Caricaturing Kevin Phillips

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.



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