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Posts Tagged ‘fun’

I invite everybody who’s curious about how in the world the art of caricature can be taught to try to imagine the sound track as I scribble out these drawings. (The brown paper is 3 ft high and I work in markers.)   Each student has the identical photocopied face to work from.  It’s fun.  But we also get a work out. When you decipher the terms interspersed in the scribbling—philtrum, fusiform gyrus, prosopagnosia, epicanthus, gestalt—you’ll realize that there’s substance in this course.  Actually the substance is where the fun is.

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 I set up a still life, I always remind the students that they can pick and choose.  You can decide to draw the whole pile of stuff or you can zoom in on a passage and work that out.  You can also aim for representation with all its complexities of shadows and high lights or you can take inspiration from the shapes in general and do whatever.

One student opted for the whole pile of stuff, but without the doll.  Only one student faced the challenge of the doll.  The other two (small class this term) settled for drapery, the supposedly bugaboo of still lifes.   Interesting, about the drapery.  If I had presented just drapery, the view might have been perceived as boring.  But drapery as one element in a very diverse pile of shapes, emerged as the choice cut.  Students always balk against drawing drapery—it’s complicated—but after so many months of balking, they have learned how to approach it and, lo and behold, drapery now is a welcome subject.  Probably because after so much practice, they can handle it.  Progress.  Let’s hear it for practice!!

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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A doll’s curly hair can inspire propeller shapes and sometimes a doll lying down can, when turned vertical, suggest a funny face.  We do have fun in this class. Hard work and a lot of fun!

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The student said, “I had fun with it.”

It’s not that he was grinning throughout the class period or that he just dashed this off.  On the contrary, he worked very hard and had to make decisions that required intense concentration.

What, then, does having-fun-with-it mean?  It means that he felt unconstrained in the process from beginning to end.

He did not feel constrained by the need to

–be literal

–illustrate what he saw

–be neat

–be consistent or logical

–please anybody else.

To start with, Linné felt free enough to pick a passage from the still life that would not be readable as drapery although it clearly was that.  Bravo!  He did not see literal drapery, but form.  It’s hard to fake this kind of seeing.  If you fake it, the work will look just that, fake and forced.  It will be lacking wit and you will not enjoy the process.  To see form can take a long time.  Linné has been studying with me for three-and-a-half years and his work has come to reflect an individual sensibility.   When the class saw this drawing there was a gasp of admiration.

And one more lack of constraint needs to be noted.  He did not worry about whether it was finished or not.

The drawing is finished when the artist’s curiosity that set the process in motion has run its course.

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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