How to draw a caricature

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A caricature is a drawing of a person that exaggerates his or her characteristic features for comic effect. The fun and cartoonish style of these drawings make them an easy style to begin with. But they're not just for beginners. Experts can often throw an impressive sketch together in mere minutes, which can make a reasonable living from the tourist market. They can be found at amusement parks and carnivals all over the world, but they are most abundant in the European culture. Las Ramblas or other busking hot spots are popular stations. But we don't all need to know how to draw a caricature in minutes, for most of us it's about enjoying the finished product, no matter how long it took.

Caricatures are a popular way to poke fun at various current affairs. The exaggeration element is perfect for that kind of satire. As such you'll find celebrities and other famous faces are frequently drawn in newspaper articles and magazines. Drawings used in this way are created by picking on aspects of a person's behaviour or personality as well as their appearance. For example, someone who is known for talking too much might be given a larger than normal mouth. The illustrator may even decide to accentuate this trait by drawing their foot in their mouth to really emphasise the point. It really comes down to the sense of humour of the artist and their audience, but some of the best caricatures will have a few layers to their initial "joke".


The first step to drawing a good caricature, is improving your eye for detail. You must train your eye to pick out the most prominent, unusual or interesting features of the subject you are drawing. Eyes, ears and teeth are common points of difference, but almost anything on the face can be a good place to begin. Some artists will extend the picture into a whole-body sketch, but most caricatures are from the shoulders up. The full body option is often regarded as more technically difficult, but can provide a novice with more useful material to make his or her subject recognizable. You might choose to have your subject in a certain pose or setting. A singer or musician could have a microphone or instrument in their hand. Or a sports star might have their bat of choice or a ball or something. Any of these options will add to your picture and make it look more interesting. So do think about whether or not you want any props to be included.

It is often a good idea to practice with people from still photographs. There are countless pictures in magazines or on the internet of suitable subjects to draw - you're best to start off with people who won't get offended if a detail or two go wrong! So those are the basics about learning how to draw a caricature. As you become more observant and more competent your pictures will improve and you'll be whipping up pictures with the best of them!


To learn more about how to sketch in general try www.sketchapic.com .

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