Hans Christian Andersen
A caricature of Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen. This was done for Danish artist Kim Larsen's online gallery of the writer, which features interpretations by many artists.
You'd think someone with so many caricaturable features would be a walk in the park to draw. One false start, three trashed drawings and eight or so abandoned roughs later, I came to the final version above. Here, you can see the only other version which got past the rough stage, but to me it turned out looking more like an American Indian elder. The problem I found was that you have all these prominent features- the nose, the skull-like forehead, sunken eyes, bad posture and so on. If you decide to exaggerate all these traits they tend to cancel each other out and you're left with a fairly mundane caricature. But the good thing about all the false starts was with each drawing I became more and more familiar with his features and was able to push the caricature further each time. I don't think I could have gotten to the final drawing above on a first attempt.
On a different but similar note, I was in Denmark last year for the 200th anniversary of H.C. Andersen's birth, and here are a few little happy snaps from the trip. The first was from a play about all his fairytales put on in his hometown of Odense, the second is my son Alex in front of Andersen's childhood home.