Like most folks, I’ve tried to find creative ways to stay busy during this whole pandemic thing. Since I’ve had so much daylight and so many weekends without commitments, the house and yard are looking pretty good. In fact, the neighborhood in general is looking a lot better since everyone else is in the same boat.
To keep life interesting I’ve also taken up new hobbies like learning the guitar (I’m making progress, slowly but surely) and growing a beard (the jury’s still out) and resuming old ones like reading vintage pulp novels and drawing. On the latter front, I took another stab at caricature using a stylus on my 10-inch Kindle. I go back and forth on whether I like it, but anyway here’s where I ended up.
Hopefully you recognize that as two-time Bond actor Timothy Dalton, or maybe you just guessed it was “some take on James Bond” because of the tux and gun (hopefully I at least made THEM recognizable).
The task I’ve set for myself — besides drawing with a stylus, which can be challenge enough — is to capture a likeness with as few lines as I can, hopefully arriving at some kind of individual style as well as getting across who the person is. Certainly I’ll never be in the league of the greats like Mort Drucker, Jack Davis or of Tom Richmond, who manage to walk a fine line between “real” and “cartoony,” but maybe with practice I can come up with a style that’s consistent and my own.
Anyway the cool part about digital drawing is the ability to “cheat.” I can create a “pencil” layer and “trace over” it with more controlled lines, then throw away the “pencils” like they were never there. I can isolate eyes, or a nose or mouth, and drag them around if I got the relationships wrong. I can even enlarge or reduce elements if I need to, or realign them if they’re off kilter. Of course I could do all those things on a piece of paper with an eraser, too, but it’s so much cleaner and easier this way, and if I get several steps in and decide I don’t like the way it’s going, I can go back as many steps as I need. Try erasing ink, or removing color from a drawing on paper.
If nothing else, I look at it as a learning experience; every mistake I make, every adjustment or do-over is a lesson learned for next time. Hopefully it’ll rub off on my “real” drawings, too. After all the only way to improve is to practice. And right now, I’ve got plenty of time for that.