Thursday, February 28, 2013

James Dean and the elusive EE pencil

One of the coolest souvenirs (okay, several  of them) that I brought back from Thailand was the Staedtler Mars Lumograph EE pencil. The majority of street artists there were using them and I am a magpie for art supplies...
It has a nice range of tones--including a very rich black-- depending on your hand pressure and it lays down nicely. Here is a sketch of this week's subject for Caricaturama, done with it:
In doing a little research on the internet, I found out that the EE might only be sold in Thailand and *may* be the same item as the 8B pencil. There are many listings online to buy all the other grades of Lumograph  pencil, from HB on up, but the EE seems to be very hard to find. Unless you're in

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Purim party!

Sunday brunch for a multi-age group of kids included waffles, hamantasch, and...caricatures!
The Jewish holiday of Purim is all about celebrating with food and costumes:
This cute little sign greeted me at the door, along with a latecomer teen who helped me carry my bag up the steps...more on him later. :-)
I set up my easel while the service was still going on, and was ready to go when all the kids came pouring in the party room:
 A Lady Liberty with a smile...
 Ooops...forgot or didn't see Ninja-boy's dimple!!
This kid had handcuffs and everything!
A helpful mom took some photos with my phone for me. Thank you, you know who you are! :-)
Below: She got me in mid-draw...
This is the young man who gallantly carried my new gig-case ( just visible in background) up the stairway. I was so happy to see he had on a ridiculous chicken hat!!
 She also got a great reaction shot---Thanks again! I love how you can see the girl's reaction in the window, too. 
At the end I was able to draw a couple of adults...this mom sat and enjoyed watching me draw for a good portion of the party. Here she is with her daughter:
Shalom...and thank you to my client! It was fun, and I gobbled up those hamantasches on the way home. :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Marriage Proposal Caricature---she said YES!

On this past Valentine's Day, this young lady went out to dinner with her man--and got a big surprise!
I just heard from my client, and he said they are in Mexico---and she said yes!!!! Chalk one up for creative proposing with caricatures! :-)
I did this cartoon-style digital commission in Thailand, it made me sweat when trying to email such a large file to him. We definitely take for granted our internet speeds here in the US. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Studio wedding caricature

Back in June, I drew at a wonderful wedding reception for a hockey-mad young couple. The caricatures were so well-received that they extended my time there....which meant I was pretty much able to draw everybody who wanted one. Two people who wanted one, but just couldn't sit--- they were too in demand with their guests---were the bride and groom! I told them I could do a party-style caricature from photos later...and here it is!
Client's response was: "Nailed it. Fantastic. Thx!"  :-)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Another street artist in Thailand

This artist, in the night bazaar at Chiang Mai,  had a display of large graphite drawings that were quite detailed...this is the one he was working on when we stumbled upon him:
He's using some sort of magnifier to look at his reference as he draws. I would bet that there is a grid over the photo and possibly had been one on the drawing, as it seems to be a virtual copy of the photo...
 He was also dipping his pencil point in a solvent, probably alcohol, to get the rich fluid darks in his drawing. The next night we happened by and this drawing was in plastic, on the right, with his other finished works. Many of the vendors at this marker did not have prices shown, so I have no idea what he was asking.

He had a crowd watching. I know that feeling!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sketches for Caricaturama, etc..

While I was out of the country, I didn't really keep up with the weekly online caricature competitions, but a few subjects were just too fun to resist....
Bruce Willis for the forum at done in Mars Lumograph EEE pencil, which I am really liking:
Paris Hilton, (Mar Lumograph again) Adrien Brody ( Ebony pencil) and Marilyn Manson (Microns) for Caricaturama and/or Traditional Caricature Art Contest....

There was a recent heated discussion on Caricaturama pertaining to the "cheating" of some digital artists by using photo manipulation as a basis for their caricatures,  (that's a subject for another post, though!) which resulted in some calls for preliminary sketches to be shown before a final digital work. My works for these competitions usually never get past the sketch stage!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My ISCA con studio piece...the British Royal Family

