30 Nov 2010


Ive been asked by a friend to do a cartoon caricature for her Mam for Xmas which I thought was a fab gift and a good drawing exercise for me! Kay is an art Grad, she does Photography mainly but we used to go to Art together back in school so she will be good to work for as she'll be able to point out weaknesses for me to improve on.

The photograph she sent me was quite small but it was of her mum pulling a silly, toothy smile that she often does when she's done something 'wrong' or around things she loves; in this case her favourite horse.

As a double joke Kay wanted me to do quite a harsh caricature to make her look more horse-like and for comic value when she finally hands her the drawing for Xmas. As there was only 1 photograph to work from I scoured Facebook for a picture of Kay as they are extremely similar looking, hence producing the above cartoon of Kay.  Both have massively cartooney, almond-shaped eyes but are quite sleepy when not pulling a daft face etc. I figured this small study would be a springboard to not only loosen myself up but to get an idea of the similarity in features between her and her mam.

Attempt 1 from the photograph. I didn't put too much detail in the face but sketched the basics. I wanted to make the teeth large enough to be funny but not so large as to offend.

Attempt 2 went alot better. I spent alot of time on the eyes, drawing and correcting as I went along and added some nice curves to the cheeks and facial muscles. I also bowed the teeth a little and made the mouth area generally larger.

Attempt 3 was for my own enjoyment focusing on the teeth/ mouth even more and reducing the cranium. I can see where I could push this drawing even further. I do love the contrast between this and the 1st attempt I made, it shows development and my trail of thought in the process. The more I look at this version the more I want to convince Kay that I should use it instead of the 2nd Attempt which she prefer!

Next was the horse design! I made an attempt at a rough few sketches to get used to drawing horses, which I find really difficult usually but today I guess my love for drawing came back after weeks of not being able to! The 1st drawing was definitely what I wanted to go for in regards to structure and relative size of the cranium to the mouth area.

Attempt 1 of the horse was difficult getting the mouth at the sides even and right. He looks a little worried which I didn't intend. I do like the way I'm drawing teeth at the moment, I guess those Anatomy exercises sunk in! :) (Just to point out: the detail on the snout and forehead are patterns that her horse has).

Attempt 2 is slightly more rounded and I played with a longer cranium and knocked the iris off his eyes to make him look less doe-eyed. I like the angle of the white fur on his snout this time and the angle of the teeth.

Composition attempt 1 was more or less a trace I did before work to put the two characters together on the same page. There really isn't any sort of composition in this scene and I dislike it for that. I love the entire bottom-half of the horse's face but hate the eyes. I also think the more I trace Kay's mum I lose more of the details that make the cartoon look like her so I think I'll have to be careful of this and stick to referencing the photo and that 2nd caricature.

Composition attempt 2 went alot better its a bit more together but again I have issues with the mum looking less like herself. I prefer the mouth and her teeth in this cartoon but after Kay mentioned she wanted her mam on the left side I think my drawing went to shit as the photograph is looking to her left. Here I had to improvise and make her look to the right. This works for composition I feel but I am regarding this attempt as an extreme rough*. The horse is also not what I wanted facially; I think I need to thin his cranium, lose the thick eyebrows or stick to the 2nd design.  His body is my usual Bugs Bunny/ Jon K style I know! But I liked how I handled the hoof holding Kay's mam and his thrusty chest and butt-cheeks!


 I got annoyed that the more I drew Kay's mam the less it looked like her so I went back to the photo and had one last go reducing the size of the cheeks and more of a softer look for the teeth.


My Internet attempted to foil my plans today and it did so by procrastinating its connection causing me to put back me applying for a job as well as sending the 1st inked draft of Kay's cartoon for approval. Suffering from a stinking chest infection and runny nostrils, the problem was finally rectified after 6hours of sulking, 3 cups of tea, 6 biscuits, a mug'O'pasta and some kicking of the modem and whining and pointing at the router..

Its definitely not the best ink-job of my life, this was a particularly nasty task as I had some major problems with Toonboom today (more things to add to the nest of circuitry hell!


1st draft of the coloured version:

I think I will change the following: The Hooves are too much of a greeny sick colour, the tail/tone, possibly add some more brown and yellower tones to her face and add more of the horses brown tones to her hair. I also need to erase the bottom of the drawing to make it less 'straight-edge' or simply move the composition up and erase this. I think I like her coloured top best and the hoof texture, just not the colour.


I really am crap with colour especially when choosing a background colour to frame my characters. Im not even entirely convinced by my choice of vector brushes for the stars and strings but here goes anyway:

Colour choices:

 If I had to choose I'd probably say I liked this one the best or the last but I honestly think someone else could do a much better job! :P

 I didnt want to go for typical blue, green or red or anything garish but something a little more pastel and subtle but I will have to see what Kay suggests!


Red Background and more cow-printage:)

Really not too sure on the richness of the red but if I went a bit more pastel with the colour it would be pink instead of red, her mam's fave colour. I think I might experiment with some grey-tones instead of the orange/ yellow glow framing the characters. I think I find this background too consuming and the characters have become a little lost in vibrance.

Less richness on the red and some subtle greyer tones. Still not happy!

This green is a little cold and doesnt pick up the very warm tones in Kay's Mam's face at all. The browns even seem colder than what they are with this background. Not a fan.

 This turquise is alot nicer to look at. It blends with the composition but doesnt dwarf the characters or under-tone them.
Red really wouldnt be my ideal choice for this comp. Its too rich and the lighter I go the pinker it seems to be but will have to see what Kay thinks!

More to come soon!

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