I was asked to create a cartoon image for a work colleague’s leaving do. The brief included several suggestions /in jokes that could be included in the image.
The only reference I had to work from was a mug shot photograph from the corporate staff directory.
I had roughly a week to create the artwork.
Up to this point I’d never accepted the challenge to create a caricature/portrait for a client (albeit this was not paid work and doing the work was optional). This was primarily because I hadn’t felt confident enough to achieve enough of a likeness to be acceptable.
- I will be able to produce an image that will meet the brief and be usable.
- This will raise my profile as a ‘serious’ illustrator and generate more work of this kind.
I created two pen and ink drawings. The first using a dip pen and the second using a fountain pen.
Both drawings used permanent Carbon Ink so that I could use a wash of watercolour on top of the drawing.
I used the mug shot photographic reference to draw the head and other stock reference for the hands.
The handwritten caption was in the style of Maria Calman that I’d used in Assignment 2 Text and image.
I scanned and resized the hand lettering and redrew the hands from the first drawing into the final artwork using a lightbox.
I emailed the client with a digital copy of the picture that I’d resized to A3 so that it could be printed if needed.
I felt anxious that I hadn’t captured enough of a likeness and that might lead to an awkward conversation but the response to the artwork was really positive.
What I learned
- Getting reference from a corporate directory is not great. I should have specifically asked for different/better photographs to give me more options.
- I can achieve enough of a likeness to do this.
What I’ll do next
- Completing this successfully has given me confidence to accept further commissions of this type.
- I will experiment further with caricature to see whether there is value in developing this part of my practice into something more substantial.
List of illustrations
Figure 1 – Hadfield, Hugh (2021) Test caricature [Pen & ink, water soluble wax pastels] In possession of: The author
Figure 3 – Hadfield, Hugh (2021) Caricature of Fergie [Fountain pen, water soluble wax pastels] In possession of: The author