pictures and words by paul mccall

January 2008
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Caricature Progress 01
Filed under: Studio Caricatures, Caricature Step-by-Step
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 10:53 pm

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.

Continuing Education
Filed under: General, Workshops
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:37 pm

I’m taking a class at the Indianapolis Art Center in an effort to expand my range painting styles. The instructor is Mary Kathryn Massey. She teaches a style of oil painting that emphasizes mass rather than line, paint quality as in the texture, shape and gesture of the brush stokes. Very much the opposite of the thin, canvas staining style of oil painting I’ve been using since I moved from the airbrush to the bristle brush.
Moving beyond what is comfortable and works is always a painful process but I hope to take things from the teachings of Ms. Massey and add them to what I already use effectively and make my paintings better. This is my first effort from the class.

Certainly not great but it’s not as bad as it could have been. I got distracted by the drapery behind the set up thinking that I had to capture every fold and nuance of the cloth when in actuality it was only there to provide a middle tone background to set off the tonal changes of the objects. I have a lot to unlearn.

Mary is an excellent teacher. Patient with the students yet requiring us to focus while we are in the classroom environment. Unfortunately the Art Center makes that a bit difficult in the way the studio rooms are arranged. The room we are in has a common entrance with the studio next door and no way to close off the noise and distractions from that direction. Not all the instructors are as concerned with providing quiet surroundings for their students. I’m hoping to find the time between classes to do practice still life paintings but as yet I have not been able to do that. I’m trying to build my caricature business and that takes time.

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