Learning About What is a Caricature
And What You Need to Draw

Knowing 'what is a caricature' is the first thing you're going to need to understand in order to create some nice looking drawings.

A caricature is really a marriage between portrait drawing in cartoon drawing. The difference between caricature and portrait drawing is that the proportions of the face are a lot cartoonier and the style is much simpler. The features of the face become exaggerated in order to give a more "funny" appearance. How it's different from cartoon drawing is that the picture should look like a real person even though it is exaggerated.

If you keep developing your skills you may get to the point where you're able to draw caricatures professionally. One of the advantages of a pro caricature artist over a pro portrait artist is that you should be able to do a lot more drawings because of the fact that a caricature does not need to be so complex. More drawings equal more cash in your pocket which is a good thing.

Caricature Secrets

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Now that we've begun to scratch the surface let's dive a little bit deeper into exactly what is a caricature drawing...

Generally speaking a caricature is an image of a person with an extremely large head and a tiny little body. The features of the head are exaggerated, so if the person you're drawing has a slightly large nose the caricature of them will have a really large nose. A good example of features that can be exaggerated can be found when you consider the current late-night talk show hosts J. Leno and David Letterman.

Even in real life both of them have extremely distinct almost cartoon-like features. Maybe their distinctly individual look is one of the main reasons why they were selected as late-night talk show hosts in the first place. Jay Leno of course has a gigantic chin and David Letterman has his trademarked buck-teeth. These are great examples of features that can be exaggerated. Let's dive a little deeper into the heart of caricature drawing.

What is a Caricature Made Up of?

There are seven essential parts of the head that can be exaggerated. These parts are the nose, mouth and lips, chin, eyes and eyebrows, forehead, hair and ears. You may notice that I didn't mention the body of the character and this is because the body is generally not as important as the head. We'll save dissecting the body for another tutorial. There's quite a lot to caricaturing, but I hope you are beginning to understand what is a caricature; at least a little bit.

Do you have what it takes?

Before you go on at like you to take a quick test to see if you really have what it takes to draw caricature. Don't worry, I promise it won't hurt and will only take two minutes.

Here's the test. Grab a piece of paper and pen or pencil. Now, see if you can draw the following 10 shapes. If you can get through this test then you really have everything it takes to start making your own caricatures.

Give it a shot, and in case you can't complete this little test I have some other advice for you at the bottom of the test.

caricature test

If for some reason you couldn't complete the test shapes drawing here's my advice:

you should really give up all hope of ever drawing, or even writing for that matter. Stick to a computer and printed documents because you have the hand eye ability of a monkey, wait, perhaps less than a monkey! Now, I know you can do better! You're better than a monkey! Show your stuff! :)

Here's a little video showing how all of these parts come together to make a simple caricature that you'll learn to make in another lesson.


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Click here to return to the How to Draw Caricatures Lessons Page

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