Getting Pulled Over on the Information Superhighway Dept.
Image from “How to Draw Caricatures” video series by Expert Village
There are a lot of “How To” videos on YouTube and around the internet, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a more worthless, and it turns out downright criminal, series than “How To Draw Caricatures” by Expert Village.
Expert Village is a website that is a kind of YouTube community for how-to video clips. You can register and an “expert” or as a “filmmaker”, and then you can be put in touch with others in your area who might be interested in putting together how-to videos for inclusion. Nice idea, but who decides who is an actual “expert” (or “filmmaker”, for that matter)?
Apparently nobody, by the looks of at least this particular series of videos on drawing caricatures.
I can’t embed any of the YouTube versions of these videos, as Expert Village forbids embedding (I wonder why?), and I refuse to embed them directly from the Expert Village site because I don’t want to give them the ad revenue. If you visit this link, you’ll be taken to the video series page on Expert Village if you need to fulfill your ‘see the accident’ curiousity. I have made some screencaps for this post to illustrate my points.
The “expert” in these videos is a pretty middle eastern woman named “Ruchika” with a lot of mascara and a thick accent speaking in very broken English. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that if she had any actual information to impart in that difficult to understand speech. Not to worry if you can’t follow her speaking… she is saying nothing worth hearing. Seriously. In these roughly 1 minute “lessons” she spends the first 20 seconds or so recapping the last lesson… then she talks about various caricature concepts using terms and information that teach you nothing for about 40 seconds. For example, when explaining how to caricature a person’s face she will tell you to “just highlight the features very creatively…”. Ooooooookay. Got it. DAMN! I’ve been over complicating it for years!! She waves a pencil about quite a bit as well… but she never really draws anything. Well, she TRACES a picture of “The Rock”, very badly I might add, in one “lesson”. So, there’s no proving she’s an expert or not if we never see here actually draw…. or IS there?
I’d seen these videos before linked from some other caricature blogs, mostly they were rightly being ridiculed, but I happened upon one the other day entitled How to Draw Caricatures : How to Design a Caricature Concept. In it our expert holds up a drawing of Elvis Presley she claims to have done. That drawing caught my eye as it looked awfully familiar. I recognized it as being done by Texas caricaturist Kirk Bjorndahl, who briefly worked with me at the Mall of America back in 1997. Here is the drawing as shown in the video, and the one Kirk currently has on his website:
Ruchika shows “her” drawing of Elvis
Close up screencap
Uh oh! Kirk’s original from his website! This one is color
but he used to have a B&W version up there as well…
It gets worse. Up until that point in the series we never actually see Ruchika draw. However as I mentioned before in the next few “webisodes” she does partially TRACE a picture of “The Rock”. It’s not a caricature, but a few traced lines. Then in this episode, she tries to show how she goes from the traced picture to a caricature by “changing the scale”. Actually she just plays “connect the already drawn lines” on a prepared drawing where a lot of key lines are already drawn:
Most of these lines were already there when we first see the drawing…
Busy connecting the dots….
Then she shows us the version she “colored”:
Hey, that colored one looks pretty good… except, WHOOPS!!! It’s another stolen Kirk Bjorndahl!!:
BUSTED. I have no idea what the people who made these videos were trying to get out of them, but that is just embarrassing. By the way you can see that and many of Kirk’s other samples at his website. I hope Kirk somehow had something to do with this and they hired a hottie to play the artist with his permission to use the artwork…. somehow I doubt it.
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