Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Caricaturama Showdown 300" FB competition

Just for fun, I decided to try a new weekly caricature competition on Facebook:

Everyone is drawing Mexican-American actor Danny Trejo. The winner gets to decide the following week's subject. There are some amazing entries...This is a digital pen & ink done intermittently while watching Lar's Ustream broadcast last night (during which I picked up some great Photoshop tips!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Friday night guilty pleasure...

...not really! There's no guilt involved, just pleasure. My friend Lar de Souza has been broadcasting on Ustream, on Friday nights, for quite some time now. If I'm home, I like to watch and listen as he invites all his internet friends into his suburban Toronto studio-- for a peek at his working methods...and his cats, his hats, and whatever else strikes his fancy.

As Lar draws, I usually have Photoshop open too, so I can try out things as he does them. This particular evening, I've been sketching Danny Trejo for an online caricature competition on Facebook. I could not resist doing a screen shot as dear Lar donned his 'Tim the Enchanter' hat...
By the way, Lar's bodacious beard has its own FB page too. :-)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Iphone after-prom

This morning, I managed to draw at my third after-prom in as many days (a record for me) and its theme was IPHONE!
Check out the entrance:

In walking through to the cafeteria where the caricatures would happen, I passed a transformed gym: (with my beloved, ubiquitous Beatles :-)

and a Facebook room:

and even a bubble-wrap room: (hey, it's an Iphone app!)

Had some enthusiastic sitters:

and one tongue-sticker-outer (above).
Below, behold the reaction of the first couple: :-D

I worked with a new (to me, anyway) face, Nelson, and we represented Gene Mater's Caricatures Live! He was able to be hilariously talkative to the sitters; I was to the point where late-night caricaturing was making me verbally nonsensical. I'll have to do a blog post on that phenomenon sometime...

Finally, I did my part to join in with the theme: (thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Miss Celestia)

Glad I still had white fabric paint!
Okay, no more late-nights for awhile. Hope my internal time-clock resets itself pronto...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another tenth year at this one!

Last night---haha, no, make that this morning, I drew high school seniors celebrating their afterprom-- "down the shore".

I worked alongside the insane artistic antics of colleague John Sprague...

We were situated at the end of a hall in the "boardwalk" area so that there'd be room for our inevitable huge line. An awesome sign (made me squeal) was provided for us:

"CHARICATURE" strikes again!!!!! :-D :-D :-D

Here are a few of my subjects:

Close quarters meant it was easy for me to photograph John's crazy creative crafting (I'm alliterating as hard as I can for ya, John) so here is one of his spot-colored scream-inducing caricatures. :-)

One more post-prom for me to get through tonight. I have two cans of Red Bull left!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Post-prom--tough crowd!

Did another post-prom last night---and it was one of those ones where there was a definite split between caricature fans and non-caricature fans...
I'll explain. When I draw couples all night, sometimes the vibe is that ONE half of the couple really wants a caricature. The other half could care less, and is just sitting for their partner. Sometimes the outcome is that my drawing will sway the reluctant sitter, and they'll laugh and like it. Last night, I misjudged on a few occasions...

I thought these girls (above) would both like it. You can see one did... and one did not.
The girl below micro-managed the whole drawing process: "Make me pretty!" "Don't mess me up!" "You're not makin' me ugly, are you??" These are usually warning signs that the person WON'T 'get it':

...but surprisingly, (especially to me) she loved it!

However, the best story of my mixed signals last night came from the couple I DIDN'T get a photo of...I drew what I thought was a very cute version of a couple whose female half had a rather elaborate hair-do. When I showed them the drawing, he laughed and up and stormed off!!!! Later, she came back behind me while I was drawing and said, "Why didn't you draw me like HIM??" motioning to my colleague (and friend) Colin Harris, who was working alongside me. I said, "Uhhh, because I'm not him??" ;-D
She dragged her boyfriend into Colin's line and sat for him, after showing him how NOT to draw her (my caricature). Colin told me later he overheard her saying that she'd ripped up her half of my drawing (her BF wanted his) and thrown it in the trash!!! ( Couldn't find it---and I did look!) And to think that this was one I'd considered one of my best efforts that night. Oh well, maybe I'll take some psychology courses...

Before the festivities got under way (the prom-goers' bus was actually a bit late) we drew some of the people on hand.
I drew two friendly cops:

Drawing on left-no flash, drawing on right, flash. Interesting how it affects the photo's colors.
Below, a view of the gym, myself, Colin and another artist with whom we've never worked with before. We told him all about the ISCA convention and told him to check out the website. :-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Plagiarism, copyright infringement, and the occasional downside of caricaturing...

Someone stole my artwork.
That someone "followed" my blog, "liked" my Facebook caricature page, and was supposedly a 'fellow artist'. Not that I know this person... I don't. But because our caricature community is small, and close-knit, I found out about a website/blog/FB page that had many examples of stolen caricatures---traced and re-done, or a different face substituted on another artist's work, or like mine, simply worked over with some heavy-handed rendering.
Specifically, the theft was of my two-year-old caricature of Kerri Walsh and Misty May, current beach volleyball Olympic champions. The 'artist' managed to especially ruin Misty's likeness and even added sunglasses, which makes no sense since they won their gold medal in a monsoon, as I depicted...Click here to see my original blog post about them and their caricature.

