Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Live caricaturing – survival techniques for the nervous

Ever had a time when you were so nervous your hands shook? Imagine then having to draw…and not only draw but do it well! That is how I usually feel when doing a live event.

For my first event, I was producing zigzags for straight lines. Even now, I still need to psych myself up before drawing live caricatures.

Here’s how I prepare myself, beforehand.

  1. Practice drawing caricatures -using photographs for reference. I concentrate on one feature repetitively e.g. eyes, noses or mouths
  2. Gather together equipment – pads of paper, pencils, rubber, drawing board etc
  3. Practice quick drawings using images from magazines.  I use these to experiment.Marilyn 005Like with Marilyn here. I thought I’d play with the lips, not sure it really works. The “doe caught in headlights” look is accurate and I’m loving the body! 
  4. Practice some more. ( Do you see a theme emerging here?)
  5. Practice drawing real people by press ganging family members.  It’s usually accompanied by phrases such as “Go away, I don’t want to be drawn!” “ Pleeeeeese leave me alone!”… @@@@@@@@ (This stage doesn’t tend to go too well as my family are wise to all my strategies!!- NB Must devise some more cunning plans!)
  6. Practice some more. Here I might concentrate on body positions. It’s a good idea to have a stock of poses that you can draw comfortably. You know, like a ballerina, footballer, artist, musician,… I could go on!
  7. Go into blind panic that I’m never going to be ready and it will all turn out to be a disaster!
  8. Practice yet again…
  9. Concentrate on practicing 5 minute sketching with marker pens!
  10. Check my equipment and pack up the car.
  11. Pray!!! Maybe I should do that earlier in future?

On the day I aim to

  1. Arrive early and get set up.
  2. Think positive. i.e. keep telling yourself you’ll do well not I’m going to get the noses wrong!
  3. Try to make the sitter at ease when I’m actually doing a caricature. It usually that helps steady my nerves! Usually I’m fine once I’ve started drawing.

So, what do I do after the event?

  1. Pack everything away
  2. Collapse on the sofa with a bottle of wine vowing NEVER EVER to do THAT again!

Do you have any suggestions for remaining calm before a live event?

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