witty portraits
August 22, 2006 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Pablo Lobato is an Argentinian graphic artist who uses color and geometric shape to create witty portraits and caricatures. More works are available at his website (sound & flash alert). His site's select links to other caricaturists are great, including David Cowles who he names as an influence and the brilliant Hannoch Piven.
posted by madamjujujive (15 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Sitting here with a grin ear to ear. Thanks mjjj! All those portraits are amazing! It's like the zen of color blocks. With such abbreviated, blunt geometric shapes an entire character is vividly created. How the hell do they do that?!

And they are so damn witty! I do especially like Hannoch Piven's but they're all good in their own way.

Another master portrait creator of sublime simplicity.
posted by nickyskye at 10:06 PM on August 22, 2006

Be sure to check out his own site:

posted by Clave at 10:29 PM on August 22, 2006

Wow, these are all great. At first I wasn't compltely into the Hannoch Piven stuff (The colors and sleekness of Lobato's skewed my anticipation), but some of them are just so amazing, like the Louis Armstrong one (the trumpet is the shadow!).
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:51 PM on August 22, 2006

Clave - mjjv links to that site in her post.
posted by jonson at 12:19 AM on August 23, 2006

Those are amazing. And kind of depressing because I can't get my completely-artistically-talentless mind around how the hell someone can make a set of bold, abstract, geometric shapes instantly scream "Tom Waits" or "Jack Nicholson", when I can barely colour inside the lines...
posted by Jimbob at 12:22 AM on August 23, 2006

Amen, Jimbob. See also how Picasso draws a dove with four lines and a dot.
posted by Harald74 at 2:49 AM on August 23, 2006

Fantastic, thanks madamjujujive. Graphic art colliding with caricature.

Just from what Jimbob has said, I pixelized a greyscale next to a photograph of Stevie..

I think that makes it a little easier to see how you might start identifying sectional shapes and prominent features from a portrait. Still, it takes a well-spun mind take it to the degree Lobato manages. This is why he be the artist and I be the consumer.
posted by peacay at 3:43 AM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Domo arigato, Pablo Lobato.
posted by grubi at 5:35 AM on August 23, 2006

peacay, thanks! That really does help uderstand how he can isolate the shapes.

Lobato names both Picasso and Hirschfeld as major influencers, so good calls nickyske and Harald74. The Hirschfeld link is great, thanks!
posted by madamjujujive at 5:56 AM on August 23, 2006

peacay: What are you talking about? You don't need to pixelate an image to identify the shapes like that. You're not identifying the shapes in an image of a person, rather the character of a person. Obviously if you don't have a visual mind it's not going to work. If you do have a visual mind it's not that hard to do, no different then any other character sketching, just geometrified up.

Also, aren't these featured in Entertainment Weekly?
posted by delmoi at 6:50 AM on August 23, 2006

What are you talking about?

You know when someone says that they can see a fish playing tennis in a cloud formation and after you look at them like they were beamed in from planet, you look back up at the cloud and turn your head slightly on the side and squint a bit and after a suitable pause you go: "Aaaaaah yeah, riiiight".

posted by peacay at 7:18 AM on August 23, 2006

..another planet..
posted by peacay at 7:26 AM on August 23, 2006

Thanks for the good comparison of the 2 Stevie Wonder pics peacay. I think it's a combo of depicting the shapes/form/lines in a person's image and, somehow, expressing their character too.
posted by nickyskye at 8:29 AM on August 23, 2006

David Cowles appeared regularly in Entertainment Weekly. The approaches are very similar.

I can't see either how the telling shapes are indicated in the above demonstation. The caricature is clearly Stevie Wonder, and I think is most indicated by the distinctive way he holds his head. There's another caricature of him on this artist's site, and the head is held in the same posture. I used to draw caricature. Not this type; I was most influenced by Mad cartoonists, especially Mort Drucker, who is amazing in being able to capture anyone from any angle, and I like the work of the French artists, Morchoisne and Mulatier, who, with their detail and careful modelling, are at the other end of the spectrum. But now I look at photographs and I get lost in them; I can't see what makes anyone distinct. Peoples features can look so different at different angles and lighting conditions, and change through expression. On the net I can find fifty photos of someone, but I can't determine what makes them them. I can't look at that photo of Stevie Wonder and see his head as an oval, I can't see his mouth as an oval. I see a thin upper lip in the photograph, but a large upper lip that in the drawing, and I know that large upper lip has to be there or it wouldn't look like who it does. I look at the photo and think, is that Stevie Wonder or that Hey Ya guy from Outkast, but the drawing immediately reads to me as Stevie Wonder, the artist's choices describe the personality perfectly.

I haven't been familiar with this artist, but I've never been able to determine how David Cowles is able to make such clearly identifiable caricatures out of a few lines and swiggles and dots, and out of shapes and colours that shouldn't define the form of the face, but destroy its form instead. But then it's always been magic to me how Hirschfeld was able to build identifiable drawings by sketching notes in his pocket in the dark.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:11 AM on August 23, 2006

So nicely said TimTypeZed.
posted by nickyskye at 9:32 AM on August 23, 2006

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