What's really sad is that this unscrupulous person plastered copyright notices, "all rights reserved", his own website and his own SIGNATURE on others' work. Certainly, he didn't think he would get caught. But the internet is a pretty exposed place nowadays, and many of the violated artists are making this public on their own pulpits. That has to be done to discourage other would-be hacks from doing the same thing, which is why I'm writing this post. I smudged his offending website and name above, but it's obviously a copy of my work. And it's just as obvious that this person had NO right to be selling prints of my caricature, which was clearly marked with my website address and signature. That's not even touching the issue of Kerri and Misty's right to profit from their likenesses (which is why I do not sell prints of any celebrities I draw.)

The downside to a caricature blog is that to put anything creative on the internet carries risk. The average person doesn't understand copyright issues, but this 'artist' did. If one is going to ever copy another's work, it would be for learning purposes only, never to sell or to mislead clients into believing that's what one is capable of.
Hopefully, this person learns from this, aside from the cyber-punishment he's bound to reap. He's already removed many of the offending images from his website due to caricaturist outcry, but because the internet is a permanent public arena, he will have to live with the exposure his actions have led to. The last irony is that on his "about the artist" page, he proclaims himself to be a church-going Christian--and his signature includes a cross.

UPDATE 5-22-10. Due to the cyber-efforts of artists whose work was stolen and others who supported them, this fraudster's website has been decimated--he's had to remove the majority of "his" images. Both his personal and caricature-fan-page FB pages have been deleted. He also sent me an "apology" email , where he stated:
In the Misty May and Kerry Walsh drawing I have made several changes to the drawing, color of suits, sunglasses , etc. It was my understanding that you can use another artists image as long as there are significant changes..
However, I am apparently misunderstanding copyright law.. We all borrow ideas from each other but I obviously crossed a line and I want to apologize. I have never sold any prints of this drawing. After evaluating it closer I can see how it is too close to your original. I have removed the drawing. Please accept this letter of apology.

This doesn't fly with me (he knew enough to seemingly twist the "significant changes" aspect of copyright law in his favor and hoped to get away with outright theft) but I don't plan to pursue this any further, after the two polite but assertive emails I sent to him. The best part of this has been the collective working-together of caricature artists ( and others) across the internet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Open house amid the open stud walls

Last night I drew prospective students at a vo-tech school's open house...and they put me in my own little unfinished room!!

It was the training area for carpenters and electricians, and it was exactly the right size for me, my easel and two chairs; the open-stud walls let everyone see in. I reiterate, I never know where I am going to end up drawing! :-)

Final Frontier

No, it's not Star's finals week at a local university. My caricatures were part of a stress-buster event held there yesterday.

These two (above) sat down and told me I'd better make it good---they'd been caricatured last week at another event and that one was CRAZY good---so I asked, did the artist have longish hair and sing at all? Their jaws dropped and they roared 'YES'! I chuckled, that's my friend Pat up to his old tricks :-)

Took this pic of my last subject admiring her caricature as I started to pack up. I actually had another school event to head to on a Tuesday!?! Double gig days are pretty rare for a weekday, let alone for the same agent:, whom I have represented for quite a few years now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday afternoon children's party...

...held in a restored barn on an 1867 estate. I love how I never know where I'll end up drawing!

And it was a picture-perfect late spring day.

A few of the party-goers...

...and a few of the party-givers.
I actually needed some Red Bull to get through the afternoon, since I was up all last night-- drawing til the dawn's early light!!!

'Around the world' after-prom

After my Saturday afternoon gig, I went home and napped (tried to, anyway) for a few hours before heading to another high school after-prom. This one started off with an airplane entrance, airport ticket counters in the lobby, and foreign destinations everywhere within...

This school had the best decorated location for the soft pretzels that are so popular nowadays at events:

The Irish section was festooned with green:

But it was the English section that had me smiling:

because the Beatles have been my musical idols since I was 13...
My beloved Pythons were also represented:

"Go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!"

Look, Mandy made it onto the double-decker bus with some very prominent Brits!

Oh yeah, I did draw dozens of caricatures, along with my colleague Julie, whom I haven't seen since my Philly ballpark days. We were also very lucky to have the services of two moms, who bagged our caricatures, tended our line and fetched us Rita's Water Ice! (Thank you, ladies!)
We drew a lot of kids:

And to top it all off, we were treated to live music, and not just ANY music, Beatles music, and several songs!! This was a group of high school students!! They also played some Cars music, so I was happy...

I would have video'd more, but I was simultaneously trying to draw with my other hand--and at that hour, not enough brain cells were functioning to do both :-D

One other thing that this school does, which is very cool, is a Community Run-Through preceding the after-prom. Anyone from the school district can come in to see the decorations and leave notes or gifts for the graduating seniors. That's really a nice way to share with everyone in their area. Kudos to another fantastic after-prom committee!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Day in Paris

On Saturday afternoon, I donned my beret and striped shirt to join some senior citizens for a luncheon a la francaise. I don't think I've ever drawn to Edith Piaf or the Marseillaise before! :-)
These seniors were quite a happy group!

The menu and all the room signs were written in French. The two lovely young ladies below helped serve, and one of them even sang a song in French...they were my last sitters.

I told them that now that I was done drawing senior citizens for the day, that later tonght I'd be drawing the OTHER kind of seniors (the high school variety at a post-prom!)

Update: I received some very nice feedback from the reverend who booked me. I can't thank HER enough for the wonderful opportunity to meet and draw some of her older congregation. :-)

Emily was fabulous in every way. Our Senior Luncheon guests loved her and we would hire her again in a heartbeat without a moment's hesitation. Thank you, Emily, with all our hearts. Your friends at the First Presbyterian Church