Most live caricature work I get is drawing individual caricatures – but this was to produce a an A3 colour group caricature. I recently had an enquiry about drawing caricatures at the prestigious Carlton Club in St. James’ Street in London. The idea was that a group of military chaps who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq were having a get together to remember absent friends, and they would like a caricature of each of them to take home a memento – initially 13. However, they then decided to make it a group caricature so that they could all be together and it would then be copied for each person to have one.
Usually, group caricatures are something that I like to do here in the studio rather than live, particularly if it is to be for a presentation. It’s quite a task to produce a group caricature of this size in just two hours! By completing group caricatures in the studio I can spend a bit more time on the caricature likenesses and take the project at a more leisurely pace. Also, placing people around a circular table can be a bit awkward as there tends to be a big gap in the middle of the picture and the caricatures are pushed around the edge. I much prefer doing people in a group caricature huddled together then they can be arranged a bit more sporadically.
Some of the people who were part of this group wouldn’t be able to make it to the meeting so photos were sent prior to the evening. This gave me a chance to at least rough out the scenario and pencil in the initial caricatures. When I arrived I was welcomed by the organiser and offered a glass of champagne – I politely accepted and and started taking photos of the guests on my tablet – much easier working with both photo reference in front of you as well as the individuals themselves. The initial 13 had crept up to 17 and when I arrived I was told that there were actually 23 in the group! I had to revise my plan and make room for the extras! They had set a table aside for me to work at and complete the caricature and I made a start.
After a couple of hours the group caricature all came together with the addition of details such as plates, cutlery, glasses of wine, candelabras and of course a bit of colour. Most were wearing bright red uniforms and had an array of medals – details which always helps with caricatures of this sort. I ended the evening by making the presentation of the caricature to the organiser – it was very well received! Phew!
Never did finish the glass of champagne!