This post covers the final ten days of the online Caricature Resolution of 2023 (the first 19 days are covered in post 42).
In this last half, I began to play around with a combination of gesture drawing, continuous line drawing, and open and abstract portraiture. My main influences here are ‘characterist’ Al Hirschfeld for continuous line and Lene Farmer (a friend from the online creative group ‘The Sketchy Bitches’) for creating wonderful funny portraits with a sort of ‘minimal face explosion’. I invited Lene to join the resolution challenge on Day 19 and she managed impressively to do 24 caricatures on the same day in 3 Instagram posts with an extra challenge for her followers to name the famous faces. Here is an example of 8 faces, which include from left to right; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hervé Villechaize, Lily James, Wes Studi, Angela Basset, Audie Murphy, Clara Bow, and Donnie Yen:
(for all examples see @lenedrawswhatever, post of 21 January 2023)
I love how Lene captures so much in this fun expressive minimalism.
I often failed to implement my aims to do this style of ‘minimal face explosions’ in continuous line over the next ten days. On many days, I was flagging and weary with other challenges, so there are only a few examples below where I succeeded a little. I am in awe of Lene’s light, free, fun at creating these caricatures. My attempts seem rather heavy and earnest next to hers, but I will keep working on this from time to time.
I worked with Lene’s approach to create Lily James, who I only know as an actor for the Sky advert, so I’ve used this and taken liberties with her eye colour (her eyes are brown) below,
I particularly struggled to draw the conventionally ‘pretty’ during this challenge, as although symmetry may be attractive, it is not particularly characterful or interesting to draw. This was as interesting as I could make Lily James.
I also drew the military hero and actor Audie Murphy. The most decorated US war veteran from the Second World War. I didn’t know about him before and it was nice to discover new people while doing this challenge. I quite like the way this one incidentally appears aged and from a different time,
Both of the final two examples are martial arts experts, the current Hong Kong movie star, Donnie Yen, and belated Ip Kai Man, who was a martial arts instructor and Bruce Lee’s mentor. I enjoyed creating Donnie Yen and decided to use gesture drawing and one-line technique to capture his dynamism,
Ip Kai Man was created in a simple minimal open image with his name as part of the imagery,
It feels great to achieved a January resolution without missing one day through weariness, funerals, and other distractions. It was also a great opportunity to play around with different ways to cartoon faces and I mostly really enjoyed it (apart from the monotonous pretty faces).
The Caricature Resolution gave me the opportunity to discover some incredible caricature artists and to realise the diversity of individual styles – these styles can be irreverent fun or kind celebration of a person. I have a new respect for the ability to render the essence of a person in minimal lines and styles. Caricature is a unique skill and a unique type of representation. It takes an immense amount of practice to develop these skills, so for now I’m returning to a creative practice that focusses on finding and building the funny idea – as New Yorker editor Robert Mankoff noted ‘the think rather than the ink!’ that makes cartooning.
Leopold, D. (2015) The Hirschfeld Century – Portrait of an Artist and his Age. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
The International Society of Caricature Artists:
Mankoff, R (2002) The Naked Cartoonist