What is a good caricature?

I get asked this a lot. I love drawing faces: caricatures in particular; and I always found it fascinating how two different artists can draw the same face two different ways – and yet both be accurate.


The amazing thing is that the same artist can produce different caricatures of a person. It depends on several factors.


Take the first two examples here: Rowan Atkinson and Stomzy. Both were drawn using digital means (e.g. a graph tablet and PC). Atkinson’s is a more exaggerated example: he has those features that almost demand to stand out. Whereas Stormzy is more subtle. For each one, I took about 15 minutes and could adjust and tweak as I went.

Mark Steel’s caricature (below) was drawn in charcoal and took about 30 minutes. His obvious eyebrows are emphasised and the charcoal enabled me to play with shading far more.

Whereas Ed Byrne here is drawn in a more cartoony fashion. A lot of features are simply missed out, and I used a “park caricature” technique where I drew the whole thing in 3  minutes with a black marker pen. Simple, quick and less arty than the previous examples. This is the sort of style I use at events where I have to draw lots of people in a short space of time.

Here’s another example of a “park caricature” done at a trade show event. Framed up, even the simplified portrait makes a well-loved memento for someone to keep!

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