What is Caricature

mohammad mazaheri

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.

I personally define caricature as this: "if a picture talks a thousand words, a caricature talks a million"
The reason I am saying that is because I can explain someone's personality, character, or their manner through the caricature. It's not just making a photo cartoonified (what all caricature apps do) or just magnifying their nose size and call it a caricature. It would be a fun drawing at its best.  
What a real caricaturist does, is thinking about the message that is supposed to be conveyed, and thinking about distinctive features in anyone's face that make them special, different and unique. Then he would put all this into a frame.
Same as any quality thing in the real world that can not be rushed without losing quality, caricature must be drawn with lots of attention to details which makes it nos as fast as many online services claim. 
What I have learned over the course of 15 years of drawing and teaching caricature is that it’s impossible to teach someone to draw caricatures. I can teach them to DRAW… that isn’t so hard. Learning how a face looks and works by learning anatomy, how expression changes the features, how the angle the face is at changes the perception of features, how hair grows and falls about the head… those are things that can be taught. Cartoon drawing caricatures images USA, on the other hand, is a lot more about seeing what makes the person in front of you unique and personal interpretation than it is about making good, confident marks on the paper. I can explain to someone exactly how to draw a circle, but if I place a circle before them and ask them to draw it and they draw a square… well, that is all about seeing and not drawing. The ability to see, and after that the ability to exaggerate what you see for humorous effect in a caricature… that has to be developed. For most that mean a lot of drawing and a lot of looking.

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.

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