Last November (yes, I really do have a backlog of stuff to catch up on blog-wise) I was considering what subject to do for my entry in the annual ISCA convention's studio caricature competition. In the news was Prince Harry's latest peccadillo...being photographed naked in his hotel suite with some ladies, in Las Vegas (who woulda thunk it???). Anyway, I thought it would be funny to do him as a paper doll, whose clothes would not be included...and with the famous Vegas sign covering his nether regions. Then his sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed topless, and I thought, nice for me, now I get to draw her too, but that meant I might as well do the whole Royal Family as paper dolls, since it was also the Queen's Jubilee! The idea of depicting the Queen in an old-lady slip with her tiara and giant purse really tickled me. ;-)
Airbrush was my choice of medium for this project, which meant they were drawn in pencil and marker, then painted with my trusty Iwata.  This part was done in between customers at my boardwalk stand in August. When I got home, I scanned them into Photoshop for some painted touch-ups, then had FedEx Office print them on a glossy cardboard. The clothes (which were lots of fun to design) were printed on magnetic paper so they would stay on the paper dolls without tabs (I later affixed magnets to the dolls' backs.) Here is one stage of their creation...on the carpet in my studio, my first test printing:
Once I had them printed and cut out, it was time for a pretty backing paper. A royal blue glittery scrapbooking paper seemed just right. This part was done between customers at my booth at the Irish Festival!
Once at the convention, I still had work to do... constructing a little Buckingham Palace backdrop for them out of more scrapbooking stuff, adding stick-on rhinestones wherever appropriate*, and making stands for the dolls. I'd bought some black-and-white checkered packaging tape that suited my purposes very well (especially since it reminded me of the floors in Westminster Abbey which I'd visited earlier that year...). Finally I added a little "please dress us!"sign.
The display was organized at first...then people started to play with them! yay!
Someone put Prince William in drag...... :-D
Prince Phillip had been in very poor health for most of last year...if he had passed away after I made his paper doll I was going to put a "discontinued" sign on him!

The ISCA convention attracts some of the best caricature artists in the world and there were many, many entries in this category that were amazing. Imagine my surprise when my name was called for second place for best studio caricature!!

Thanks to Celestia Ward for the video!

First place was taken by Brian Oakes for a fantastic watercolor painting of Marky Mark...third place was won by Karel Opdebeeck for a massive sculpture of his brother Jan Opdebeeck (they are a family of amazingly talented artists).
My award was a painted scroll by master calligrapher (and friend) Jeff Redford. I am just as happy about having his handwork as I am about winning an award. :-)
Now what will I create for this year?????

*Kate got a rhinestone pasty. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Caricaturists in Chiang Mai's Sunday walking street

Well, there were one or two doing caricatures in a long row of portrait artists...

A walking street in Thailand is just what the name implies; a normally busy street is closed to traffic and vendors are set up along both sides. However, in this case, the artists were in the middle...and the crowd was SO thick even I would have been nervous of being bumped by passersby...
I don't know why Mr. Bean and Obama seem to be the perennial favorites for caricature samples in Thailand...below is a closer look:
Here are most of the artists in action:

 Since almost all the artists were busy doing portraits, I guess it's because that's what sells more.

 Above: This artist certainly caught her expression...
Below: This guy was doing a watercolor caricature from someone's phone:
This is a peek into one art supply box....those Mars Lumograph pencils are popular. I bought a handful for myself and they are nice, capable of a big range of tone.
Below: This sample depicted the subject as a ladyboy! I wish I'd get calls for that here...Thailand is much more comfortable with having a "third sex"than other parts of the world...
If I am interpreting the sign correctly, a live sketch is 200 baht (about $6) and from a photo 300 baht (about $9). Below: This is the view when we entered the walking street, you can see how packed
 with humanity the center is...
I like more elbow room when I draw live!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Finding caricature-like art in other forms..The White Temple

During my recent trip to Thailand, I took in so many sights, sounds, and tastes that my senses were overwhelmed on occasion. One experience that really stood out to me as an artist, was a visit to Wat Rong Kuhn, or the White Temple in Chiang Rai. The work of ONE artist, Chalermchai Khositpipat, it was begun in 1996 and is still being worked on by him and his team...
It's his life work and offering to Buddha (Thailand is a primarily Buddhist country) and is a working temple as such. Here is a link to a good article about the Temple.

The interest for me started as soon as our tour pulled up. Buddhism's goal is achieving nirvana through wisdom,  and do that you must go through cycles of life with suffering and passion. These were presented  by imagery like this:
Traffic cones on the way in...

Demons and whisky bottles representing earthly evils...some grotesque caricatures of possibly real figures. The first one looks Hitler-like to me...

Then there was a bridge over a pit...filled with these writhing hands...

Once over the bridge, my Other Half and I continued in...
to see pop-culture themed murals with a much deeper message:
 ...that we need to learn from the evil man perpetuates upon himself and get past it. I found the artwork mind-boggling and its execution was exquisite. I also found it strangely familiar to see caricature-like versions of Michael Jackson and other real figures (like Keanu Reeves from the Matrix) used to make editorial comment in an artwork.

Time limitations kept me from being able to draw pre-penciled lines on the walls, as they were allowing some visitors to I settled for just seeing as much as I could.
Yes, I am a rule-breaker. Couldn't help it in this instance!!!
We left the Temple wishing we'd had more time. Maybe someday I can go back. 
Nature called and even the rest rooms here were artistically embellished...