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caricatures from photosHave you ever imagined yourself as a cartoon?  If you have stopped by a caricature kiosk at a mall, amusement park, or in a large city, then you would know what you look like cartoonized.  However, if you want to learn how to make caricatures from photos, then you can have the opportunity the see how you would look like as a mix between a portrait and a cartoon.

Creating caricatures from photos can sound tough for a non-artist, but with some basic drawing skills, and our step by step tutorial below, you can easily grasp the concepts of portion and lighting for a top notch drawing of a caricature based off of a photo.

Start drawing with confidence with this course today!

Three Essential Elements of a Caricature

Before you begin drawing your caricatures from photos, let’s go over the three essential elements that should incorporate into your caricature drawing.

  1. Likeness:  Achieving a likeness for your caricature drawing means that you are able to capture the essentials of likeness from the subject.  This has to do with: getting their proportions correct, checking key points, looking at the little things in your subject, and being able to hone in on certain features.
  2. Exaggeration:  Exaggeration is an important part of any caricature drawing.  The part you choose to exaggerate will depend on what characteristics you feel that stand out most on your subject.  A portrait that is straight and almost “traced” will not look like a caricature.
  3. Statement:  A good caricature will be editorialized in a certain way.  This is seen through the artist (you) trying to say something about the subject.  This could be portrayed by what they are doing, their expression, or in their body language.  The statement should be more than their exaggerated facial features.

How to Draw A Caricature From A Photo

You will need:

Step 1:  Find a good photograph of whomever it is that you are planning to draw a caricature of.  Make sure that you can clearly see the person’s face and their facial features in the photo.

Step 2:  Study the photograph.  You are going to have to pick out certain facial features that the person has that you would like to exaggerate.  For instance: their nose, eyes, ears, teeth, chin, hair, jaw line, or lip.  When it comes to caricatures, taking the individual’s most prominent feature that stands out when you look at them is the thing you are going to want to hone in on and exaggerate in their caricature.

Step 3:  Take out a piece of scratch paper and practice some different and various ways that you can draw the facial features of your subject.  For example, you can draw your subject’s nose in different shapes or sizes depending on how their actual nose is.  If they have a large nose, feel free to exaggerate it as much as possible.  Once you have draw different exaggerated facial features, choose the ones that you like the best to incorporate into your final drawing.

Step 4:  Now for beginning your final draft of your caricature drawing, draw the basic outline of your subject’s head on your paper using a pencil.  Draw a big head, because the head of a caricature will usually be excessively and overly big for their bodies.  This is going to help them look more like a cartoon.

This course will show you how to draw cartoony characters with exaggerated features step by step.

Step 5:  Start drawing your subject’s facial features in this order on their head:

  1. Nose
  2. Mouth
  3. Eyes and Eyebrows
  4. Chin
  5. Forehead
  6. Ears
  7. Hair
  8. Neck

caricatures from photosThere is a certain proportion rule that you want to follow when drawing a caricature, and drawing the features in this order will help you learn to proportion them quickly and correctly.  Remember to use a pencil when you are drawing your subject’s features in case you need to erase.  Note the facial features that you picked out in our earlier step that you wish to exaggerate.  Here are some more things to keep in mind when drawing your subject’s facial aspects:

Step 6:  Time for the body.  Draw your subject’s body in a pose that will display them doing their favorite hobby or task.  For example, if your subject is a surfer or likes to surf, then go ahead and draw them on a surfboard in the ocean – and throw in a tropical in their hand to add to the fun.  You can also add in a few more background details, such as a sun, an island, or a shark fin floating around in the open ocean.

Step 7:  Go ahead and edit any parts of your drawing that you need to while it is still in pencil.  Once you are satisfied with your final product, you can choose to trace over your pencil lines with a sharpie or a black art pen.  When you finish, go ahead and erase the pencil lines on the drawing that you do not need.

Step 8:  Your final caricature product should look similar to the photograph that you started with, except it should look a cross between a cartoon and an exaggerated animation.  You can choose to add any color that you want to on your drawing by using colored pencil, markers, crayons, or pastels.

See Fun in the Everyday

If you want to make someone laugh, then show them a caricature of themselves.  A caricature could be your way of using your artistic skills or creativity to amuse and entertain your friends, family, and others.  However, caricatures are also commonly used in comics or to make a political statement.  To develop some professional techniques for caricaturing, enroll in this course for four hours of tips, techniques, and demonstrations for professional caricaturing.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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