No exaggeration. Glenn Ferguson is a master of his craft. How’d he get that golden nose? With talent, persistence and the right tools.
Glenn Ferguson knows noses, especially exaggerated ones. If you browse through his online art gallery, you’ll find plenty of exaggerated noses and other amplified facial features on display. Glen is a digital caricaturist. And not just any run-of-the-mill digital caricaturist, mind you; Glenn’s recently been awarded the title of the 2013 Master Caricaturist of the year by the International Society of Caricature Artists (ISCA) and was also the recipient of the Golden Nosey trophy in 2009.
You may have already run into Glenn at a convention or corporate event and had your portrait drawn by him. For the past for 19 years, he’s been hard at work drawing live and on-the-spot caricatures at trade shows, conventions, company soirees and even weddings.
Endless Possibilities with Digital Drawing Tools
"I’ve been drawing as long as I could remember," said Glenn, "and very early on, somewhere between crayons and college I decided I wanted to draw every day for a living. I’ve always enjoyed drawing people, cartoons, and humorous illustrations, and got a job drawing caricatures to help pay for school. I wasn't very good at first, but through drive and persistence I got much, much better."
Somewhere along the path of Glenn’s artistic journey he became intrigued with digital art. "Before I knew it I realized digital art was everywhere: comic books, illustrations, advertising, etc. It was clear that artwork and the world were becoming more digital, and making a living doing traditional artwork was going to be more challenging." Glenn decided to jump headfirst into the digital realm and bought a Wacom pen tablet and art software. "I was hooked from the start. It was only about six months later that I bought a Cintiq 21UX, and my drawing has never been the same. Drawing directly on a screen with endless possibilities was like learning to fly." The natural evolution of Glenn’s work led to him drawing live digitally. "The response was overwhelming and people loved it. I set up a separate screen for the audience to watch my progress, and I printed the caricatures out to for people to take with them."
Ditching the Wires for a Mobile Workflow
But this process wasn't without its own headaches. "Between a laptop computer, a separate TV, a printer, and the Wacom Cintiq, there were lots of wires and cables. Although my results looked great, I had a pile of wires that resembled a plate of spaghetti." When Glenn learned that Wacom was coming out with the Cintiq Companion, a seamless marriage between the precise pressure-sensitive drawing experience of a Cintiq, and a powerful computer capable of running multiple drawing programs, he pre-ordered it as soon as he could.
"The Cintiq Companion arrived sooner than I expected, and right from the start I was very impressed. From the packaging to its overall design, it's an amazing machine. It's incredibly fast and responsive. It takes only seconds to boot up, and only seconds to bring up any of my drawing programs. I draw mostly in Photoshop, and it works seamlessly and effortlessly with the Companion."
Glenn also saw an improvement in his workflow thanks to the design of the device. "The Express Keys are conveniently-located and make my work quick and graceful. I easily switch to portrait mode and this machine is tailor-made for what I need. It has a great adjustable stand for landscape mode that conveniently lays flat against the machine when I work in portrait mode."
Because he’s always on the move, capturing his subjects at events, he needs technology that’s mobile and easy to use anywhere. "Two simple hookups to my second TV screen and printer and I have a super-clean, professional-looking setup that sets up and breaks down in minutes. I used to have to lug tons of equipment, cables, and cases to make my job portable. This simple, yet powerful machine solved so many problems that are now a thing of the past."
Portable Possibilities Lead to Professional Opportunities
Glenn says that being completely portable has now opened up many new possibilities. "I'm able to go to group sketch meetings, go draw in a coffee shop or park, or actually sit on the couch all while still drawing in Photoshop, which only a few months ago required sitting in my studio or packing up a ton of equipment. I plan on bringing the Cintiq Companion to figure drawing classes and art conventions, something that I never imagined possible a few years ago. I can actually email clients, create new drawings, do revisions, and send off finished products all from whatever convenient spot I choose, even if I'm out of town. I recently did this on a plane which I'm still completely amazed that I have the opportunity to do now."
"Being able to make a living drawing is something that I feel blessed to be a reality in my life. Having the drive and ambition to be the best artist I can be every day makes every drawing and every job a new challenge. That also requires using the best tools I can afford. In my mind there's no comparison or equal to Wacom's drawing tools. I have people ask me all the time about the Companion when I'm drawing their caricatures live. It's great to not only tell them about it, but actually utilize such a machine to make my job and my life easier."