LESS ACTING, MORE DRAWING Caricaturist Ken Fallin has entertained the public for years with his whimsical pen-and-ink drawings of public personalities, gracing the prestigious pages of The Wall Street Journal and In Style magazine. Before he hit it big in the caricature world, Fallin's first passion was acting. Leaving his hometown of Jacksonville for the bustling city of New York, he jumped into the Broadway scene to seek out the writer of Forbidden Broadway. After suggesting some new numbers, including actors finding the name “Nina” written on different parts of their bodies (a nod to caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, Fallin's inspiration, who was known to hide the name of his daughter Nina in most of his drawings), Fallin began a 20-year gig designing the show's posters. When his drawings began making more money than his acting talents, he knew he'd found his real gift.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T Fallin perfected his techniques at Emerson College, the Art Institute, and New York's prestigious Parsons design school, as well as through courses taught by New Yorker cartoonist Mort Gerberg. While in school, he took a course in record album design and book cover design, which later proved beneficial when he designed a series of CD covers for RCA Records. What makes his caricatures different from other artists', he says, is what he characterizes as his focused approach and respectful dedication to his clients.
“My caricatures are never intentionally mean-spirited or exaggerated like what other caricaturists do,” he says. “I am fascinated by faces-looking at them as shapes and seeing how I can capture them in lines.”
Working primarily from photographs his clients send him, Fallin is able to work fast, sometimes receiving a commission and finishing it within just five hours.
CORPORATE CARICATURES Fallin loves to draw people who are bigger than life, such as Barbra Streisand, whom he sketched for The Boston Herald's article on her farewell tour. A recent drawing for which Fallin felt great personal affection was one he did of Senator Ted Kennedy for The Wall Street Journal before the senator fell ill due to a brain tumor in May.
“When people have a lot of personality [like Kennedy], it just comes across in their faces,” Fallin says.
It was from doing his work for such inspirational and highly noted people that Fallin decided to enter the corporate event market.
“When people called and hired me, I've seen that there are so many different uses for a caricature,” he says.
His first corporate job came by way of American Express, when he was hired to do drawings of all its vice presidents, which were then blown up and placed behind the subjects at a banquet. Fallin thrives on sketching his works for special occasions, including birthdays, retirement gifts, or any event where someone is being honored.
“Caricature signifies that you are a celebrity, making it a really great gift for the person who has everything,” he says.