Drawn to your liking
Several junior reporters met master Hong Kong caricaturist Simon Leung Chee-pang for an intensive drawing lesson last Saturday. Here's what they learned.
Caricature live sketch is a 15-minute discovery process for both caricaturists and their clients. First, caricaturists look for the most distinctive features on their subjects' face. As they do so, the artists start chatting with their clients to help them relax and behave naturally.
The idea is to keep the clients engaged, which brings out a range of emotions on their features. These emotions can then be transferred onto the drawing to make it more vivid and lifelike.
For caricaturists, doing live sketches isn't just work. It's also about having fun.
To caricaturists, the Golden Nose resembles the Academy Award to filmmakers. The International Society of Caricature Artists [ISCA], which has been around more than 20 years, organises the award presentation every year. It includes such categories as 'Black and White' caricature, 'Most Humorous' and 'Speed Drawing'.
But the highlight of the award is the Golden Nose, which goes to the finest and most accomplished caricaturist.
These awards are only open to members of the ISCA at the moment.
Simon Leung honed his craft by learning from Golden Nose-winning Japanese caricaturist Kage Nakanishi. Nakanishi spent six years acquiring caricature skills in the United States. He set up his first Caricature Japan shop in 2009 to promote the art form in his homeland.
Inspired by his master, Leung is also striving to popularise caricatures here.
Lack of popularity
'Caricature is not very popular in Hong Kong yet,' Leung says. 'I want to set up a local caricature institute and to spread caricature worldwide.'
Leung has not always been a caricaturist. 'According to local tradition, parents will rarely want their children to do a job that seems less profitable. That's the reason I didn't attend art school when I was young,' Leung says.
But he is about to prove that you can make your dreams come true. Leung quit his job as a construction engineer and started working full time as a caricaturist last August.
'Now, nothing matters more for me than letting more people know what caricature is,' he says.
Principles of caricature
Caricature employs three main elements: resemblance, exaggeration and statement. Resemblance is what makes a drawing relate to its subject. It requires very careful observations. Exaggeration expands and magnifies a subject's unique features. Statement creates a message: ridiculing a politician, for instance. Humour is also an essential component of caricature.
Caricaturists seek to strike a balance among these elements for the best effect.