Caricature Capers Part 3: How People Really Do Not Want to Be Drawn
Drawing caricatures at a live event can be, as I have mentioned before, a terrifying experience. Many of your "subjects" should not be sitting for a caricature at at all: They have no sense of humor and are extremely insecure about any of the "flaws" or distinctions that make them a unique individual. Why they are getting a caricature drawn of themselves is a question we will never know the answer to. To avoid hurting the feelings of these folks, or worse inciting a nasty confrontation, I usually take the "safe" route, and draw a tame, polite, "funny" likeness of the subject. I am usually not thrilled with the results, but the subjects are, and I avoid any physical injury to my person.
Cartoonist Joe Bluhm, on the other hand, has no qualms at all about drawing folks the way they are, warts (and worse!) and all, with great style and humor to boot. I have never met the man, but I admire him greatly and wish I had a fraction of his talent, and a smidge of his guts when it comes to live caricatures.
Recently, I was flipping through Bluhm's excellent book, Rejects: The Extreme Art of Retail Caricature. The book is a collection of caricatures returned to the artist by disappointed/outraged clients at live events. The drawings are hilarious, and just go to show how ignorant the general public is about this sort of thing.
Inspired by Bluhm's work, I dashed off a quick doodle of Perfect Wife in his style. (For you "methods and materials" nuts out there, I did it with a conte crayon on newsprint, and it took under 2 minutes to draw.) I think it came out really well. PW is a gorgeous woman, but she is unique, and the drawing captures that in a humorous way, in my humble opinion. Even PW liked it, or at least pretended to*.
Perhaps someday, I'll have the guts to draw like this at a live gig. For now, I'll leave it to braver souls than I. Like Joe Bluhm.
*UPDATE: It turns out, PW really didn't like this rendering of her. At a recent family get together, I found out her family didn't like it either. That does it. I'm never going to family get togethers again!