McCalls
pictures and words by paul mccall
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07/23/08
Watercolors at the Art Center
Filed under: Open Studio Painting, Open Studio Drawing
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 11:57 am

I realized I haven’t posted much from any life drawing/painting sessions here lately. One reason is that I’ve been so busy with live and studio caricature work I’ve had to stop going to the Thursday night open studio sessions for awhile. I have been trying to keep going to the Art Center sessions on Sunday afternoons. The last couple of times I’ve taken my watercolor rig. Watercolor is a medium I don’t do a lot with, it’s a delicate medium (or can be, when handled correctly) I tend to be a little rough with it, muscling it around, at times even getting my fingers in it. Anyway, here are some results.

These are two minute gesture poses used to loosen up.

This was a longer pose, 15 minutes.



25 minute poses.



These are the results of last Sundays session.

More 2 minute poses.

A 2 and a 15 minute pose.

25 minute pose.

50 minute pose.

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07/21/08
Another Birthday Party
Filed under: Live Caricature
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 2:57 pm

Saturday night, another birthday party.


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07/17/08
Viva Las Vegas!
Filed under: Studio Caricatures, Caricature Step-by-Step
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 9:17 pm

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.

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07/13/08
Happy Birthday Bob!
Filed under: Live Caricature
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 5:45 pm

I drew Saturday for four hours at a 70th birthday party.


Paint-Ball playing teenagers, been dating for three weeks!


Was ZZ Top in town?


Time grew short to get everyone in the hostess asked me to go B&W.


Until I got to her and the birthday boy!

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07/09/08
Inconjunction XXVIII
Filed under: Live Caricature, Whatever
Posted by: Paul McCall @ 4:48 pm

Last weekend we had a dealers room table at Inconjunction XXVIII, the local Indianapolis, IN science-fiction convention. This was our second year in the dealers room at the convention. My wife and I were involved in the first Incon 28 years ago. Actually we met at that first convention. We lost touch with it during the years we lived in Atlanta and for several years after we returned to Indianapolis in 1991. But for years she mentioned to me that we should get a table and try to resell the inevitable accumulation of things we’ve acquired in 30+ years of attending science-fiction conventions. (Things that make regular yard sale crawlers scratch their heads.) Last year I decided it was time and luckily I made the decision in a sufficiently timely manner to reserve dealers space. I also decided that I would try to sell some digital “Body Shop” caricatures. It worked out well enough that we reserved two tables this year. All things remaining equal we’ll do it again next year.


This is my digital set up. The crowd can watch me work on the external monitor slaved to the laptop screen.
(That’s not a bandage on my hand. I wear a white cotton cut away glove so that my hand glides across the surface of the Wacom tablet.) The printer that prints the 8.5″ x 11″ images on 80lb. paper is on a small table behind the screen.


One of the new bodies debuted at the convention. Soon to be up in the “Body Shop” area of my web site.

Tending the table is pretty much a full time job so I rarely left the dealers room. Here are some “hall costumes” that came within camera range. (Hall costumes are sometimes different than what you’d see in the formal Costume Competition in the evening.)


U.S. Agent


Rock Critter of some sort.

A stereotypical wizard.

Steampunk” is a genre that imagines if the Jules Verne Victorian era was when technology took off.


A panorama of the dealers room from our vantage point. That’s a book dealer not quite ready to open, hence the blue cover sheets over his wares.


Gaming dealer, sword dealer in the far background, costume dealer.


Beautiful wood box dealer, Dr. Who dealer, T-shirt dealer.


Our tables.


And the lovely wife. We managed to move a lot of SF Fan Garage Sale stuff but there’s more left for next year!

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