Monday, October 27, 2008

B.B. King



A couple months ago I posted my caricature of Elton John that I drew as my entry for the August contest run by the National Caricaturist Network (NCN). Though there is a token prize offered to the winner, I think that should be just considered a bonus, as the real satisfaction is gained from taking on the challenge of drawing whomever is the subject for that month. For October, member Dave "Rock" Cowles came up with a rather intriguing subject dear to his heart: Legendary blues guitarist, B.B. King. I guess what I like best about this monthly contest is that it challenges me to draw somebody who I might not even think about caricaturing, as I usually gravitate towards either my personal favourite celebrities or somebody currently in the news.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed drawing B.B. King this month, though I must admit it was tough to work from what reference I could find. As I've mentioned often, I prefer to work from video as opposed to still photos. This was particularly important to me this time, as Mr. King is quite notable for his very extreme expressions as he plays. He has a rather endearingly comical face that is continually scrunched up and stretched out in his intense concentration, which makes for rich subject matter to capture in a caricature. Most of the still photos I found through a Google search really didn't help much in that regard, although I found them useful for some small details in the latter stage of my drawing, especially in approximating his guitar. Since I didn't have any video reference in my VHS or DVD collection, I ended up doing all of my rough sketching from viewing YouTube videos, as small in dimension and low res as they tend to be. Just for interest's sake, I'm including my pencil rough here along with the finished inked artwork.

Also, I think B.B. King must be seen in action to be fully appreciated, so here is a YouTube clip that I referred to, though not the one primarily used to achieve this caricature, which unfortunately cannot be embedded:

11 comments:

Ale said...

Oh is great! Not just a caricature, B.B. King too! I love the Blues and I love cartoons, so... you are great doing that. Congrats!!

Tony DiStefano said...

Love that drawing of the king!Hope you post more drawings especially the roughs.

Carlo Lo Raso said...

Very nice Pete.
I've seen B.B. King live on several occasions and you've captured his expression perfectly. If I were to say anything it would be that his guitar, "Lucille", needs to look more like it should. But that's just a blues fan being "nit-pickey".

Best.......Carlo.

Andy J. Latham said...

Brilliant Pete! You've captured him perfectly! Caricature is one of the things I want to be able to do most, but alas is one of the things I am able to do least!

Deniseletter said...

For me BB King has a difficult face,the amazing thing is that you capture him by simplify so well his traits beautifully! Comparing vid, roughs and the final art teach us more so that's what they're important.Also What are the brushes and paper you use for the contouring? and How to apply or trace them to the paper.

Pete Emslie said...

Thanks for the nice comments from you all!

Carlo - I didn't know you were a blues fan. B.B. King looks like he'd be wonderful to see in a live performance. Hey, when are you coming up this way again? Any chance you'll be visiting your folks over Christmas? If so, let's get together for dinner again.

Denise - I use a pure sable watercolour brush: Winsor and Newton series 7, #2. I find I can do most of my inking with this one brush, though I will sometimes also use a Hunt pen nib for cross-hatching or very small details. I like to work on thin bristol board rather than the thicker illustration boards, as I like to tighten my drawing up by tracing it through from the rough on my lightbox. The bristol board I use has a nice surface: not slickly smooth but with just enough of a very fine tooth to it that accepts the ink line well. And it's thick enough that it will not buckle in large areas of solid black.

Deniseletter said...

Many thanks!,This is useful.

J.R. Spumkin said...

So you DO contstruct your caricatures!

Oh, and thanks for explaining what you used. I love it when artists explain the tools of the trade.

Boris M. said...

Awesome Pete! He looks great, I love how you did his mouth.
Your rough makes me want to animate him.

Will Finn said...

oh man Pete--you've outdone yourself on this one. i love the Big Boy and this is like a psychic soul portrait. Freakin' gorgeous.

Aaron said...

THat's really cool. That feels just like him. Did you see Kruger's bb king painting? it's incredible also.