Cars! Sheesh!! Can be fun, but also time consuming.
The next four (of twelve) Realize, Inc. staff caricatures in line, before the color goes on.
A big Dave Matthews Band fan.
Stems from a raccoon incident during a camping trip.
Famous amongst his coworkers for his salsa.
Intends to surf in Hawaii soon.
Realize, Inc. is a stereolithography company I worked for a few years ago, caricaturing all of their employees. Now they’ve returned to me for a new round of drawings. I’ll post some of them so you can see the progression.
This time they asked me to come up to their location and do live drawings of everyone and get their list of hobbies to incorporate into the digital caricatures.
Shredding on his guitar.
Plays a lot of softball.
Water sports are his thing.
He pans for gold as a hobby.
Just got approval and will be printing and shipping it out soon.
It’s coming along nicely.
This one is going to be fun! The rough just got approved.
Here’s another progression sequence for the commission caricature job I just finished. After getting the contract signed and all the details from the client the idea for the layout came to me as I was going to bed, which is why I keep pads of paper stashed all over the house. Including in the headboard of the bed.
This is the first basic sketch the client saw.
After getting the layout approved I started inking as soon as possible since this job, as many jobs like this, had a tight deadline. I wanted to get the most done fastest so I concentrated on the figures and the props, leaving the facial resemblances until later.
Each of these stages were sent to the client for approval, especially when the deadline is tight I ask the client to check their e-mail frequently and respond as soon as they can so I can move on. In this one you see I’ve moved on to the faces of the children.
Now I’m on to the Dad’s head.
And the Mom. I had her hair waving in the breeze since it was an outdoor scene.
The client thought it didn’t convey the straightness of the subject’s hair. so I fixed it.
I’ve added in the background and dropped in the flat basic colors.
Then I went in and modeled the colors and it’s finished!
I just finished a multi-person commission caricature job so I thought I would give you another step-by-step view of my method.
This job was for a young gentleman that is getting married in August. He wanted a special gift for all the men involved in his wedding. They were all going on a Las Vegas bachelors trip so he wanted them portrayed playing “Texas Hold-em” (with him winning, of course) with appropriate Las Vegas landmarks included. All together there were nine men to draw.
This was my initial sketch.
He specifically asked for two landmark hotels and the Las Vegas sign to be in the background. He provided me with good photo reference of everyone but I didn’t know who he wanted where hence the numbers on the foreheads so he could tell me his preferred arrangement. In keeping with my “every picture tells a story” background I felt I needed a reason for them all to be bunched up and not concentrating on the card game so I included the digital camera in the foreground.
This is the second, refined sketch where I got down the likenesses of everyone after being given their seating order. I was also told that the camera wasn’t needed and given some instruction in how Texas Hold-Em is played.
The next step was to get the background finished and out of the way. My original thought was to treat the props beyond the window as colored line drawings as is as what’s in the room but I realized that all those windows and the fountains might be a distracting influence so I roughly painted over the reference photos and used the layers menu in Corel Painter X to mute the background images. I brought it into Photoshop to create the glass window effect. I’m sure it’s possible to do that in Painter, I just don’t know how at this time. Here you see the finished ink lines with roughly blocked in white areas so that the lines would stand out. I sent the client this image and later the rest of the guys inked.
The client proved to be very good about giving me prompt feedback on these stages sent by email for his approval. This was important in a tight deadline job such as this one, as it also is in any job. When I send something to a client for approval I don’t work on it again until I get that approval so both I and the client need to stay aware of the deadline. That practice circumvents having to go back and redo things eating up more time.
Now I start coloring the figures. I use the lasso tool to capture the skin areas and the paint bucket tool to drop in a flat middle tone flesh color dependant on the individuals coloring. In Painter I can save that selection so that I can load it again when time comes to do the modeling. A great time saver. I go on to do the same with all the clothing, drop in the flats then go back with some modeling. This was a “black line simple color” job as opposed to fully painted so I restrict my self to three tones of flesh with a minimum of blending.
This is almost the final piece. There were some last minute changes to be made to wedding ring colors and the blue plaid shorts had to be changed to dark khaki. Printed out as an 11″ x 17″ image on 12″ x 18″ paper.
