricature camradery. Thank you for giving me the joy of drawing so many of your fabulous faces!
I wish you best wishes on whichever special day you celebrate, and a wonderful new year filled with happiness!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday's Holiday Party #2

After my first party of the day, in DC, I left only to find a massive gridlock of traffic stretching from Washington itself up to above Baltimore. I had a four-hour window to get to my next event, a holiday party near Philadelphia, of some very special people that I do every year. Mapquest had indicated that I needed 2 3/4 hours to make the trip, but it didn't reckon on a MAJOR snowstorm threatening the region! I think almost the entire population of the Mid-Atlantic states was either out Christmas shopping (since they knew today would be a no-go) or desperately stocking up on milk and bread, thus clogging the highways.
As my arrival time got later and later, according to my GPS, I got more and more worried that I wouldn't make it on time-- so I made some frantic calls...
and it was caricaturist-colleague John Sprague to the rescue!
Amazingly, he happened to be visiting family right in the area where my gig was, and agreed to pop over and draw until I got there. I ended up arriving an hour late, but thanks to John and my benevolent client, all was well! I took over and drew my little hand off for the next two hours, while John went off to enjoy his evening. Thanks to you both!

Below are some of my drawings-- I can't believe I was still warmed up from the previous party! :-)

Thanks again to John...and my client John.. Plus the magician there--just visible in the first photo-- was John (Cassidy) too!

Friday's Holiday Party #1

On Friday, I spent a cheery afternoon drawing the close-knit employees of a company in Washington, DC. A little far from home, but it's always fun to see new places and people!

While I drew, the people sat around a boardroom table doing fun activities, like trying to identify each other's baby pictures, and doing a trivia quiz about each person. I was amazed that most of the co-workers knew things like:
Who played Captain Hook in her 8th grade school play?
Whose great-grandmother babysat Albert Einstein while he was a child in Germany?
They also had a secret Santa gift exchange, and enjoyed a nice meal and even some bubbly. My color caricatures were quite the surprise, and were hung on the wall for all to see...

I liked her hat--it also said "naughty"!

This was across the street from the parking garage I used!!

Thanks for having me as part of a very warm, unique celebration! :-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

14th school!

Yesterday afternoon, I drew for some very special kids. When I say they are special, it's not because they have special needs...they do. It's because they are so out-of-the-ordinary in making the rest of us realize how precious all of life is--to stop and smell the roses---and appreciate them!
Every kid I drew was visibly thrilled when I showed them their drawing, which made ME feel so good--that such a little thing made them SO happy. Even the ones who weren't verbal had the biggest smiles, and their eyes just lit up.
As it was a small class, all the kids gathered round on their chairs to watch what I was doing. Even the art teacher stopped by to see! The classroom teacher hung them all on the wall and told the kids they would get to wrap and take them home to give to their parents as holiday gifts, thanks to Anthony's mom, who'd actually also hired me some years back for a previous party. I suggested to the teacher that she make some copies to let the kids color, not only of themselves, but of all their classmates...

I was the one who was lucky to be there yesterday. :-) Thank you, Colleen!

Here is the birthday boy and his younger brother:

Below is a shot of the completed drawings. I enlarged one of them to show you the absolute joy the kids had, which is an inspiration!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12th Birthday party

When a birthday falls during holiday season, it's important to not let it get lost in the hustle and bustle of everything! This family gave their son a very nice party for his 12th, which included my caricatures. I got to chatting with all the kids and so got only these two photos, but one was of the birthday boy! He likes the Pittsburgh Penguins, so we went with their colors for the background in all his friends' drawings.

Santa gets around!

Yesterday my path crossed Santa's again, as I drew caricatures at an annual children's Christmas party that I have done for many years...

It's held in an enormous hall; there were four artists kept busy the entire time!

Below is a view of our enormous line...

Colleagues Joe White, Angie Jordan and Colin Harris were engrossed in their sitter's faces...

Colin and I snapped a photo before we left, in front of the building. Can't believe Christmas will be here before we know it!

Corporate gift caricatures

A caricature can be the perfect gift!!! :-)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa (and the spirit of Christmas) arrived at this party!

On Sunday afternoon, I worked with my friend Marlo at the one of the most memorable, wonderful corporate Christmas parties ever. This company's owner truly loves Christmas, and giving back to his employees and their families. Enjoy these photos! The entrance to their corporate headquarters was transformed from a drab industrial park exterior to a Christmas wonderland, with caroling voices wafting out..
"Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Come this way!"
The inside was tranformed as well--everything looked magical. Can you imagine being a little kid and seeing this? We were treated to live music of the season... Every child had a gingerbread house waiting to be decorated... And Santa himself heard from all the children and gave them a gift to tide them over til Christmas Day. Marlo and I were set up near the giant Christmas tree and creche...and we both got to draw elves! Last but not least, here are a few of my caricatures! At this party, many of the drawings are 0f families, so I drew many triples and even some quadruples. Here's a little video clip: hope you gets you in the Christmas mood! :-)

Corporate holiday party...

...held at a country club on a snowy night!

It was all couples, all night, which is even more fun when it's open bar. All the reluctant ladies sat for a caricature after a cocktail or two! ;-)