Archive for the 'General' Category
Shipping times get hairy as the holiday approaches… if you are thinking about getting something from the Studio Store in time to wrap up for a Christmas present, now’s the time!
I have only 15 Limited Artist Editions of my book left! Have a caricature of you or the person of your choice drawn by me inside a copy of The Mad Art of Caricature!, complete with a hand-numbered bookplate. Only 120 of these limited editions will ever be made, and 105 of them are gone.
I’m down to my last 44 Doctor Who “The Doctor is In” limited edition prints. Get one for that special Whovian in your life, either with the original 11 Doctors, or with upcoming Doctor Peter Capaldi hand-drawn in!
NEW! Limited copies of The Bro Code for Parents, “written” by How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson and illustrated by me. All copies signed! (not by Neil Patrick Harris, unfortunately, just by me!)
What are you waiting for, clod? Get out that fershlugginer credit card and order today!
This has been all over the internet the last few days. Artist Kyle Lambert did this digital painting of Morgan Freeman using ProCreate and an iPad… and his finger. According to the video, it took over 285,000 brush strokes and 200 hours of work.
This has elicited a lot of discussion and speculation on the internet about, among other things, the following:
1. Did he just trace a photo?
My two cents: Yes, he must have used a photo as an underlayer even though it is not seen in the video (easy to exclude from a screen capture video). No way could anyone do something that exactly perfect by translating what their eyes see and recreating that with their hands. Image overlays done by others show a nearly flawless reproduction. The human brain, eyeballs and motor skills just don’t work that perfectly together. Not that it matters, the impressive part of this is the exacting nature of the rendering done on something like the iPad.
2. Would this be copyright infringement of the original photograph?
My two cents: Yes, absolutely. There is no artistic interpretation here whatsoever. It is an exact reproduction of the original photo. It doesn’t matter if it was reproduced by hand taking over 200 hours, or scanned in under 15 seconds. Lambert credits the photographer but that is not the same as getting his copyright permission. Perhaps he did, I don’t know. If not, he needs to, unless the photographer has no interest in his copyright.
3. What’s the point?
My two cents: This is what it is: It’s a very impressive technical demonstration of someone creating something using a difficult platform that could have been created much faster and easier, and just as impressively, on another platform. That’s really the only point, that is was done on an iPad, which is amazing. The painting itself has no artistic interpretation or input, and wasn’t meant to have any. I’m not taking anything away from Lambert, he’s obviously a very talented digital painter… I wish I could paint one-millionth as well. No doubt when he brings his own artistic sensibilities into play he can do some impressive work, but this is just a demonstration of technical skill on an usual platform for such work, which I am sure is what was intended. It’s a little like building a vehicle like a Ford Explorer from scratch using hand-tooled parts, individually sculpted and carved pieces, and individually hand-created components. It might take thousands of hours to make, but in the end what you have is a Ford Explorer… made the hard way.
That said, I do not know why so many people are acting offended by this, like Lambert is somehow trying to pass this off as a great work of art or suggest it is supposed to be a commercial juggernaut of a style. I don’t think he is trying to do anything except demonstrate the technical possibilities of the software and hardware he used, which he clearly did very well. I’m quite sure he knows there is little commercial application for exact copies of photographs that were hand painted and took hundreds of hours to complete. He’s just demonstrating his technical skills with this platform… I hope he got some dough out of the makers of Procreate for his efforts.
…and I still hate working on an iPad. More power to you, Kyle.
UPDATE: Typically I would give the benefit of the doubt to the artist in a case like this, but this blog post and the data backing it up from fotoforensics seems to prove conclusively that not only was the actual photograph used in the creation of this image, but that PhotoShop CS 5 and 6 on a Macintosh was used in its creation. Since that directly refutes Lambert’s claims that at no time was the photo used, and that it was created exclusively on the iPad with Procreate, you have to question anything that he or Proceate claims. Of course the “proof” of the fraud could itself be a fraud… it’s the internet a wonderful place?
This is a great video interview with syndicated comic strip “Baby Blues” creators Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott about the genesis of the strip.
