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.

A Personal Post – for Friends.

Hello Friends,

I am off to watch Avatar in 3D. Though I did this caricature of the Avatar many months ago – I did it from the perspective of a person who hadn’t watched the movie…I intend to another, maybe Neytiri‘s, after I’ve watched the movie:) Let’s see what comes out of it.

I am going to be busy for a few days, but I have Edward Norton‘s caricature stashed away and I think it’s one of my better ones – but I’ll let you be the judge.

I also want to write a Thank You Note to all the visitors to this blog, and all the readers of my book, “The Evolution of a Caricaturist“. As I had said in one of my ancient personal posts, I started this blog because it had been a while that I had smiled. This blog gave me an opportunity to do something that I love doing without being under any sort of pressure – and it was fun.

The book helped me demystify caricature-drawing by breaking it down into a process. I believe that if you can draw, you can draw anything. I didn’t do caricatures until last year – I used to do portraits – but then one day I decided to do one – I could do it. So I began to analyze my process as I drew caricatures, and it resulted in this book.

The book has had more than 16000 views, which is an excellent number, especially for a book for something as niche as caricatures! I am happy that people are reading it and suggesting it to their friends:) Keep doing it…the book is free. It’ll be published as a hardcopy with a lot of interesting additions, but this basic version will always remain free:)

——Avatar Movie Interruption ——

Well, I saved the draft of this post, and I am completing it now, after having watched the movie.  I will write about my movie experience when I post Neytiri’s caricature. You might want to checkout my Avatar Caricature here, but I assure you that it isn’t Neytiri’s!

Meanwhile, enjoy Ajay’s story for the Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival, and wonder how a small, apparently insignificant event can change the course of one’s life!

If you haven’t read the other Carnival stories, here they are:

The formal Announcement Post for the August Carnival Participation shall go up on September 1, 2010! So, if there’s a story brewing up there…you’ve still got another day:)

Smile…

Better still…

DRAW to SMILE!

Regards,

Shafali the Caricaturist.