Dave's Caricature Blog
Happy New Year. Thank you to everybody that supported my 'Red and White Legends' project towards the end of 2016. I have been thrilled with the response to it, taking orders from all over the country and receiving lots of great feedback. This really wouldn't have been possible without people supporting it by sharing, liking or commenting on it on social media, writing reviews on my website, telling friends and family about it, and of course, buying it - whether through my site or through the stockists in Sunderland. I am hugely grateful to all of you.
The calendar itself was quite an undertaking when considering the hours that went into it, initially in producing the caricatures - The older players were a particular challenge as source imagery is hard to come by. All players, up to Gary Rowell, were drawn from black and white images - often of poor quality, with the colour added last of all. For the Raich Carter caricature I used a good close up image of Tom Cruise to determine skin tones and detail.
Once all the individual illustrations were complete it was a case of setting the layout and designing the front and back covers, I must thank the people who I relied on for copy checking and proofing - they know who they are. Once printed and thankfully sold there was the logistics of ensuring all orders were delivered promptly and correctly. I wasn't the most popular person at our local single-counter post office as I turned up with my box full of envelopes every other day!
I'm looking at starting work on this next year's calendar as soon as possible, It could be Legends Volume 2 - or maybe Cult Heroes, I'm also looking at producing calendars for other clubs. If anyone has any ideas on this - please leave a comment or get in touch. I'm always grateful for feedback and always happy to discuss new ideas.
Being a self-employed artist is not always straightforward, and there a often big risks involved in order to succeed. Some days when the emails ease off and the phone stops ringing it's hard to resist reaching for the jobs paper and plotting a return to the security of full time employment. Ultimately, aside from relying on what ability I have, along with my work ethic, I'm reliant on people buying in to what I do. I hope that in return I offer something unique, useful and interesting - and with your continued support I'll continue to do so. So thanks again, your Facebook likes, shares, messages, comments (even the Newcastle fans!) help to get my work in front of a wider audience. And your willingness to put your hand in your pocket and support me enables me to keep the gas on, as I while away the cold winter nights frantically searching online for grainy images of Nick Pickering...
I caricatured former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips as part of a larger project that I'm working on. I would estimate that I spent around 15 hours on this - spread over about a week in January. I would typically just dip into it in between working on commissions and watching Making a Murderer on Netflix...
It was drawn and digitally painted on my Wacom Cintiq 22HD in Photoshop CS4.
The first stage of any caricature is to find a good source image, if the source image is poor then the caricature has little chance of being successful. I tend to agonise over source images, Ideally it should have good lighting, be crisp and clear, and be a good representation of the person.
From there I start sketching, producing small quick sketches to try and figure out the areas of exaggeration, With Phillips the exaggeration was pretty subtle, centred around the nose and the ears, with the forehead reduced to emphasise these key features. I refine the sketch until I'm happy with it and I continue to refine as I introduce values and then colour.
Once I'm relatively happy with my sketch I block in some basic tonal values, in this instance I worked from a black and white photograph to ensure that the lights and darks were accurate, then I work more closely, zoomed in building up the detail in the features and all the time refining the features and ensuring the values are correct.
The bulk of the detailing is done in greyscale, once I feel that is complete I introduce colour from a fairly limited palette, working over my value painting with the colour, while maintaining the existing values. From here, I adjust, refine, paint, add detail and repeat until the face is complete.
I then sketch the body from a reference photo, and overlay the face onto the sketch on a separate layer, to ensure that there is a good connection between head and body, and it doesn't look like it's just been 'thrown on'.
I then block in colours very loosely, paying close attention to the values and the lighting to ensure that it looks natural, then once again I build up the detail, gradually working tighter to ensure a 'realistic' finish. The final stages involve adding the finer details such as the sponsor logo and club crest and then finally refining the background, to do this I used a reference of the crowd at the Stadium of Light, working fairly loosely, before blurring the image to place the emphasis on the foreground.
As ever, on reflection I'd do certain things differently, but I'm happy with the final caricature, I think the likeness is good, the pose is interesting and the time spent on rendering has paid off.
Any long-suffering Sunderland fans out there, pining for the all too brief 'glory days' under Peter Reid can buy limited edition prints here
Thanks for reading.