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Posts Tagged ‘caricature’

In the penultimate caricature class we dealt with the profile.  Here’s my demo on that topic.

But the inevitable finale to a class in the art of caricature would have to be what?  Of course, you have to draw the teacher.

This caricature class, earlier this summer, met for only five two-hour sessions.  Make no mistake, this is a serious class. (You can find earlier posts on specific demos.)  One of the topics we kept coming back to is the psychology of the whole business.  Drawing women, for example.  Or drawing people you know, your family or your friends.  It gets complicated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My students (only three were present for the last class, hey, it’s summer) rose to the challenge.  It really does take courage to draw caricatures.

You can tell, that they got the lesson on eyelashes for women.

One student apparently saw my Cruella de Vil side. That’s fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When I caricatured myself about eighteen years ago, I also showed no mercy.  But then, for my business card, I had to go for a more show-biz look.  Did I mention…it’s complicated.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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André Carrilho, in his late 30’s, is a caricaturist of the highest order. He’s Portuguese, lives in Lisbon, where he’s a national treasure.  His work frequently appears in The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.  His daring is breathtaking.  There are no clichés in his work.  Every drawing I’ve ever seen by him has made me jealous:  I wish I had done that.

His work deserves close study, his gestures, his radical departure from anatomy, his mixture of drawing techniques, his psychological insights.

For now I just want to focus on the fact that he frequently dismisses the eye as the carrier of expression.  Rudolph Giuliani, for example (above), doesn’t have any eyes, just a darkish smudge.  To pull this off, you have to be very advanced in your art.  Go to http://www.andrecarrilho.com/ and immerse yourself in this work.  But be warned, you may lose track of time, miss your train, quit your job, and neglect your household chores.

Funny thing about the eye, the “window to the soul.”  That expression probably can be traced to Moroccan bazaars, where haggling over the price of a rug was made easier if you were so close to the other guy that you could see the involuntary twitch in his pupils every time he lied to you.  In general, I think, soul-talk is obfuscation.  The “soul” in art doesn’t just have a window here and there, but is more like a drafty place, a wide open canyon.

Imagine my delight as I’m looking at store mannequins and find that they have no eyes.  Where does this come from?  What happened to “the window to the soul?”   Is Maybelline suing?  Is this inspired by André Carrilho?  I wouldn’t be surprised.  The Art of Caricature is not silly or trivial at all.  It’s the brain’s preferred way of seeing.  Simplify, simplify.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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I’ll be teaching a 5-week course on The Art of Caricature this summer at the Evanston Art Center.  The class will be held on Thursday evenings from 7 – 9 p.m.,  starting June 14.  Due to an email glitch, the class is not listed in the printed summer catalog, but it will be listed online at www.evanstonartcenter.org

Here’s the blurb:  “For intermediate & advanced portrait artists.  Seeing through the “caricature lens” enables you to heighten your subject’s expression and will develop your personal style. A good caricature is a stronger likeness than a “realistic” portrait or even a photo. As you develop your ability to see in this new light, you can decide to what degree you want to “tweak” the features and still maintain the likeness. The notebooks of some of our great artists (Leonardo, Picasso) reveal that they were, at heart, caricaturists. This course broadens the view of a much-misunderstood art. The class is set-up so that students can see the instructor’s drawing as it emerges, step by step. “

That last part is important.  I tack a long sheet of brown paper on the wall and draw with black markers so that everybody can see.  Every student will have an 8½ x 11 printout of the face we’re working on and I will have the same face taped to my brown drawing paper on the wall.  We go at it.  How do you look at this?  What feature will you push and pull?  How do you enhance the expression? All this, while keeping the likeness.  In fact, the likeness will be enhanced by our pushing and pulling. A good caricature looks more like the person than a photograph.   It’s fascinating.  I will also sit next to individual students and draw along with them.  I provide the copies of the faces but students can also bring in their own choices.  Hmmm, friends and family. Of course, the  class is fun, but it’s also serious work and very challenging.

The number at the Evanston Art Center is 847-475-5300

(To see my caricatures of political and cultural luminaries: http://facefame.wordpress.  You’ll find the above caricatures of John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates  in that blog.

The photos from an actual Art of Caricature class were taken at the Indianapolis Art Center, summer 2010, where I gave a weekend intensive to some very enthusiastic students/artists.)

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

https://artamaze.wordpress.com

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When you Google something today, you’ll see a line drawing of Crown Hall.  Bravo, Google!

Crown Hall is the Architecture building at the Illinois Institute of Technology, designed in the mid 1950’s by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was born on this day in 1886.  The building often houses architecture exhibits and art events.  It’s well worth the trip to just be in this building.

Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization, replied “I think it would be a great idea.”  He died a few years before Crown Hall went up.  Too bad.  He might have had an aha-moment in this exhilarating, optimistic space.  He would have noticed the clarity of its thought.

The Main Building of what was then the Armory Institute of Technology was built by Patton & Fisher in 1893, the year of the Columbian Exposition.  You see it every time you drive down the Dan Ryan.  It’s Romanesque Revival and was cut from the same fearful cloth as all the gloppy grandeur down at the Midway Plaisance that year.  The powers-that-were apparently trembled at the changes– social, political, cultural, technological, spiritual, the works– that were in the air and exploded in the early decades of the 20th century.  Louis Sullivan was part of that change and his Transportation Building at the Fair was the only progressive structure there.  Poor Louis, came to a tragic end.

The 20th century turned a corner, any way you think of corner, metaphorically or technologically.  No wonder, “how to turn a corner”  became a major topic of discussion among architects.

Mies turned a profound corner.

Gandhi might have been drawn to sit in meditation in Mies’s chapel, which looks inconspicuous, without grandeur, affectation or cowardly historical revivalism.  The chapel at IIT looks more like a factory, a little workshop, a cubicle even, a place where you go to work on your stuff.

(Above, my caricature of Mies, 1986, when I was a docent with the Chicago Architecture Foundation and gave the Loop tours and the Boat Tour with great passion and the occasional quip about the powers-that-be, but you already guessed that.  )

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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This morning, after reading just a few pages of “Nomad” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I knew it was time to draw this face.  I knew there would be no shortage of videos of her on the internet.  Drawing from photos is now a thing of the past—thanks to You Tube!  It’s important for me to see the face animated.  When a person talks spontaneously on a topic that engages her/him,  the face will reflect the mind’s involvement.  Very often the eyebrows move and it’s most interesting when one eyebrow moves up higher than the other.  The smile changes the angle of the eyes and is often a little asymmetrical.   The eyes blink or squint during the conversation, again unevenly.  The person will have an inclination to tilt the head a bit.  In Psychology 101 all this squinting, pulling and inclining is summed up in the word “affect.”  Affect, which simply means expressiveness, is what I look for in a face.  When I can’t find any expressiveness, I can’t seem to get interested.

Well, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a delight in the department of expressiveness.  I worked from just a couple of videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4P6sHvIzYg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnOhgKqnOxA&feature=related

I started drawing in China Marker on gloss paper.  The first drawing was stiff and literal.  But the second drawing, also in China Marker, shown above, is already quite animated.  Then I reached for the PITT B pen and did three fluid drawing.  The third of the pen drawings, left, is a caricature.

For me, the word caricature is full of excitement, lacking any pejorative tone.

See http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com for more reflections on the art of caricature.     Also www.khilden.com

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