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Crafters display wares at Caledonia State Park

July 14, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

Kent Roberts draws a crowd whenever he sits down.

As a caricature artist, Roberts uses markers, colored pencils and pastels to draw portraits of visitors at craft fairs throughout the Tri-State area.

On Saturday, Roberts used a black marker to draw 12-year-old Katie Forbes at her favorite pastime - soccer - at the Caledonia State Park Arts and Crafts Fair in Fayetteville, Pa.

Approximately 200 crafters and artists displayed their wares at the annual event. During the day, visitors heard performances by Robert McKenzie, a bagpipe player from Fayetteville, and Sasha, an Ecuadorian band.

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The Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop was open to the public, and there were demonstrations of the Japanese art of fish printing.

There are a lot of misconceptions about caricature drawing, said Roberts, 46.

Some people think it's just about drawing a big head on a little body but the object is to select a feature that stands out and draw it prominently, then balance it out by de-emphasizing another feature, he said.

"I look for relationships. If they have a big forehead, I make the chin smaller. It's about stretching and pulling," he said.

An easily discernible likeness of Katie, a petite blond with doe eyes and a ponytail, began to appear within minutes of Roberts' placing marker to paper.

Roberts said he begins by creating the face shape and then uses a center line to align the eyes, nose and mouth. He fills in the drawing by adding shading and contours, he said.

It takes him fewer than 15 minutes to complete a color caricature. Because of his speed, Roberts said a friend jokingly refers to his work as "fast-food art."

In just about six minutes, with several people watching, Roberts completed the picture of Forbes enthusiastically kicking a soccer ball.

Smiling, the youth showed the portrait to her friends before heading back to her family reunion being held at the park.

An artist for more than 20 years, Roberts said he can draw from pictures but prefers creating art from life.

"It's not confining," he said.

Having a portrait subject present lets him study the face and its dimensions, said Roberts, of Shippensburg, Pa.

A commercial artist Monday through Friday, Forbes said he hopes to eventually retire and live off his earnings as a caricature artist.

He enjoys going to craft fairs because of the multitude of subjects, he said.

"Every face is different," he said.

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