06/13/2012 11:28 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Cliff Roth Makes Digital Speed Paintings Using Google+ Hangouts (VIDEOS, INTERVIEW)

Since the launch of Google+, Cliff Roth has been painting people online, from regular guys to Guy Kawasaki, the beloved former Macintosh cult leader and best-selling author. Roth uses the Google+ Hangouts on Air feature to digitally "paint" people's portraits in under 15 minutes. His press rep wrote, "Think of him as a virtual version of a street caricature artist." To find out more, we asked Roth a few questions via e-mail. His responses are below; scroll down for a slideshow.


HP: When did you start doing digital paintings?

CR: I started painting people in Hangouts back in summer 2011. I have a circle of those "to be speedpainted" who get invited first when I host a Speedpaint Hangout. I then paint them in order of arrival and get as many done as i have time for. The only way to be guaranteed getting one is by paying a small fee. Other than that it is luck of the draw (pun intended).

I started digitally painting caricatures a couple years ago. When I realized a caricature didn't need to be the cartoony type you see at amusement parks something clicked. Prior to that I was doing primarily straight portraits in colored pencil or regular pencil. I transfered to digital because there is less prep time and I can get a lot more detail done. I can also experiment more to get the right look.

HP: How do you create a digital painting? What's the process?

CR: That varies a bit by whether it is a speedpainting or a fully rendered piece. These few videos here, here, and here can answer [the question].

HP: What's been your favorite creation so far?

Noam Chomsky, followed closely by Tim Jones.

HP: What's next for drawing, technically speaking? How would you like to see G+ evolve?

CR: I am normally nowhere near the cutting edge of technology (I know that sounds strange coming from someone using a Wacom Cintiq to paint with but its true). I suspect it will probably have something to do with tapping directly into the brain and by passing the need to draw at all. If we could get an image on screen exactly as we imagine it without having to draw it, that would be pretty amazing. Yet scary.

Cliff Roth