Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Some Rough Stuff

Oftentimes I will sketch personalities from TV with the intention of refining and inking them up later, maybe even doing them in full colour. Here are a couple of recently rediscovered caricatures still in their embryonic rough pencil stage. I was combing through a file drawer full of rough sketches and came across these that I'd sketched a couple years ago, so I thought I'd post them up here just for the heck of it.

The one of Jon Stewart I believe I had sketched from when he hosted the Academy Awards the first time. I was planning to try drawing him again a couple times from "The Daily Show" before committing him to final inking, just to be sure I had the likeness to my satisfaction. That's actually something I often do, waiting for a few days at least before taking a look at a caricature anew with a fresh eye, just in case it then strikes me as falling short of being a good likeness. If I hurry to finish it up immediately after sketching it, I have sometimes been horrified to see that it just isn't the person I thought I had drawn when I look at it later!

In his book, "The World of Hirschfeld", legendary showbiz caricaturist Al Hirschfeld describes this very same dilemma back when he'd been commissioned  in 1967 to do a caricature of TV star Garry Moore for a network ad campaign. After tossing off a sketch of Garry Moore, one of Hirschfeld's neighbours, Mildred Jones, who was visiting with his wife Dolly passed his drawing table and exclaimed, "That's him all right - I'd know him anywhere. Buster Keaton!" Flabbergasted, Hirschfeld ran to his wife to ask her who it was. Without hesitation, she replied, "Buster Keaton". It took him many more furious attempts at sketching Garry Moore before Hirschfeld got a positive identification from wife Dolly, whom he claimed was his most honest critic.

This caricature of Uma Thurman has been languishing in my file drawer for two years as well, although I'm pretty sure it's her, as I had run it by several of my students at Sheridan that year when I was covering the art of caricature, and they all recognized it as lovely Uma. This is one that I really must finish up in colour someday.

19 comments:

flashfox said...

I love the Jon Stewart drawing. I recognized him as soon as I saw it.

Craig Zablo said...

Love the sketches and your thoughts about them. More please...

marcobucci said...

Hi Pete - my friend Adam deVries and I were looking over your blog today at work (although I've been here many times before!) and marveling over how simple you manage to keep your drawings, yet still capture exactly the feeling of the person. These two sketches are perfect examples!

Char said...

When I saw your John Stewart, before I read the article, I thought of David Duchovny... After knowing who it was, I returned back to the drawing and could see the Stewart, but something about it still looks "Duchovny" to me. Perhaps it's a bit of the hairstyle and nose? I just wanted to let you know, as it may read incorrectly to others :)

Pete Emslie said...

Char - And that's a very valid criticism, as there's always the danger of a drawing giving a false first impression of being somebody else. I will probably try a few more sketches of Jon Stewart from his show before I take it to final.

Marco - Coincidentally, I was also just looking at your blog the other day, having followed the link from Adam's site. I was marveling at your skills as a painter - those portraits in oil are wonderful. I told Adam we should all get together after you guys finish up for the day at Pipeline. By the way, I hear that you whoop Adam's butt playing "Mario Kart"...

Steve said...

The rough stuff is so smooth...awesome!

Stephani Soejono said...

i think it's the eyes pete. Coz Stewart's eyes, in my memory is always in a half-closed cynical look. And I can just hear him going... O RLY??

Rodrigo said...

Pete, you rule. That's all.

--Rodrigo

Alex said...

Awesome stuff!!Your caricatures are really amazing!!

Skim said...

Your Uma is respectful of the subject and maintains her elegance while still holding an honest and dead on likeness. You haven't taken the typical/more obvious route, and your rendition of her is refreshing to look at. Beautiful work!

Skim said...

Still, when I look at the drawing a tiny part of my brain says "Katherine Heigl"! :)

Kali Fontecchio said...

Love the little story! Do you have a Keaton caricature to show :p ?

Pete Emslie said...

Hi Kali,

Maybe I'll try sketching your Buster sometime. But only if you and Katie yodel for me first! :)

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

That Uma caricature is great! Not to take anything away from your Jon Stewart, but I personally appreciate female caricatures more, because it's very difficult, in my mind, to caricature someone who's nearly flawless.

Since Uma's sixty percent amazon and forty percent Hotty McHotterton, I conclude that you've chosen the hardest girl celeb to caricature and done so with aplomb.

- trevor.

crylic said...

Hey Pete, your blog is crazy inspiring for me. I come here all the time and always leave with a sense of awe and determination to draw my butt off. Great stuff once again.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir, I hate to bring up something so obscure, but your comment on Mr. Fitzgerald's post actually printed correctly. Due to the way blogger wraps text it appears to cut off the ends of website addresses.

To access a web site simply triple click to highlight then copy & paste.

Aussie Heron said...

Peter if you read this great.
Long time ago you did a drawing of me.Canterbury High.Still have it.Nice to see you got where we thought you would. Super.

Check out Facebook and a group Canterbury 69-74 .

Lots of people connecting.

John Musker said...

Pete:
I love your caricatures. Have you done a book? They are character revealing and graphically sparkling. Your women are particularly good. I seem to recall a Leslie Caron that was superlative. I'd love to see your versions of the three women who intrigued you on the awards: Anne, Amy, and Marion. Further down your blog ( I haven't checked in in a while) are some great ones. Your Hillary and Obama are over the moon in their speficity particularly around their mouths. Your Hackman is wonderful and Chuck Jones is the man himself. Jon Stewart, though, strikes me( very subjectively, of course) in the "close, but..." category. Your Uma also doesn't sound the pure notes that your best women do. The real Uma is beautiful but there is something about the nose and lips that seems more caricaturable. She has a uniqueness that is elusive. In any event I look forward to learning from and being inspired by your brilliant drawings.

Corey said...

I recognized Uma right away, but I didn't know that was Jon Stewart, if that helps!

I'm really enjoying your blog, keep up the good work