A box of white paper, four black Sharpie markers, an easel, five chairs and eager subjects sit under a tree between the Mary-Livermore Library and water feature.
Professional caricaturist Richard W. Cloudt, 43, drew 35 to 40 faces of UNCP students, faculty, staff and community members at Pembroke Day on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On average Cloudt said he completes 10 to 12 caricatures (of heads only) an hour, but if he draws heads and bodies he can finish six to eight an hour.
“I felt like I was drawing a little bit slow, and I had a bunch of doubles with babies and when I get that sort of thing I have to do it with the pencil first because children tend to wiggle around. So that slows it down,” he said.
The artist said he draws on an upright easel so people can watch while he sketches and the position is a better for his observation because both the subject and his paper are in the same plane.
“Right now I’m working with a busted easel. It doesn’t incline, sometimes I’ll incline the easel so I don’t have to hold my arm so high, but I can’t do that with this one,” Cloudt said. “Last year I was drawing a lot of people and my knuckles in my drawing hand got sore, but I haven’t had any problems yet this year. The main pressure is on my right shoulder; it gets tired because I have to hold my arm up.”
According to Cloudt, drawing for hours not only takes a toll on the body, but also on the mind. Because he draws portraits and caricatures, Cloudt has to be careful not to make a portrait look like a caricature or vice versa.
“I have to really focus when I draw and it really takes a lot of mental concentration, so my brain gets pretty tired,” he said. “I feel burnt after these events. I’d compare it to how you feel after you take a long test, like the SAT. Four hours is pretty long, five is about the longest I’ll usually work.”
Since most people want their caricature to look like themselves, Cloudt said that he focuses on getting a good likeness of the subject before he worries about exaggerating any features.
“There are a lot of caricatures that have a really slick cartoon style, much slicker than mine. Mine is more rough and realist,” he said. “Some subjects really inspire exaggeration, some don’t.”
The caricaturist said he draws his subjects from different views, straight on, right, left, or a three-quarter view depending on the person—he may even ask for a smile.
“If they really don’t want to smile I don’t push it. Sometimes it’s not in the person’s character. It can be funny if you get somebody who’s grumpy, like a child—a grumpy child can be hilarious.”
Cloudt has been caricaturing for 22 years and gets most of his work through entertainment agencies; he has drawn at UNCP events for 10 years.
“I’m an event caricaturist mainly…it’s like being a musician— you get gigs. UNC Pembroke, at least last year, was my biggest customer,” he said. “There are three to five different entertainment agencies that call me on a very regular basis and then outside of that it’s networking and passing out your card.”
In addition to working at events, Cloudt teaches drawing and cartooning classes at Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh and the Arts Center in Carrboro.
“This week I’ve got a commission, it’s probably the most unusual I’ve ever gotten. They want me to paint this guy’s caricature on a surfboard. So he’s going to be riding a surfboard in the cartoon, but the cartoon is going to be painted on the surfboard,” Cloudt said.
Cloudt occasionally gets asked to draw portraits or cartoon illustration work, however, because of the economy he has been working at birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.
“Most of my work is in Raleigh and the triangle area. Chapel Hill has a bunch of fine arts people and maybe they look at caricature as a kind of cheap art form, but Raleigh and NC State have engineer folks, so they eat it up. Maybe they feel like it’s a simpler form of art they can understand,”Cloudt said.
Cloudt enjoyed art as a child and in high school began drawing cartoons for the school newspaper. At Davidson College, he worked on the newspaper staff drawing a comic strip and editorial cartoon weekly.
“I was really into it for a while and thought I wanted to be an editorial cartoonist when I got out of college. But I realized that I just wasn’t interested enough in politics.”
The artist’s first caricature job was at an art concession stand at Carowinds in Charlotte in 1986. Cloudt remembers that was when he started drawing live subjects with permanent marker.
“You learn fast, with a marker you either make a line or you don’t. You can’t really sketch with the thing,” he said.
Cloudt said that caricaturing has its own niche in the entertainment industry and that is one of the reasons he enjoys it so much.
“It sells and it’s popular mainly because it puts a person’s face on something,” he said. “You can sell artwork that has someone’s face on it because people like to see themselves”
Confront fear. Be Courageous. Forgive others. Take Responsibility.
