Blog and Artwork updates of Singapore caricaturist, portrait artist and illustrator - Jit

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What is a caricature?

Just read this article somewhere on a blog this morning.

According to Lenn Redman, a caricature is:
"an exaggerated likeness of a person made by emphasizing all of the features that make the person different from everyone else."This quote is taken from Redman's book
How To Draw Caricatures, which I have just ordered from Amazon to try and improve my own caricatures. I think this is the best definition of 'caricature' I've ever heard. Redman also makes the distinction between 'distorting' features, and 'exaggerating' features, 'exaggeration' being "overemphasis of the truth", while 'distortion' is "complete denial of the truth". In this way, caricature should be seen as an exaggeration of certain features of the face, rather than distortion.

He also references Einstein's theory of relativity! Basically, that we perceive things as they are only because of their relationship to each other. So if somebody has a big nose, we need to draw it bigger, relative to the other facial features as well as relative to the 'average' nose size. Somebody's ears might look huge relative to his tiny head, but compared with an 'average' pair of ears, they might be no bigger at all.

Come to think of it - is that what Singaporean wants?
Of the caricatures I have done these 12 years, there are only a few clients who look for exaggerated caricatures. Most of them wants a good-looking caricatures. Some have moles, but requested not to make it too obvious, some even requestd to take the moles out. Some said no double chins please. They just want to look good in the caricatures for their boss, girlfriends and boyfriends, wedding caricatures, birthday gifts.
It is not easy to draw exaggerated caricatures.
Reason one being it is hard to capture one's unique features and exaggerate them, especially when they don't have unique features. This is especially usual in Asian faces.
Reason two is my clients don't allow me to do so, even if I can do it. Hence, I can only exaggerate it in a mild way, not to offence them, as they are paying for the caricatures. I can play up more in live sketching in events (hehhehheh.... cos they are getting it free) . However, I still have to hold back a bit, as I need them to keep my artworks instead of throwing into a trash bin after the event.
As when we exaggerate some features, it will be quite subjective, what I see in my eyes may not be what the client sees. If I play up too much on certain features, besides being ugly to them, the likeness may be lost, to them. Hence, I have to balance between the resemblance and the exaggeration part. I have thoughts throughout these 12 years to break free from what I am doing now and do up some caricatures what caricatures should be. However, there's just too many hinderance there. Some of my friends told me that, this is my style which my clients have used to and like too. Be myself. Do something different from the traditional caricature style. (???!!!) Caricaturists will tell me that - hey, this is not caricature!
Perhaps, I will have to slowly inject more exaggeration into the caricatures, slowly chaging my style and my portfolio. There's a risk that I may loose some clients, but there may be chances of getting new clients too. Hahaha.......
See some of the exaggerated caricatures I have done. Do you like them? And do you like to look like that? Cute, exaggerated.... and ugly???!!! Hahaha....... Let me know.

# Just received a comment from a client through email, for a caricature done yesterday.
"The drawing of my boss looks a bit chubby as compared to the picture sent? He wouldn’t be happy if we have it framed up… is there anything that we can do to sort this out?"
See?Just slight exaggeration and they can't take it ......... Sigh.............So much on the exaggeration talk of caricatures above.


Unknown said...

hi jit. this is me, sudin - studio69. have visit your website. very nice website. seems like we are facing many clients tht cant see clearly what is caricature... when we start to distort their face.:)

see you around jit! nice work!

jit said...

Yes, indeed. Sigh..........

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