I work part-time drawing live caricatures at a very popular theme-park. It's an amazingly fun and challenging gig in all aspects, and I recommend it to anyone looking to improve their speed, calligraphy, cartooning, understanding of facial anatomy and structure, gesture, silhouettes, composition, or overall drawing skills. If you push yourself, it's not just a cute kid "in a dune buggy - cuz everyone loves dune buggies!!!" - one can achieve many goals by this incessant practice under pressure of the public (as frustrating as it can be, at times).
Anyway, I love caricature and portraiture, and I've got a running blog (mostly for my own entertainment) of my live work and other sketches, to keep me motivated, honest, and working. http://joebluhm.blogspot.com - My latest update are of some sketches that I've done from magazines and photos while killing time in the theme-park. They're quick, but fairly fun.
Here's a couple samples... There are plenty more in my blog:
lol nice work man, i really dig the rest of the work in your blog especially the tiger woods piece.
Hey Geuseppe how long do these usually take?
These celebrity sketches may take from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how slow it is that day, or how much I try to push myself with the drawing. The live caricatures of random guests and vacationers take from 3-8 minutes each.
I sometimes wonder where do those artists go with their creative careers after they've worked as caricature artists at the various theme parks.
I worked at Six Flags during high school in the early eighties as my spring/summer/fall after school job. Mostly did charcoal and pastel portraits rather than caricatures, tho. It definitely improved my drawings skills with all of that practice.
its like your trying to convert a buncha of people into caricature artists. Preach the good words brother!
Crit, elton looks too much like a kid..
I dont even know the name of the 2nd dude but I recognize him. So juicy props on that
Love the blog. Great stuff...I knew the Liam Neeson one with only the forehead and eyes.
I don't think I'd have the balls to draw the more unflattering stuff before payment.
Great ones! I went on your blog and the one of Liam Neeson made me cry of laughter!! Great work!
Thanks. Good crit on Elton. The 2nd dude is Benicio Del Toro. (He always looked like a latin Brad Pitt to me)
I've wondered the same thing, Tatiana... Now after being immersed into it, I find that many of them settle in with caricature and live gigs. One can make a great living, if you find your market and do it right. I'm on my way out of the profession, but wonder if I'll ever WANT to be done with it... (live, I mean) I love it too much.
Some names you may recognize: Andy Bergholtz, Steve Silver, Tom Richmond... all live theme-park caricaturists before they did what they're rocking out now.
...I'm not really recruiting, but just a little overly-enthusiastic recently. I'm becoming a bit too harsh on myself, which I know is good, and I get to go to Japan next week as an invited caricaturist (to draw).
Great to see you keep pushing yourself.
man. how is it you're still alive after all them unflatering caricatures you did in the park. I guess your street cred allows you to push the envelope there.
Those poor children! They'll be scarred for life! I love it!
I really admire good caracature artists. It's a great skill and your stuff shows it off.
My only crit would be to push the shadows/values more. But, I know that's tough in daylight, and the fact that you're doing the art so quickly.
No, you are right, Goo. I need to get a more dynamic look, not just on the X/Y plane, but the Z as well, so it looks more dimensional. That's something I've observed lately and must work on.
Thanks, Arkady. Most people can take exaggeration, with the right environment.
...FALGERCARP! ?? No complaints, except the backing of the second one.
FUN FUN FUUUUNNNN FUN FUN FUUUNNNNNNNNNNN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love caricatures, I think Im gonna do few too now !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those celebrity caricatures are soooo successful you really did them well
I was thinking weather any of those clients of the caricatures got angry, I have never done this before in public but was just wondering that some people would like to see them looking a bit more beautiful rather than exaggarate their negative features But that of course would spoil the image it wont be caricature anymore
look I dont know why I love you I just do
If you really want to try it, go to a bar and just bring a pad of paper and pencil/pen. Just draw someone you know or someone who's not looking at you, and give it to them with a smile, as you walk back to your stool... make sure the bar is full of young people and comfortable. This is a GREAT way to practice, because if they've had a drink or two, they'll all be throwing money at you to draw them, or at least posing or laughing and enjoying what you're doing. It invites a good laugh, and as long as you get a likeness, you're not going to get punched (much).
These are terrific. The Liam Neeson & Leonado DiCaprio ones on your blog are awesome, & Brad Pitt has never looked more smug...& he looks smug a lot!
God do I ever love a good caricature, and you certainly have a damn good eye for it. I wish you were working at the local Six Flags whenever I go, they seem to lack that certain knack for capturing the essence of people so I always avoid getting my caricature done.
