Before you scroll down any farther, what does the style of this sketch remind you of? Can you think of any other art genre that the shapes and colors evoke?
About the sketch itself, this guy was looking out the window of a noodle shop, and I had about five minutes to paint him.
To get the soft edge around his "love handle" area, I painted the gouache wet into wet. The white edge lighting is made up mostly of the white of the paper. I used Venetian red for the background color because the walls were painted that color.
Out of curiosity, I put my sketch into Google's "visually similar" image search, and I was surprised by the results.
What it served up was a whole bunch of World War II posters from several countries, including the USA, Nazi Germany, Communist China, and Soviet Russia. There's also a Saturday Evening Post cover and a Western movie poster thrown in.
These results are narrowly focused on a particular period of illustration with a particular purpose, that of arousing the energy of the people to work and fight.
What does that tell us about the style of my sketch? Did any of you think of propaganda art from the 1940s? Poster art from WW II is not a big study of mine, and certainly wasn't in my conscious mind when I was doing the sketch.
I also wonder what this tells us about the visual intelligence behind Google's image search algorithm? It seems to be based purely on abstract colors and shapes, and it pays no heed to subject matter, other than the fact that it was a figure in a setting.
You can try putting your own art into Google's "visually similar" image search and see what you come up with.