Learning to Draw Caricatures – 5 Important Tips for New Caricature Artists

UPDATED: Jan 08, 2014

 “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures”  is now available as an eBook on Amazon’s Kindle Store. 

Sidebar Image - Cover - Evolution of a Caricaturist - A Book on How to Draw Caricatures - by Shafali Anand

Click the Cover Thumbnail to view the book.

Kindle eBooks can be read on all devices; all you need is a Kindle Reader App which is available as a free download from Amazon. If you have a non-Kindle reading device (for instance, an iPad/iPhone or any other tablet/Smartphone,) you can visit the following page to download the Free Kindle Reader app for your device.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000493771

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If you are a budding caricaturist, here are a few tips to help you reduce the gradient of your learning curve.

  1. Find at least half-a-dozen pictures of the subject (the person you want to caricature.)
  2. Study the features of the subject carefully and try to identify the deviations from the normal.
  3. Remember that the deviations could be in size, shape (form), or both, so look for such deviations.
  4. Don’t ever kill the look in those eyes!
  5. Play a Secret Game – When you look at people, see their Caricatures!

So what do these tips mean? Let’s find out.

1. Find at least half-a-dozen pictures of the subject (the person you want to caricature.)

This is important. A caricaturist can’t work with just one picture, while a portrait artist often can. The reason why portraiture is easier is because it involves copying the subject’s features – if an artist can copy the features exactly, likeness is automatically assured. However, a caricature artist needs go further and achieve the twin objectives of:

  • exaggeration
  • likeness

Thus, a caricaturist needs to begin by first studying the subject’s features from different angles, and in different light conditions. If the subject of your caricature is a performer, there’s a good chance that his or her face is made to look different through makeup and at times even through the use of certain props. All this would make it difficult for you to figure out the exact shape and size of the facial features, if you studied only one picture…so find as many as you can, and lose yourself into those lines and creases!

2. Study the features of the subject carefully and try to identify the deviations from the normal.

While a portrait artist lives on his ability to reproduce the facial features faithfully, a caricaturist thrives on his capability to exaggerate the deviations from the normal. If we all were given a standard set of features by our maker, caricaturists wouldn’t exist. We exist because we have a keen perception, using which we can determine those facial features that:

  • make a face unique
  • deviate considerably from the ideal face.

3. Remember that the deviations could be in size, shape (form), or both, so look for such deviations.

Select the top two or three features that deviate most from their normal size/appearance. Close your eyes and try to visualize the following faces – then note down 2-3 features which you’d like to exaggerate in their faces:

Done?

Now view their caricatures here. What’s been exaggerated? Do you think that the exaggerated features match the list of the features that you’ve created?
Note how the noses of Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks, and the Hair of Abe Lincoln and Michelle Obama have been exaggerated not only in size buy also in shape!

4. Don’t ever kill the look in those eyes!

I’ve seen a lot of caricaturists create excellent caricatures with beautifully crafted and realistically painted features – but with eyes that see nothing, say nothing, and do nothing! Eyes are the windows into a person’s soul…don’t shut that window. Never exaggerate the eyes to the point when they begin to look unreal. Don’t exaggerate the eyes unless you really have to – unless you are really confident of your ability to retain the expression while you manipulate them.

5. Play a Secret Game – When you look at people, see their Caricatures!

I don’t want to explain it because people might stop wanting to meet me – but if you want to be good at the art of drawing caricatures, you really need to transform your eyes into that magic-prism!

And of course, if you are interested in learning how to draw caricatures, I’d recommend “How to Draw Caricatures – Evolution of a Caricaturist“. (Updated: January 08, 2014.)

  1. The book is expected  on the App Store – shortly 🙂 The book shall follow an interactive format. You can view the basic content outline at the above link.
  2. It simplifies caricature-drawing and presents it in the form of a process, which if followed, could help you learn and master caricature-drawing in a very short time.
  3. You can signup for an email notification, which will be sent whenever it becomes available on the App Store.

So, if you’ve got your sketchbook and your pencils ready, what are you waiting for?

DRAW to SMILE!

Another Important Update (October 06, 2014)

If you are a hobbyist and would like to create funny caricatures, or if you want to try out the principles outlined in my book Evolution of a Caricaturist, you can check out the Free Caricature App for iPhone and iPad –  Toonsie Roll, which has been developed under my expertise and guidance. The App will become available on the App Store soon, but if you’d like me to drop you a line when it becomes available, please use the contact form given here.

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5 comments on “Learning to Draw Caricatures – 5 Important Tips for New Caricature Artists

    • Thanks Disha, and please convey my regards to the invisible Gollum too! or could it be the influence of the beautiful Mallika who has recently turned somewhat venomous…I wonder:)
      My Compliments,
      Shafali

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