Thursday, January 23, 2014

Custom "Kardachas" Illustration

Making portraits or custom illustrations of real people is fairly unknown territory for me. I'm an avid doodler, a pro at ladybugs, birds, hearts and flowers, but drawing real people? Uh…not my thing. I mean, I love drawing little girls for some reason, all fictional characters, cartoony looking with big heads, doing something innocent and child-like. Very rarely do I attempt to draw a cartoonified version of a real person, though. I've done it before, but it's a bit too "serious" of a job, and since I already have a 9-5 "serious job," I find balance and joy by creating light-hearted children illustrations outside of a corporate setting.

My cousin though, she seems to have a little more faith in my abilities than I do. She wanted to do something special for three of her closest friends last Christmas and asked if I could create a "doodle" that included the four of them. She asked that I included big sunglasses, long eyelashes, big purses swaying all over the place, and overall a very lively, girly illustration. Gulp. This was no doodle request, it was "serious" work - ha!

You see, doodles are usually quick drawings or scribbles, often done absentmindedly. Even when created with care and attention to detail, doodles are usually linear and informal. She on the other hand, wanted a custom illustration of real people that included a few elements that define their personality.

I admit, I was a little nervous at first. Since I don't have much experience with portraits, I thought "what if my drawings make them look like owls and bugs?" You know, like the things I usually draw. Nonetheless, I was up for the challenge!

Below are the pictures I referred to the most out of all the ones she sent me for inspiration.

And below is the final result...

Once I got started, I had a lot of fun with this project. I wish I would have had more time to create full bodies and an awesome background setting that reflected the fun they have when they're together. As it is, I spent a total of 6.5 hours on the project. This includes the time I spent going through photos studying their features, practicing my hand-lettering for the heading and sketching the characters before recreating them in digital format.

So, what does "Kardachas" mean? Here's the story in a nutshell…

They got all dolled up one night during a vacation trip to Mexico. As they walked down the street someone pointed them out saying they thought of themselves as the Kardashians. They burst into laughter and began fighting over who was Kim. They settled the argument by stating they were ALL Kim and jokingly assigned themselves the names of Little Kim, Middle (or Medium?) Kim, Big Kim and the oldest of the group would be Senior Kim. Ha, ha! Cute story, right?

I'm so glad I accepted the challenge and I'm glad my cousin had enough faith in me to request that I create something that would be so very special for them. She LOVED the drawing, and that alone made my day. As an added bonus, I feel I grew a bit more as an artist and I was reminded once again that it's good to get out of your comfort zone every once it a while. You'll be surprised what you can accomplish when you do.

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