Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some Real Characters

Last night I couldn't sleep, so I watched some old gangster flicks from the 50s.  It was a nice distraction for me to get lost in a black and white caper story, seems like I got a million things on my mind lately.  What I love about those old movies is the mindless determination the characters have.  Modern movies always have reasons for everything, and no one is really bad,  the world made them that way.  But in the old movies; bad guys are bad guys, and good guys are good guys.  Everyone has their side and they are going to shoot it out to the end.

Yet, as an artist I find these movies particularly entertaining because the actors are so interesting looking.  It think back in the day they made an extra effort to find great looking character actors, especially in gangster films.  Or maybe its the old style paramount lighting of the 40-50s.  It seems like directors back then deliberately celebrated the three-dimensionality of their actor's features with dramatic lighting.  Now days everything is flat, and everyone is good looking, even when they are supposed to be ugly.

While watching the movie I would hit pause and try to draw some of the characters.

      This was the first one I made, I thought it was good but I knew I could do better.

I hit pause again and made this sketch.  The guy had interesting features but I didn't manage to capture them the way I wanted, sometimes when drawing your second effort is a step backwards.

I started to warm up and was able to get some great expression.  Notice the great undulations of the contour line on the left, lots of curves.  Now I'm starting to get somewhere.

This guy was great, his head is like a pile of rubble with slicked back hair on top.  Lots of strange curves and dramatic contour lines, the kind of stuff that makes for great caricature drawings.

Ah, finally I got a good one.  I really started to push the exaggeration in this one.  Lots of undulations, these guys have faces that go on forever.  Fun to draw and great for getting my mind off of a stressful week.  I have a long way to go before I become a great caricature artist, because a great caricature artist could make a caricature out of anyone.  These guys already were caricatures.  So what I am doing is making a caricature out of a caricature. 

Whatever, it's fun to practice anyway.   

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