Wednesday, 4 March 2009

About the Sketches

A number of people on Youtube have asked me about my sketches of magicians. Two questions keep being asked: 'Why Magicians?' and 'Why are some shown in old age?'

There's one answer to both questions. These sketches are for an exhibition which is to be themed. All the sketches are drawn in ink. All the sketches are of magicians that have appeared on British television. Some of the magicians will have two portraits done of their appearance on a 'past' and 'present' basis. Most of the portraits done so far are 'in the present' portraits; the exception is Wayne Dobson whose portrait is a 'in the past' portrait.

One question, only asked by a few people, is 'are reference photos used?' The answer is yes. However, I don't attempt to replicate one photo. I have a small number of photos showing the facial expressions of the person in question, I choose one for the pose and then incorporate whatever 'character' I can see in the facial expressions of all the photos. For example, in the David Berglas portrait, the photos I used showed that he has a 'lazy' eyelid on one eye. Not a flattering detail but if I 'corrected' it in drawing a portrait it would undermine any attempt of presenting a resemblance of Berglas. These things are the 'distinguishing marks' that make each of us recognizable in even the simplest of cartoon drawings. That's where I had a problem with Wayne Dobson's portrait as a young man. His features were very symmetrical and so I had very little to use to increase the individuality of the sketch to highlight that it is Dobson.

Only one person asked me 'why are the sketches being filmed as they are being drawn?' Partly, it's a sort of video diary of the project progressing. Partly, it's for the tentative plan that under each portrait in the exhibition will be a small screen repeatedly showing the portrait being drawn. (Whether the latter will happen I don't know.) And partly, to publicise the project. Not all the videos will appear on Youtube. One has already been held back.

I hope this has been of help. I'm happy to answer any further questions. Please contact me at and replies will be posted here to the most prevalent questions.

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