THANK GOD FOR celebrities! What better way for a caricaturist to practice his art and to show the world his talent than by drawing caricatures of well-known faces? From all fields of life, the personalities who make their mark will receive wide media coverage with their phots splashed across newspapers, magazines, the internet and TV.
And a BIG THANK YOU to Sir Tim Berners–Lee for granting us the world wide web as we know it today (with some obvious reservations, of course). As, without Google’s huge repository of celebrity images, I would still be occasionally paying out licence fees to photo libraries or slavishly clipping photos from newspapers and keeping scrapbooks. (Newspapers and magazines are still very useful but not always close at hand like Google.)
Film stars, musicians, TV presenters, politicians and sports personalities all manage to somehow imprint their features upon our consciousness even without us being unaware. The newspaper and TV reports suggest that they live in some glamorous, rarefied world of wall-to-wall luxury and indulgence so that it’s a total shock to sometimes see them walking down an ordinary city street. One thing about being a caricaturist is that I am constantly surveying people’s face wherever I go and often come across a celebrity, especially in the centre of London. Only the other week, I was walking up Piccadilly when I noticed the actor Hugh Grant walking past me in the opposite direction. He glanced at me fleetingly obviously thinking “Oh my God! There’s the famous cartoonist and caricaturist Simon Ellinas!”
Hugh and I go years back, though, when I was booked with two other caricaturists to draw celebrities live behind the scenes at Comic Relief. He was there along with a host of other celebs including Vic Reeves, Sir Ian McKellen and French and Saunders. There a quite a few events where I am booked as a live caricaturist where they have celebrity speakers and presenters. But it’s a different matter drawing celebrities live as opposed to from photos. Some stance quirk of fate – perhaps it’s nerves – makes most live celebrity drawings fail to be as good as those drawn from photos. I remember on famous failure of mine with the comedian Ben Elton, although he was gushingly grateful for the pathetic scribble I had managed to do for him.
The selection of caricatures of celebrities here are mostly based upon those who use Twitter and many of them responded to seeing the caricatures posted. A new book is now in production based on these caricatures for which I will be writing ‘bogus biographies’. This will be the caveat I need to be able to indulge my satirical imagination as much as possible while making fun of all these celebrities.
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