These are four tips that convocation guest speaker Andrea Mosby-Jones gave to UNCP students seated in the Givens Performing Arts Center on Wednesday Aug. 27, 2008.
Although some students dozed off after the welcome notes by Chancellor Allen C. Meadors, Dr. Breeden Blackwell, chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Anthony Curtis, chair of the Faculty Senate and Hannah Simpson, president of the Student Government Association, Mosby-Jones interrupted their slumber with these words, “A person is old when regrets take the place of dreams.”
When she was 16, Mosby-Jones found out she was pregnant. Determined not to become a statistic, this life-changing event helped her realize the importance of making good decisions.
For 17 years, she has spoken to students, businesses and communities about decision-making and how to be successful.
According to Mosby-Jones, people cannot let their fears control their actions. She told students they need to confront their fears.
“Fear is real, but fear is not your reality… and don’t think fear isn’t always standing in the door,” she said. “Most people speak through their fears, not their dreams.”
Courage, according to Mosby-Jones, is vital to success. Things will be difficult, but the “hardest thing is having regrets for not trying,” she said.
“Let the past stay in the past;” and learn to forgive, Mosby-Jones said. Letting someone or a memory of an event put accomplishments on hold is foolish. “You have too much to live for.”
The speaker insisted that students start taking responsibility. To accomplish their dreams, students need a good education. Mosby-Jones said that professors can only help as much as students let them, and encouraged to ask questions in and out of class.
“Faculty cannot help you be successful without your permission,” she said. “Excellence needs to be the goal. We live in a nation where mediocrity is accepted. America can’t afford to be mediocre anymore.”
She explained that companies are employing people overseas because today’s American youth is not taking advantage of the opportunities provided.
“Make sure you have a plan ‘A’ and a plan ‘B,’” she said. “It’s in the journey that you build character,” and through character you gain the abilities needed to succeed. “Life is a purpose. Fulfill it.”
Mosby-Jones received a standing ovation as she concluded her address. During some parts of her motivational talk, students responded with “amen,” “yes,” and “that’s right.” The speaker woke a dozing audience, kept its attention, and offered advice.
UNCP junior Jermaris Genwright intently works at his computer as he designs his latest graphic arts project.
“I’m a graphic designer,” Genwright said, describing himself as creative and a good listener, two characteristics he believes will help him gain a career in advertising.
Genwright works free-of-charge odd jobs for small companies and friends to expose his name and work. He entered a logo design contest for the Mecklenburg County Health Department in Charlotte and won first place on Jan. 5, 2006.
Health departments deal with people of all ages, ethnicities and cultures, Genwright explained.
“If you look at my design you’ll notice that I tried to incorporate different races, ages, and family structures. You’ll also notice that no one has a face…because most sick people don’t want to be identified in the current state that they’re in. Most don’t want to be singled out or felt sorry for, so I didn’t give the people in the image a distinct profile.”
After earning his associate degree in graphic design from King’s College of Charlotte, N.C., Genwright is working toward his bachelor’s degree in public relations.
“Having only an associate degree makes it difficult to find work. I figured public relations would get my foot in the door, as far as advertising, since we don’t have a specific advertising major at UNCP,” Genwright said. “My plan is to go to graduate school and get my master’s in advertising. I want to work for a firm or hopefully I could freelance.”
The 24-year-old acknowledges his father’s influence in his graphic design and advertising career goals.
“I used to doodle a lot and draw things, and my father took pride in my work. I thought it was really basic, but he would take it to work and show people. When I told him I thought about going back to college [for my bachelor’s degree] he suggested something in art,” he said. “Art is hard to get into, but graphic design is better. You can still sell your work, but you can also work for somebody.”
While in school, Genwright focuses on his academics and works as the coordinator and public relations projects assistant for the Association of Campus Entertainment, ACE.
“It’s going to be a lot of work this year,” he said.
According to Genwright, he hopes to move out of North Carolina when he begins working heavily in his career field.
“I’ve been in North Carolina long enough, it’s time for a change. I’ve heard talk of Columbia, S.C. being real big on advertising. So I’m thinking about going there after I graduate,” he said.