Sunday Mailbag- Revise or Start Over?

December 27th, 2015 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Concerning your drawing process: If you are not satisfied with a caricature, what do you do? Do you start over again on a new sheet, or do you erase parts of your drawing and just draw some details new?

A: That’s a tough one to answer because it depends on how “off” the drawing is.

If I’m not liking how a caricature is turning out, I have to decide if what I have done so far is salvageable or if it’s a complete loss and I need to start over completely. To be honest, most of the time I SHOULD just start over… if something isn’t clicking then it’s a rare things that just a little tweak here or there will magically fix it. However it’s hard to abandon something you have been spending time on. It’s like I never even started, and I could have spent that hour I wasted on a crappy drawing watching a movie. So, I will all-too-often keep banging my head against the wall on the same drawing, trying to “fix” it. Sometime I pull it off, but more often than not I just end up getting too close to it, lose all objectivity, and convince myself it’s working when i know deep down it’s not.

Case in point, this caricature of “The Blacklist” star Megan Boone from my last Sketch o’the Week:

Megan Boone ©2015 Tom Richmond

I was obsessed with giving her a massive jaw (which she has) and attempted to force her likeness into that observation. As a result, the caricature is not very strong, specifically the mouth. She has a pouty, baby-like quality to her mouth, especially when she does this slightly ajar thing which I tried to capture. I redid the mouth a dozen times, got too close to it and then over-rendered the sketch.

Recently I took another try at her, this time from a fresh perspective:mboone2

I think a much better result. A completely fresh start is the best approach when you are struggling with a caricature. It causes you to reboot your thought processes and reassess everything.

Thanks to Dominick Zeillinger 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!


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