Thrapston caricaturist always makes a good impression

Caricature artist: Thrapston: artist Adrian Teal in his Thrapston studio.'Thursday, December 6th 2018 NNL-180912-161718009
Caricature artist: Thrapston: artist Adrian Teal in his Thrapston studio.'Thursday, December 6th 2018 NNL-180912-161718009

Say the word caricature and the first thing many think of is a man behind an easel at the seaside.

You give him a tenner, sit still for 10 minutes, and leave with a sketch that will probably never see the light of day in your house.

Adrian Teal's caricature of Morgan Freeman sits proudly on the wall at his Thrapston studio. NNL-181212-100301005

Adrian Teal's caricature of Morgan Freeman sits proudly on the wall at his Thrapston studio. NNL-181212-100301005

But beyond the world of beachfront artists there are professional caricaturists drawing famous faces from their own studios - and one of the best is based in Thrapston.

Adrian Teal, 44, spends hours each day honing in on facial features at his High Street base and has seen his work displayed in national newspapers, books and on TV shows.

He was branded ‘a marvel’ by John Cleese at an early age and says he’s always loved caricaturing.

He said: “My father says he remembers vividly that when I was not much more than a baby, he put a pencil in my hand and gave me a sheet of paper.

Adrian Teal with a caricature of Donald Trump, which he created for the cover of a book called Fayke Newes.

Adrian Teal with a caricature of Donald Trump, which he created for the cover of a book called Fayke Newes.

“He said it was like a lightbulb went off.

“It’s something I’ve always done but it’s just one of those things where you wonder, “can I make a living out of it?”

“At some point you’ve got to make the leap but I was fairly committed from the word go.”

When Adrian was 10-years-old satirical TV show Spitting Image burst onto the scene and he was soon visiting the workshop the puppets were made in.

The Monty Python team, as caricatured by Adrian Teal. NNL-181212-100249005

The Monty Python team, as caricatured by Adrian Teal. NNL-181212-100249005

Head caricaturist David Stoten took him under his wing and tutored him, with Adrian paying his way through university by drawing cartoons.

Days after leaving university in Bristol he set up a studio in York Road, Northampton, where he was based for 22 years before moving to Thrapston last month.

He said: “This is a lovely little town, everybody’s really friendly.

“It’s been a really nice welcome, it’s an ideal place to work.”

Caricature artist: Thrapston: artist Adrian Teal in his Thrapston studio.'Thursday, December 6th 2018 NNL-180912-161705009

Caricature artist: Thrapston: artist Adrian Teal in his Thrapston studio.'Thursday, December 6th 2018 NNL-180912-161705009

Adrian, who lives in Orlingbury, says he gives people a “real going over” when he draws them.

He only ever works from photographs, looking at them for a few minutes before putting them aside and sketching without looking at the photograph again.

He thinks three-dimensionally and his caricatures often take several hours.

But how does he choose which facial feature to emphasise?

The former Wellingborough schoolboy said: “It’s like dealing with a first impression.

“When you first meet someone, certain things will stand out.

Adrian Teal's caricature of former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson. NNL-181212-100337005

Adrian Teal's caricature of former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson. NNL-181212-100337005

“As you get to know them better those things start to recede a bit so what the caricaturist does is really tries to pick on those things that stand out when you first meet them.”

Celebrities to have been caricatured by Adrian include Daniel Craig, Jeremy Clarkson, Morgan Freeman and all seven members of Madness.

He’s had artwork published in the Sunday Telegraph, Scotland on Sunday, The Sun and Daily Mail, as well as doing work for QI and designing all of the caricature heads on ITV show Bigheads, something he loved doing.

He said: “It was a really exciting gig. I had control over the whole creative process.

“What was on screen was 95 per cent my vision and those kind of gigs don’t come along that often.”

No two days are the same for Adrian and his work has ranged from the weird to the wonderful.

He once caricatured Tony Blair kissing George W Bush’s backside under mistletoe but had to turn down a request to paint Elvis Presley in a shroud on someone’s bedroom wall, saying it was too weird.

Adrian has always been connected to Northamptonshire and four years ago he took those connections international after entering ArtPrize in Michigan, USA.

He took his 6ft by 8ft canvas, titled The Great Seal, to the city of Grand Rapids for the yearly contest.

The artwork mixed his background with America, showcasing the country’s emblems as well as Ecton - where he was living at the time - because it has the ancestral home of Benjamin Franklin and Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington.

The work took him about a month to do and is now on display in his father-in-law’s restaurant in Michigan.

He likes anything with a whiff of history and has also illustrated a book called The Gin Lane Gazette, bringing 18th Century shenanigans to life in a series of newspaper stories.

Adrian Teal's caricature of Daniel Craig. NNL-181212-100323005

Adrian Teal's caricature of Daniel Craig. NNL-181212-100323005