I’m fortunate to be able to call Rick a good friend. We have been on many USO tours together to places like Germany, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and even drew together on the U.S.S. Enterprise in the middle of the Arabian Gulf. He’s an incredible talent… incidentally he was honored with the NCS Reuben Award for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” last May. A well deserved honor.
Baby Blues has a special place in me and The Lovely Anna’s hearts. It began on the very day our first daughter The Animated Elizabeth was born. We were living in Atlanta at the time, and this comic strip debuted with the birth of daughter Zoe in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on the same our daughter came into the world. Anna would cut many of the strips out and save them for Elizabeth’s scrapbook.
Years later when we joined the NCS, Anna was only star struck by a few of the cartoonists, but Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott were the ones she was really over-the-moon to meet. I think we creeped Rick out pretty badly at first, since he seemed to get this deer-in-headlights look on his face when we would approach and would turn and walk quickly away. He still does that but eventually stops since he knows I won;t let him go on any more USO tours if he doesn’t talk to us.
That’s a joke, of course. He’s a good friend and a great cartoonist.
Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving… I hope you are spending it with family and friends, like it was meant to be!
Q: In your book you address the problem of nondescript, ‘standard’ faces, and mention finding ‘one outstanding feature. Just one’. My question concerns the opposite scenario – where a subject may have numerous ‘deviations from the norm’ … I suppose we should be driven by a quest for likeness, no matter what. But is this a situation where subjectivity comes into play?
A: Caricaturists have a term for a face like you describe… it’s called a “Field Day”.
I understand what you are saying, and it is true that if a face has a lot of features begging for exaggeration you can be confronted with a “where do I start?” dilemma. That’s a good problem to have as a caricaturist, however. Too many things to play with is always preferable to having trouble finding anything.
My advice about finding just “one thing” really only applies to those boring faces that just don’t have anything that stands out to you for exaggeration. It’s perfectly possible to exaggerated multiple things on a given face in a caricature. In fact, I try and find at least three things I want to exaggerate on every face. It’s a lot more interesting to see a caricature that describes multiple unique qualities as opposed to just a single thing. If I can find more, all the better!
Likely where you might run into trouble on one of those crazy faces is exaggeration choices that contradict one another. For example, perhaps your subject has both a lantern jaw and a bulbous, bald forehead. You can’t enlarge both the jaw AND the cranium… in fact the “Law of Constant Mass” dictates that if you exaggerate the large size of a subject’s jaw/lower face you have to shrink the size of the cranium, and vice versa. So, what do you do? In those cases you just have to decide which is more important…in our example that would be the forehead or the jaw.
This caricature of former pro-wrestler, actor and…ahem… Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is a good example of having to choose between exaggerating his cranium and jaw:
I went with the jaw. One could easily have gone with the forehead as well, but given Jesse’s tough guy image the lantern jaw makes more sense for his persona. Now, you COULD exaggerate both, but you’d end up with a nondescript caricature that doesn’t really say much of anything. Just a big head.
Wow, that park sample is 15 years old. Excuse me while I go grab an Ensure.
Thanks to James Gardiner for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
Q: What was the longest amount of time you’ve spent on caricaturing a subject? I sometimes find myself struggling with a subject and can spend days trying to get it right, when others seem to work out right away. I was just wondering if you’ve ever had this problem and how you get past it.
A: That happens sometimes, and to everybody. When I’m doing a parody for MAD I will sometimes find one of the subjects seems to elude me, or if I am doing some other project I might find myself struggling with the likeness of a caricature. The odd thing is that there seems to be no earthly reason for why a face gives you trouble. It’s not like a certain age, or sex, or face type is one that consistently is a problem. It seems random… I’m drawing along and suddenly hit a wall with a particular face. Often times they even seem to be the kind of face you would think would be easy to caricature.