Back to the progress shots of the BSG caricature. While at the caricature convention I “inked” the figures and laid in the broad areas of color.
The background lines are still there, just made invisible for your convenience.
Then I laid in the colors to be modeled using the oil painting brush in Painter X.
This is a detail since I forgot to save the entire image at this stage.
This is the finished image for the “Body Shop” version. I blended the harsh lay-in of modeling colors using the blender tool “Just Add Water.” That’s it for this size. Later I’ll try to document taking this image into the 11″ x 17″ format and fully painting it!
Since I haven’t gotten back to the BSG President Rosalyn caricature to show how that is going I’ll show you the progress steps on this commissioned piece I just finished. This will give anyone reading this that is contemplating commissioning a caricature an idea of the working process.
Foreground, to the left side, caricature of Rod Serling. - B/W tone caricature
Behind Serling, filling the rest of the image area, **** standing under an arching sign saying “Welcome to Willoughby.” - Full color caricature
**** will be standing next to a roulette wheel (Vegas style lighted signs behind that area), wearing Converse shoes, holding a drink in one hand, a chili-cheeseburger in the other (one of the Vegas signs can be a Tommy’s sign), turtle(s) on the roulette table, other people around the roulette table will be scantily clad girls and Baxter, Ferrari.
That was approved so I proceeded with this succession of progress images emailed to the client.
The next step was to define the facial drawing of the subject and that of Rod Serling.
I got caught up in Serling so I finished him then went on to place the less interesting elements of the roulette table and the cars to get them out of the way. The drawing of the girls was firmed up as well in this stage. This project had a fast turnaround so I designed it in a way that I didn’t have to draw and paint faces for all the girls.
Color for the background and rendering the Tommy’s Hamburger Hut and car stage.
Fully rendered subject and the girl on his arm.
I sketched and painted this in Corel Painter X. At this stage you can see how I start out each figure. I draw an outline with the selection tool, using the line drawing as a guide, then drop in a base flesh tone. Then using the oil painting brushes I render the modeling of the form. Then I release the selection and paint in the clothing and hair. There was a time I would have had each figure on a separate layer but I’ve learned that Painter can start to slow down and the risk of a program crash increases the more layers you have in a file. Since I was fairly confident that I wouldn’t have to move any of the figures around beyond the original design I painted all the girls on a single layer. For safety I painted all the figures in a separate file without the background, cars and Tommy’s hut then copied and pasted the finished piece into the main file.
I had some time while waiting for feedback on a job to do some
more work on Adama and Baltar’s hand and “bony little butt up in the
air.” Adama’s face will get craggier with the coloring.
I’m going to try and post a sequence to show a caricature in development. This one will serve a dual purpose. I’ll first do it as a new entry in the Body Shop then I’ll take the same thing into a larger format and create a fully painted digital caricature. In my last science fiction convention appearance it was suggested I do up a Battlestar Galactica President Laura Roslin format for future conventions and the internet BSG fan base.
I gathered up my reference to suit the design I came up with which will involve Roslyn, Baltar and Adama. I found a good shot of the President’s office so I did a line drawing for the background. (All this is done in Painter X. This stage was done using the straight line pencil tool.)
After that I started sketching the figures. Unfortunately I decided too late to initiate an “iterative save” in Painter which would have allowed me to show you the earliest version of the figure sketching process. This image is after I settled the body poses and well into the stage of trying to capture a likeness for all three characters. Not all the way there as yet, especially with Mary McDonnell (pretty women are tougher).
The layering aspect of Painter (and Photoshop, the program in which I used to do these things) is great to mimic tracing paper which allows the artist to move elements around easily. The background is on one layer, the figures, another.
This is how the figures will be placed in the background. (The figure work is also the pencil tool using a non-photo blue color just as a way of separating the preliminary from the finished line work. At times when a drawing has to go through many iterations I’ll use different colors to keep them distinct.)
The Body Shop entry will be done as a line drawing with simple coloring and the head of Mary McDonnell will be replaced by any female fan who wants to put their heel into Baltar’s neck. The larger painted version will be of the actress and will be used as a sample and offered as a print.