004: You Don’t Need Talent to Draw Caricatures

Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2015


There is a pretty well known story in the Bible about David taking down Goliath. Goliath was a giant and David was a mere shepherd boy. By the Biblical account God delivered the giant into the hands of the boy and that’s how he was defeated with a stone and a sling.


I want to throw this out for your consideration (1 Samuel 17:34-37):


But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,  I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

David was tending sheep for years and fighting off lions and bears. He was training for this very moment from boyhood when he became a shepherd.

I will tell you that I totally believe the Biblical account that with the help of God, David defeated the superior warrior, Goliath. I believe that God was with David in those early shepard days fighting off the lions and bears, training him for his big moment with Goliath.

Indeed, God gave him the talent, but David had to train to keep that talent sharp.

I bring all this up because today I want to talk about talent. If you you like to draw and are even a little bit good at it, I am sure at some point someone has come up to you and said, “You’re so talented!” or “You have such a gift, I couldn’t do that”. Your ability gets reduced to some random and magical phenomenon that only a few people are chosen to have.

This is completely untrue and it really cheeses me off that so many people subscribe to this notion.

Let’s go back to the Bible and back to David. David is credited with writing the majority of the Psalms, approximately 75. In Psalm 33 he writes about singing and playing instruments skillfully unto the Lord. I looked it up and skillful is defined as having training, knowledge, and experience. Translation: talent and skill take a lot of hard work.

Let’s look again at David and his psalms. out of the 150 in Biblical canon, he authored about half. He wrote a lot and these are just the ones we have in canon. I wonder, how many B-sides did David write that are not shown? I believe that if he wrote this many, then he must have wrote more. He probably had a lot of practice at writing.

I wonder also, how many *scars did he have from fighting off those lions and bears? I would wager that he got more scars in those early shephard years than he did in service of Saul’s armies when he fought other warriors. He may have gotten one or two, but by that point he was trained-up, a pro, and knew what he was doing; he had had plenty of practice.

Why am I harping on this so hard? It’s because I am talking to my past-self. I’m getting fired-up because I don’t want you to make the same mistake of thinking being a good caricature artist just happens. I don’t want you to look at my work or anyone else’s work and say, “That person’s just got it. It’s easy for them to do that because they’re naturally good”. It’s easy and looks good because of skill and hard work.

I’ve mentioned this before in Blogpost 001, that the goal of drawing these 500 faces in 500 days is that it’s practice for the next 500. I’m working hard because I don’t want to show up against Goliath without having fought off a few lions and bears first. I need to practice.

Join me in drawing one face a day for the remaining 500 days. You don’t have to worry about catching up; I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. Just start with one and keep going. Post on Instagram and hashtag #DSed and #500Challenge and we’ll keep pushing forward.

Every face has a story to tell and I want to teach you how to tell it.


*Speaking of scars, I had a pretty intense surgery over the weekend and I had a tutorial-style post scheduled for this weekend, but I couldn’t get it together in time because of physical restrictions. I hope you enjoyed this one.