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Rhett and Link – Opposition Sketching

October 12, 20172 Comments

One of the most frequent viewer requests we get of which YouTubers to caricature are Rhett and Link. They post funny sketches, music videos and and in-studio challenges to humiliate themselves for our amusement. For this demo, I’m going to sketch both of them at the same time using their opposing features to figure out how to best caricature each of them.

Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning

I begin with Rhett’s face because he seems easier to caricature. He has a much more distinctive look than Link, who is a little more average in appearance. Remember, we’re doing what I call “Opposition Sketching,” where we draw two people side by side and use their opposing characteristics to create funnier exaggerations. This method works really well to help you figure out how to caricature boring or “average” faces.

My first step is to lightly sketch the gesture – or the initial concept for each exaggeration. Since I drew Rhett first, I now look at how Link differs from Rhett. They seem to both have long tall heads with massive upswept hair, so the differences here will be found more in their facial features. To me, it seems that Link’s eyes are set lower on his head, while Rhett’s are much higher. And Rhett’s eyes bulge out of his head more while Link’s are sunken in beneath his expressive eyebrows.

Remember though – these are just my personal opinions. You may look at these two and get completely different ideas about how to push and stretch the features. In caricature, there are countless ways to exaggerate a likeness. Every artist will have a different take, and they can all potentially be great likenesses. That’s one of the amazing things about this art form. As long as you balance the proportions in a way that rings true to the subject, you will get a successful caricature. Moving back to Rhett’s face, I try to figure out those proportions. I’m still in the thumbnail gesture sketch phase.

And I won’t move on and commit to my shapes until I’m confident that the likenesses are solid. If the likenesses aren’t showing through at this stage, with these simple shapes, no amount of shading or rendering will fix it. So if it’s not working, stop here and figure it out or start over from the beginning so you don’t end up spending valuable time rendering a bad drawing.

Of course, I am happy with the thumbnail sketches and begin refining the shapes and darkening the lines to more fully resolve the faces. Rhett’s eyes and eyebrows are really important to his likeness. They’re so distinctive. Not only their shapes, but the fact that the eyes are spaced far apart by a wide bridge of the nose. The nose itself has a classic Roman shape. And his forehead slopes back at a sharp angle. By comparison, Link’s forehead is taller and more upright. His head widens as it goes up to his hairline, while Rhett’s head narrows at the top.

In these double caricatures, I generally finish the easier face first so that I have that one to help me finish the second, more difficult face. As I said in the main lesson, you can use any two faces for this technique. They can be different ethnicities, genders or ages. Just so long as they’re facing roughly the same direction and are making similar expressions. That will help you see the differences between the two faces more easily.

Remember though, you don’t need to try and draw every feature in a contrasting way. Sometimes, both people will share some traits. Like both of them have large expressive eyes. But they’re shaped differently. They also both have long tall heads, as I said earlier. But I found ways to express those head shapes differently. In other words, you can find contrasts in the subtleties as well as in the big shapes. Be true to each person. Don’t arbitrarily distort their features just because you think it might be funny. You need to treat them each as an individual and look for what makes them unique.

And when you can’t figure out what it is that makes each one unique, look back at the other person as a guidepost and discover where the differences lie. And then amplify those differences.

In case you’re curious, I’m using Kyle Webster’s Animator’s Pencil to draw the lines and his Shady Graphite brush to add the values. I only mention it because it is the number one question I get.

And now for some final thoughts. Since these are still just rough sketches, the head construction is a little loose and, well…rough. My next step would be to do an Abstraction trace-over to fix any misalignments or unintended distortions. Check out my earlier lesson on The Abstraction for more information on that. But I am really happy with the likenesses here. I think I would have had a much harder time figuring out how to caricature Link accurately if I didn’t compare and contrast him with a second person. This is a great technique for existing duos like Rhett and Link, Abbott and Costello or Penn and Teller. But you can pair up any two people for this exercise. Its greatest benefit is in how it helps you caricature an average-looking person, when you can’t figure out what to exaggerate. The more different they are from each other – the more contrasting their appearance, the more easily you’ll be able to caricature both.

Rhett and Link rough caricature sketch

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  1. dgood says:

    hey court, I noticed your cross hatching skills are impeccable. Do you plan on doing a video?

    • Court Jones says:

      Thanks, man! Cross hatching won’t be an individual lesson in this course. But the final lesson will cover some concepts related to good shape design, edges and line work. So I have a feeling it will be touched upon. Also, In at least one of the Part 1 premium videos, I recall that I discussed cross hatching a little bit while narrating the demo. I’m sorry I can’t remember which one right now. Maybe one it’s within Lesson 3 or Lesson 5 premium.

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