Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ritz, Boston - Holiday party for St. Francis House

I try to capture someone's personality and essence,
not just their physical likeness.

The moment someone sits, I sense their personality
style and try to draw that too. That's what makes
the caricature 'feel' like the person.
But, you might ask, isn't essence invisible? How can
you draw it?

It comes through in the eyes. The mouth.
The general expression. These are physical things
I can see in the form of lines, shapes, spaces...
But also...

Does the person start talking to me excitedly?
Are they laughing or giggling? Smirking?
If so, I draw them that way.

Or do they just sit quietly, poker-faced?
I try not to force a non-smiler to smile because
it's not in their nature. My goal is to capture
their nature, so I draw them straight-faced.

Endy is the woman in the picture above. She
had a quiet, graceful presence. An easy smile.
You can imagine my surprise when she said,
"I like to shoot pool."

What happens to the eyes when someone smiles?
Do they morph into little black rainbows?
Or, like Endy's, do they stay wide open and
alert? (hence, draw little round circles.)

All it takes is one eyebrow drawn at
the wrong angle, and you've botched the essence.
It took me years to learn how to draw
without thinking.