Wednesday, January 3, 2018

1898 film of a British lightning sketch artist

A film from 1898 shows a quick sketch artist drawing caricatures of leading British statesmen.

The show notes say:
"An artist stands before a large sheet of paper on a stage or platform and draws lightning speed sketches of Henry Campbell-Bannerman (Bannerman), Devonshire, Harcourt, Arthur Balfour and Lord Rosebery. 
(Footage is speeded up, but he's still pretty fast!) He then starts to sketch Joseph Chamberlain, starting with the letters 'JOE', and drawing the face around them - very clever. Stop-frame animation makes two arms appear either side of the finished drawing, with a bundle in each, reading 'Protection' and 'Free Trade', respectively."


Roca said...

While I’m not denying this level of skill is possible, isn’t it more likely there are pencil sketches already on the paper that the camera can’t see? I know if I were doing something live I’d probably have something prepared.

Newt said...

Roca- many of these lightning sketch artists used chalkboards instead of paper; pencil lines are unlikely. No doubt the artist practiced the drawing several times beforehand. Reproducing the sequence of lines would be something like playing a well-practiced piece of music (rather than composing).