Emotions lead to expressions and without expressions, caricatures are merely dead drawings, only marginally better than portraits. To breathe life into caricatures we must attempt to reflect their emotions on their faces, even postures.
According to Robert Plutchick there are 8 basic emotions:
If the list was limited to these 8 emotions, and corresponding 8 expressions, the caricaturists would have been a happy lot. The problem lies in the following two facts:
- humans experience these emotions in different degrees – thus, the intensity of fear could cause either a slight tingling of the spine or a need to…scat. Thus, one might be “apprehensive” or “scared to death.”
- humans often experience a mix of different emotions and not a single, isolated emotion. We experience a combination of anger, fear, and sadness when we experience jealousy; a concoction of sadness and disgust when we are dumped in love; and a heady mix of anticipation and joy while falling in love.
The following drawing (a very rough sketch. Allow me to quickly blame it on bad lighting and a crick in my neck painstakingly acquired through my bad posture,) too presents a mix of emotions. Which ones can you identify?
A sketch from my sketchbook – Photographed in horrible light.
And now…a story 🙂
I was at the bank waiting in a long queue.
I ask you. What does an artist do when she must kill time?
Correct Answer: She draws.
So standing between a rather large gentleman in front and a rather skinny lady behind, I drew out my sketchbook and began sketching.
I ask you again. What happens to an artist when she starts drawing?
Correct Answer: She loses touch with her surroundings.
So as I furiously sketched some furious looking faces from my imagination, I lost touch with reality. People who stood around me realized that they could kill time too…by watching me draw.
I ask you, one final time. What happens when a small crowd begins to watch an artist?
Correct Answer: One of the interested onlookers decides to destroy the artist’s peace.
So while I was floating on a different and rather enlightened plane, hanging safely from the parachute of peace, I heard a chirpy voice, which sliced through the fabric of my metaphysical parachute and sent me hurling back to the harsh terrain of reality.
“Ooooooooh…,” cooed the young fashionista who had materialized in the bank while I was on my plane of enlightenment. “So you are left-handed? So am I.”
I stared at her blankly. Oh wow! I thought. I must be so fortunate to meet another one of the 750 Million lefties of the world! Who would’ve thought of it! Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew that I should throw away my sketchbook, open my arms, and hug the lefty woman like I would hug my only sister who I may have lost in the Thar desert (and who my parents never told me about.) But I didn’t. Instead, I chose to lose that opportunity by nodding at her and saying, “um…oh,” whatever that meant.
The young woman gave me an odd look (expression?) that I read as, “is she dumb or what?” Actually, I was dumb…founded. I guess the lefty-lefty bond is something to cherish and celebrate, but I can’t imagine what good can come out of it.
- Could it be that if two lefties walked into a bar, they’d get two drinks for the price of one?
- Or could it be that if two lefties got together, they could change the world?
- I mean, what difference does it make to anyone, if two lefties fell in love and had lefty babies?
The only thing that happened that day was that I couldn’t complete my drawing, and she went back with a long-face. So when one lefty accosts another lefty with an “oooooooh…” neither gets anywhere!
Now, back to the drawing board to right the wrong…the sinister…the gauche…the…
Oh, what the heck!