Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Nick Smith's Inky blinky Caricature Blog

My Caricature/cartooning Blog

Hello, if you have found this blog I assume you are an artist or perhaps a caricaturist or probably just followed my links…

Let me introduce myself, my name is Nick Smith and I am an Artist, an airbrush artist. The airbrush is a great tool; you can produce subtle blends, lines, softness and hardness all with a single instrument. However adherence to a single method of working can make you lazy or somewhat ‘comfortable’, this comfort zone then produces predictable results. But after using one for 18 years you can get into something of a rut.

I have always prided myself on learning new techniques and methods of working, in fact after the camaraderie, the art college/Uni new media is the main thing I miss about being there. You don’t learn anything new unless you stretch your self- you must have the element of ‘risk’, but NOT be afraid to fail.

I recently went to the Shrewsbury Cartoon festival I was very impressed with the standard of talent there, cartoonists who are professionals and published daily or weekly- and who can’t learn something from this? http://www.shrewsburycartoonfestival.com/

Watching a booth set up with 4 caricaturists I saw there was quite a queue, I stood with other watchers as these caricaturists worked there magic. The last time I have watched something like this was in universal studios Florida. They were using black markers in Shrewsbury, but in Florida I remember them using airbrush to add colour and tone. They were all very adept and good artists, I decided to queue up to get drawn, I must admit I don’t do this very often as I’m a bit of a critical b*stard, probably due to being torn a ‘new one’ a couple of times a week at ‘Stourbridge college of Art’ (but that is a whole other story). However I feel I provide constructive criticism as I’ve been doing this my whole life and I have a BA (Hons) degree (I know- who doesn’t! LOL). My point being, that having been on the receiving end of a pointed critique and feel qualified therefore to comment.

But I digress (somewhat like Ronnie Corbett), I queued and was drawn by a charming fellow called ‘Rog’ who I had earlier pressed for technical information about pens, he was very helpful and filled me in on his use of a 'pentel' brush pen that took a cartridges! Such joy! The pain I feel when a pen I have just about got used to has to be thrown away due to running dry.

This is what he was using: http://www.artifolk.co.uk/catalog/products/calligraphy/pentel_pocket_brush_pen.htm

Cartridges: http://www.artifolk.co.uk/catalog/products/calligraphy/pentel_pocket_brush_pen_spare_refill_cartridges.htm

And rog himself: http://rogcartoons.co.uk/

  • And the result:

And the result: ( I took the diabolical liberty of adding colour)

I was very impressed, firstly at the speed and secondly how great it was. I think of myself as a happy chap, I try to see the world through an optimists eye and I enjoy life, and I felt he’d captured all of that, he’s got my personality- This, I feel, is what caricature ‘is’.

I am not a particularly vain man. I am aware that I have big teeth, and ‘puppy dog’ eyebrows as an American girl once pointed out and downward sloping eyes..and he got them all. There is a split second response to looking at an image, particularly one of yourself, that indefinable moment when something ‘feels right’ (see Malcolm Gladwell’s Brilliant book ‘Blink’). Something is either right or it’s not.

So what’s this blog all about, well, inspired by my outing to Shrewsbury I ordered the ‘Pentel’ pen and cartridges and a pad of A3 bleed proof marker paper (Hey, I know how to live!). They arrived the next day so I had no excuse but to set to work.

Firstly: THE Rules

I had decided to lay down the law to myself, I have always found that results are better if you define what you are going to achieve from the outset rather than wander about aimlessly.


  • Get 90% of the likeness down within 10 minutes (this is an exercise in getting used to the ‘Brushpen’ as well)
  • No erasing, I am sketching in with a ‘blue’ pencil, then straight in with the inking
  • I will post the results on my ‘facebook’ page( or here), no matter what, ‘warts and all’ Aaaaarrrggghh!!!
  • I will take all criticism on the chin and learn from it..

If I don’t do this I will ‘cheat’ , measure in etc, or leave a drawing and come back to it. No, I must take on board the mindset of the street artist, it has to be finished there and then. I used to do this on the Boardwalk in ‘Ocena city’ MD, so I can do it…

So here we go:

As I had a Queen book by my bed, I flipped to it until I came across a circa 75' Mick Rock picture of Freddie. I like the looseness of this, but exaggerating the eyes didn't work as well as I had hoped. The mouth went a bit 'Steven Tyler.’

Freddie ‘solo’ album era, better but emphasizing chin throws other things off balance…

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

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