Have you ever been out walking on a busy high street and come across someone sat on a stool with a table, drawing pictures of people in a funny way? Perhaps he or she was drawing them with a big nose, or a huge chin. Maybe they were drawing them with wild hair, or huge lips. This was a caricature artist, drawing a caricature.
If you’re not sure what is a caricature drawing, this is a picture which is not at all meant to be realistic but is supposed to have a likeness to the subject. Certain features are exaggerated, to create a humorous picture, something to make you laugh and smile. This can be a celebrity, a sports star, or it can be a regular person.
When you see a caricature, you might suddenly want to learn how to do it yourself. This is possible, you can certainly learn the skills and practice until you get it right. Check out online resources, such as Learn to Draw, and you’ll soon pick up the tricks of the trade.
The Features of a Caricature Drawing: What is a Caricature Drawing
There are subtle differences between this type of art and other types. When you see a painting or a portrait, you will notice that there is a lot more detail involved. For instance, the hair is drawn or painted to show extreme detail, with most strands of hair shown. A portrait will show individual strands, because this is what gives the picture life. A caricature, on the other hand, doesn’t do this. A caricature is much more akin to a cartoon but has certain elements that are like a portrait.
Whilst a cartoon doesn’t necessarily have to look like the person, a caricature does. This is a similarity with a portrait. As we mentioned, the difference is the element of detail.
A caricature looks like a person it is supposed to be, you can tell instantly that it is supposed to be that person. What is different is the exaggeration. There will be certain features picked out that are exaggerated. For instance, Angelina Jolie will have bigger lips than normal, Mick Jagger’s lips will also be bigger. It’s not about picking a random feature, it’s about picking a feature which sums up that person’s look and personality, and exaggerating it in a funny way. A caricature is supposed to raise a smile, it is supposed to make someone smile.
Learning to Draw Caricatures
It is possible to learn how to draw caricatures, but it takes time and practice. Understanding the features of a caricature is what will help you get it right, but it also about understanding the lines and shading which are involved.
For instance, a caricature cannot be effectively drawn with a sharp pencil. The lines need to be strong, thick, and bold. An overly sharp pencil is going to give you thin, light and grey lines; this is more akin to the lines involved in portrait drawing. A harder form of lead, such as those found in 5B and 4B pencils is the best type, but it is also a good idea to experiment and find out what works for you.
You will also need a blending tool, something which will allow you to create the shadows that complement the thick lines of a caricature. An eraser and a pencil sharpener, with some paper of course and that’s all you need. The other thing? Time.
Practice is something which certainly makes perfect, and when it comes to drawing a caricature you need plenty of it. You need to analyze the subject, e.g. a photograph of the person you’re wanting to focus on, and you need to pick out the features which you want to exaggerate. Start with the eyes when drawing, because you can place them just above the center of the page, ensuring you don’t run out of room or space on the page.
You can learn about technique, and that is definitely recommended, but it’s also a case of finding your own way with any kind of art, and that is something which can only be done with time and effort.
Is it worth buying a caricature rather than drawing your own? It totally depends on whether you want to learn the skills and put in the time, or whether you simply want a caricature drawing to own. It is definitely a skill you won’t regret learning, and a hobby you will enjoy for many years to come.