I saw Steve Brodner speak, once, and I was surprised to hear him say that his caricatures are not necessarily driven by the subject’s features. Not initially, anyway. He showed a number of examples of, say, George Bush the Younger that started as different shapes tied to Brodner’s concept—triangle, square, rectangle, hourglass—no matter how they started out, they all ended up looking like George Bush in the end. My fellow is no one in particular, he is just an experimental head based upon a wedge instead of the ideal cube. I thought I’d see how much realism I could infuse into such a head. This is another ballpoint doodle, by the way, sketched on a page of my Apica notebook (wonderful things, but more about that in another post).
Lately, I’ve encountered a number of inspiring ballpoint pen doodles on the web. I’ve been so distracted by the anachronism of liquid ink (and the neverending search for interesting paper that can stand up to it) that I’m happy to see such accomplished doodles by other folks with this everyday instrument. It reminds me to not get so hung up on tools. Just draw. I picked up a 5-pack of Pentel R.S.V.P.s the other day at Office Max for something like 4 bucks. This doodle was sketched using one of those pens on a cheap memo pad. I’m pleased with my doodle, save for the rung that inhabits its own perspective.
There are some great comments at Drawn about ballpoint pen techniques in response to DQ, a collaborative sketchbook. On the subject of humble materials, there is also The Pencil Revolution. Of course, it quickly becomes apparent that finicky people (and I include myself in that group) can be finicky about anything. Even a wooden pencil.
As someone who obsesses over minutiae, I found this affirming:
“Don’t bother, it’s just a little thing!” … “It’s not worth the time, no one bothers with that.” In that case, you must spend the time! … if no one else bothers with it, you probably just found your competitive edge! —Don Schenck, Signal vs. Noise