Friday, August 12, 2011

Pen and ink inspirations, musings...(and contest)

I've always loved pen and ink artwork, from the time I was a kid. Some of my favorite books were illustrated  in this fashion. Long before I knew about caricature (and pen & ink greats like David Levine in particular)  these are what my eyes devoured and aspired to...

  The first person who can name all six artists  (and respond on my FB caricature page) gets a pen & ink caricature from me! Five of these artists were in my book collection as a child, and one I discovered as a teenager. I don't know how much they've actually influenced my work, but to this day I am still excited by dip pens, Rapidographs and Microns...

...which brings me around to this piece, done with the aforementioned Microns. It was a submission to the FB group Awkward Faces, where the goal is to cartoon/caricature a submitted photo of non-celebrities as awkwardly as possible! Compared to the behemoth which is Caricaturama (over 4000 members), AwkFaces is miniscule, but the talent pool is amazing, so I was pleasantly surprised to have won this week. Here's a link to the target photo, so you can see what I had to work from:
My favorite comment about my piece was that it was "delightful and cruel", a combination I'm not used to hearing, and two qualities found in several of the pen-and-ink examples above.
My live work  definitely slants towards the delightful most of the time, with a slight tinge of underlying cruel (especially of adults). It's a line that all caricaturists have to decide where exactly theirs lies. Without "cruelty" it's not a caricature. Without "delightful" it won't appeal to a broad spectrum of people...

...but with illustration or political caricature, the percentage of "cruel" can go way up!

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