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Published 27th Feb 2017

Amy Winehouse caricature

From Steve McQueen to Brad Pitt, Johnny Cash to Amy Winehouse, or Snoop Dogg to Donald Trump, all have been turned into caricatures to help a dedicated Teesside University lecturer harness his skills.

Dave Cockburn worked tirelessly to turn dozens of cultural, sporting and political figures into distinguished caricatures for his latest exhibition.

The Loaded Portrait was recently displayed at Teesside University’s Constantine Gallery and also forms part of Dave’s final project for his master’s degree.

He is studying an MA Concept Art for Games and Animation part-time and is exploring whether the caricature style of drawing can be incorporated into gaming.

Having spent 16 years in the games industry, working at Reflections Interactive on the Driver series and Eutechnyx on Supercar Challenge, Dave joined Teesside University seven years ago as a Senior Lecturer in Games Art.

His original degree was in Fine Art, but he was keen to further his academic knowledge after spending much of his career in the games industry.

“I was interested in caricatures and started posting drawings on social media,” explained Dave.

“They were getting a positive reaction and people would suggest other cultural figures they would like to see me draw. It has been a long process to get them all finished, but I am really proud of how they look – especially when they are presented all together.

“It has been interesting to see people’s reactions and how different people recognise different drawings.

“I am also using this as part of my master’s degree which I am studying part time – exploring the history and cultural significance of caricature and whether this style can be adopted for modern games art.”

Alongside modern figures such as Lilly Allen and Conor McGregor, there’s also a throwback to the past with the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Maggie Smith.

Dave’s vision was to encompass people who have had an impact on modern culture – some instantly recognisable and others less well known – and to present them under one working title.

He added: “It has been really time consuming, but incredibly rewarding. I have already developed two new lectures based on caricature and the students here have been very responsive.

“The only difference between me and them really is that I have been doing this for longer, but we all learn from each other and provide new ideas and insights.

“It has been tough working and studying at the same time, but it is something I always wanted to do since originally leaving university.”

Teesside University is hosting a part-time and postgraduate open day from 2.00pm to 7.00pm on Wednesday 8 March for anybody interested in further study. For more information, visit

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