I've been looking at getting into caricatures as a way to vastly improve my severely bland face sketches and give them the kind of character they need; aside from practicing constantly, do you have any tips or helpful suggestions for those of us who might be starting out? Maybe some pitfalls to avoid on the path to a proper caricature? I try to avoid 'em, but even a good book on the subject would help me a little bit along enough to understand better what it is I need to do.
Thanks, and keep up the awesome work =)
lavhoes: It's just like anything, look at those that you admire. I keep an eye on a few different people for different stylistic traits, strong points, and different reasons.
First off, drawing portraits is a must. Getting an undeniable likeness is key. If you can't draw a portrait that you're 99% happy with (even if it takes a month to complete one good drawing), then you're not ready for true caricature. A lot goes into uniqueness and eyes/expression. Once you pick up a facial anatomy book (any decent one) or head-drawing/structure book, or are just comfortable with what makes the face do what it does (look in the mirror a LOT and draw MANY self-portraits with harsh and soft lighting), then you can start pushing things a little at a time. If someone has a big nose, understand that everything else must be a bit smaller. It takes a while to find the balances.
To see some great exaggeration and rendering, check out Sebastian Krueger (krugerstars.com) and Jan OpDeBeeck (opdebeeck.com). Al Hirshfeld was a great example of someone who simplified things, and once you see what works minimally, it can help your exaggeration choices, even if you're rendering like Krueger (or Sergent, for that matter!).
I don't mean to ramble or preech... I guess there just aren't as many enthusiastic artists around me that much, so I'm excited to see people excited about caricature.
OH - and if you have a few extra bucks saved this fall, come to Orlando for the NCN convention (www.caricature.org) ... my GOD it's amazing.
Oh awesome, that's what I was hoping to hear. I've been studying face/head stuff for years, but it just stupidly dawned on me that I could know proportions and angles and anatomy like the back of my hand but it isn't going to do me a damn lick of good if I'm not drawing a specific face with actual character to him, y'know?
I started studying Disney animation recently to add a bit of pizazz to my character's poses, even my live model figure drawing stuff, so I figured caricatures (which I've always enjoyed) would do the same sort of thing for faces. It's harder to overexaggerate than underexaggerate, I figure, so I'm gonna give it a shot.
Thanks for the advice, and keep up the awesome work!
No problem... and check out Steve Silver's work - get his little sketchbook (volume 2 out this summer) - I look at his work almost every day.
I checked out your website, and though i like these celebrity sketches, I think I actually like your live stuff more. Maybe it's because those are fresh faces I've never looked at before, but some of those are awesome. When you capture the volume just right it really makes a charicature sing. Good work, love the blog.
I agree - live work is more inspiring and exciting. When you can see a face in 3-D it makes it far more interesting to draw and challenge yourself... so many options.
I'm planning to self-publish a book full of this work by the fall (fingers crossed!) called REJECTS
if I buy one, can you draw a quick caricature of me on the inside ahhaa
...hey I know Andy tight!
It's always great to see your work, Joe, and I'm loving your blog. It might sound weird, but my favorite part of your caricatures is the under-sketch you do. (for those of you who didn't know, the final is drawn with pure unforgiving marker, so he does a quick 10-second gesture of the face usually.) I feel like I see your thoughts more looking at those, and the rest is icing on the cake. I've also always been impressed at the variety you pull off with only 48 colors to choose from (that's all you get with art stix). Hope to see ya before the NCN convention, and before the San Diego Comicon.
Man, you're makin me want to go back to doing park caricatures... I did it for a couple years for Kaman's back in Virginia, I remember seeing some of the stuff you were doing back then too. Ballsy! Although I never felt like I was stretching my art super hard when I was there (was too scared of not making rent! ), it was the best thing I could have done for speed and confidence. I never drew in public before that job, now I regularly go out and sketch. The good of it outweighs the bad, I definitely agree. Thanks for sharing!
edit- haha abe avatars...
hehe lol, you're good!
naw fat kid, there's probably NO pencil involved, just markers. From doing it long enough and seeing good caricature artists like Joe do it, I'd say there's really no formula (not for the good artists), and especially there's no one way to exaggerate a face. It's why Sebastian Krueger can do 50 different paintings of the rolling stones and they're all right on. After studying thousands of faces, I think you start getting a feel for what's normal and what's unique. I'm not there yet, but I'm at the point where looking at someone's funky body is entertaining.
my god, you have no idea how pissed off people can get over a piece of paper. It's breathtaking.Originally Posted by Egets