Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Happy Birthday, Jim Garner!

 I kept it simple for this year's tribute to my favourite actor, Jim Garner, just drawing one more caricature of him as Jim Rockford from TV's The Rockford Files. However, I thought I'd also give you all some insight as to how I go about creating one of my celebrity caricatures. As I've noted in past articles, I don't rely on just still photos to draw my subjects, preferring instead to study and sketch them from video so as to get more of a sense of their overall design and inner life and personality. But additionally I will go back and pause on a few freeze frames in order to study the structure and surface details in greater depth. Lately I've also been using my digital camera to grab a few reference pics directly from my TV screen. Here are some samples I took to develop this new caricature of Jim.

This first pic gave me the overall pose I wanted of Rockford with his familiar crossed arms looking very casual:

I rather liked this expression, where Rockford is looking a little concerned as to whether they've got a solid case against the guy he suspects is a hired killer who's attempted to kill his client:

I took this shot specifically for the mouth position showing both sets of teeth and tongue as he's speaking. Also the head angle is closer to the one I'm looking to draw:

Another pic that captures some of the overall expression I'm looking to depict in my drawing:

Like I mentioned before, I am also watching the video in action as I first gesture out my sketch, as that's the only way I can get a real feel for the personality and inner life of my subject. You can also see from my rough sketch how I start by gesturing and blocking in very loosely with a light blue pencil, then defining the forms with a soft black pencil while always thinking of it as "sculpting" the form as opposed to just drawing outlines. That illusion of solid structure remains an integral part of the process for me. Sometimes I find I have to do a few sketches, cobbling together elements from several in order to arrive at the final sketch, but this time I was able to get it all done in one shot:

Finally I use a lightbox to lightly trace the image in pencil onto a sheet of Bristol board, then tweak it a bit until I have the refined pencil art that is then ready for the fun part - the inking with my brush!

Once the line art is inked up, I scan that into my computer to colour it up with Photoshop resulting in the final full colour caricature of Jim Garner that heads up this post. Although I did decide to consult other photos through Google Image Search to select the colours of his shirt and blazer, as I've always preferred those 70's earth tones that Rockford wore rather than the grey outfit he's wearing in my reference photos above.