I have a theory about that—it happens when an artist loses their objectivity with a subject. I think a caricaturist experiences those struggles when they make a bad or incorrect decision on how they want to exaggerate a face or how they wan to treat certain features, and they won’t let it go. Maybe the decision is they think this subject has a big jaw, but if they just stepped back and took another objective look they would see that the brow and forehead needs to be exaggerated more than the jaw, yet they insist on drawing that big jaw and it just won’t seem to work. They try and shoehorn the face into their exaggeration decisions, rather than letting the face dictate what needs exaggerating. This can be true with expression as well… if you have this notion that your subject needs to be smirking but that expression is just not identifiable with the subject, it can lead to many misfires. Some faces are just elusive… I remember when I was assigned the parody art for “Brokeback Mountain” I watched the film and thought Jake Gyllenhaal was going to be easy to draw and Heath Ledger would give me trouble, but it was the opposite way around.
The only way to fight this is not to fight it. You seldom solve the problem by hammering away on drawing after drawing… that just leads to frustration. If, after several attempts keep going awry, put the drawing aside and get away from the drawing table. Go find something to do that completely takes your mind off the caricature and the subject. If you are not in a hurry, even leave it for the next day. Then, go back and look at it with fresh eyes. Try and imagine you are seeing the face for the first time, and be as objective as you can with your observations. Then pull out the old drawings and take a look. You will hopefully spot the problem right away… I’ll often have a head-slapping moment where I think “How did I not see that?!?”.
Thanks to Max Ardon for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
Shameless Plug Dept.
Some of the limited edition stuff I’m hawking online are getting close to the end of their editions, so I thought it might be time to give folks a heads up if anyone is thinking about getting one of these for a gift for somebody this holiday season:
Only 16 of 120 left!
I just mailed out a batch of these last week, and there are only 16 remaining. Here are a couple of recent ones, with the reference pics I used to do the caricatures (clicky to embiggen):
If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s a signed copy of my book, where I will draw a caricature of you or the person of your choice inside the book (on the half-title page, actually) in permanent pen from your pics like you see above. There is also a handsome bookplate that is hand numbered denoting the edition number, limited to 120. Currently this is the only way you can get me to do a caricature of you (I know…Big Deal.) You can order one of the remaining 16 here.
Only 61 out of 450 left!
I just mailed #389/450 yesterday, so these are reaching the end of the run. I will not be doing an updated print with Peter Capaldi added in, but I will hand-draw him in for a little bit extra. 61 prints left sounds like a lot but I sell 6-10 a week, so these will probably not make it past Christmas. You can order it with or without the 12th Doctor added in here!
…to speak at the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning’s “Mini-Fest” tomorrow. Here’s a link to a news story about the Festival. Here’s the list of events/activities going on there:
10:30 a.m. – noon:
- Drawing and caricature class I’ll be conducting for kids ages 13-18 at the Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 First Ave. Cost is $20. Anyone interested in participating can register directly with the museum.
12:30 – 2 p.m.:
- My main presentation. I will talk about my career as a freelance illustrator with publications, including MAD Magazine and Marvel Comics at the Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 First Ave., in Daimler Chrysler Hall. The presentation is free and open to the public.
2:30 – 4 p.m.:
- My class for aspiring professionals, addressing the art of caricature and business practices for freelance artists at Artworks Gallery, 5002 Sixth Ave. Cost is $50 ($75 to include a signed copy of my book, “The MAD Art of Caricature”). Register at kenoshacartoonfest.com. Class size limited to 18 participants.
4:15 – 6 p.m.:
- Portfolio review with myself or John Hambrock, a 15-minute one-on-one opportunity for aspiring comic artists and illustrators to present their work and receive feedback, at Artworks Gallery, 5002 Sixth Ave. Cost is $30. Register at kenoshacartoonfest.com. Limited to six sessions per artist.
6:30 – 9 p.m.:
- Fundraiser for Festival 2014 – Meet and Greet Reception with myself, John Hambrock and any other local cartoonists who are attending the festival. If we are lucky the artists will sketch for attendees., Villa D’ Carlo Restaurant 5140 6th Avenue Kenosha. Cost: $20 tickets can purchased in advance through this website or with cash at the door. Pizza and soda provided
All money raised goes to fund future Cartooning Festivals in Kenosha.