In Cambridge Dictionary "caricature" is defined as:(the art of making) a drawing or written or spoken description of someone that usually makes them look silly by making part of their appearance or character more noticeable than it really is.
Have you ever been walking along at the mall or where ever and along comes somebody with some crazy, incredibly distinct face that maybe sports a gigantic nose or a Cro-Magnon brow or some other obviously out-of-the-ordinary features? Caricaturists have a term for that kind of face… it’s called a “field day”. Think about it for a second… why is that face so ripe for caricature compared to the next guy’s? Are the features really that different? If you took a ruler and measured the size of Mr. Shnozzes’s nose compared to Mr. Normal, the difference would be minimal. So why is he so easy? Because you are SEEING a difference based on perception, and that is giving you your springboard for a caricature. One observation of what makes this person different from “normal”, and you are off and running. The obvious features are easy observations… it’s Johnny and Susie Normal or, worse yet, Johnny and Susie Supermodel that are the challenge. That is where developing an ability to “see” becomes important. There is no face that defies caricature, you just sometimes have to dig a little deeper to find the keys to unlock the more difficult puzzle. In caricature, the old adage of “practice makes perfect” has never been truer. The ability to see doesn’t spring up overnight, and I often tell eager young caricaturists they have about 500 or so bad caricatures in them they have to draw out first before they start noticing the subtle things that hide inside the “ordinary” face.
Although I say it’s “impossible” to teach someone to draw caricatures, it’s not impossible to help them develop their ability to draw them. There are many ways and techniques to help an artist develop their ability to see what is in front of them, recognize what makes what they see unique and then amplify that uniqueness to create a successful caricature. There are general concepts that apply to the overall approach of a caricature as well as specific tricks and tips for individual features and important, main elements that I will be sharing over the multiple parts of this series of articles.