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.