The first step is to always study who you want to caricature. This is a very, very important task. Without knowing the person's certain features for caricature, is like writing a story without an idea. So let's take a look here at Salvador Dali. The first thing I noticed, a most likely you guys will too, is the mustache. Features like these are called "Key Features".
Second, lets look for other features that pop out or pull in. These features will help you determine what to exaggerate. Exaggeration is key for caricature.
What Pop's out for you?
What really stands out the most, besides his mustache, is his eyes. Look at the way they are almost popping out of his eyelids.
What goes back?
Meaning what is a feature that you usually see last?
His lips. The reason is because the mustache is panning out making your eye become distracted to look at his mouth.
Also look for other features that are BIG and other features that are small.
Exaggeration doesn't always mean to make the feature bigger. It can also making a small feature, extra-small.
Here I sort of mapped out some features to follow. One is the flow of his face. Watch how certain lines flow with the face. This will give you a good picture on how to draw the face shape. It almost allows you to find the shapes that make up his head.
Another thing is Distance. I found that between his lip and nose, there is a lot of space. You can also see the distance between his eyes and eyebrow.
When drawing caricatures for so long you almost can see these invisible arrows following the shape of his face.
Since we got everything mapped out and a good understanding on what to exaggerate. Let's start!
Here, I draw a very, very, fast sketch of my idea on the caricature. I want to keep the sketch as loose as possible. This process shouldn't take longer that 5 minutes.
The quicker you get your idea on paper, the better the idea is going to look. Why?
This is actually a very interesting explanation. You have two hemispheres of your brain, your left hemisphere and your right hemisphere. The left side actually controls all of you calculations, like math, speech, etc. The Right is actually the creative side. So when you are drawing, your brain is actually having a war between each hemisphere. The quicker you draw, your left hemisphere will seem confused and not be able to keep up. While your creative side is winning the battle.
I will do a tutorial on that later. But for now just remember, get your idea on paper fast.
I start out with the nose here because it helps map out the middle proportion of the face. I start with the bridge of the nose and then work my way down. Always think shapes while drawing the nose and pay more attention to the bridge and the apex ( round part of the nose) and the septum ( under the apex)
I really exaggerate the eyes here. Remember earlier when I told you it almost looked like his eyes were popping out of his sockets, well that is how I drew it. Always pay attention to the reference photo you are using. Another thing about his eyes is that they have a lot of bags, like he hasn't slept in years. I really pulled that out in this caricature.
I start with his eyebrows next. Look at the reference photo to see the direction the eyebrows are moving. You can also see how some strands of hair are not following the same pattern. I always start the pattern closes to the nose and then work my way back around the eye.
Its mouth/mustache time! You remember earlier when I told you about the distance between the nose and mouth? Well, here is what I was talking about. I really pulled the mouth away from the nose here. You can also see that I simplified the direction of the mustache. In caricature, simplifying is a great tool to use.
So this is what I meant by the " flow" of the face. This will help you establish a good understanding on the direction the chin will move. Pay attention to the reference again and see how the chin swoops down and the back up in the middle then back down again.
Same thing here, like drawing the chin. Pay attention to the flow of direction the face is moving. I usually start towards the chin and swoop the line, in the direction the flow is moving, up towards the eyes. I always go bottom to up at the stage. Also pay close attention to the way his cheek bones are located, while also trying to find the flow.
Always start with the outside of the ear first. Never work in the ear and out, it wont work. Find the flow of the ear ( which will also help on the shape) and you can work in the ear. When I draw inside the ear I follow from top to bottom. That is AFTER I draw the outside of the ear.
" AJ, how in the Sam Heck am I suppose to draw hair?" I couldn't tell you enough I hear this question. I even sometimes see starting-out artists avoiding the hair at all cost because it is so intimidating to them. Let me help you. Always break the hair into sections. Foreground, Middleground, and then background. Foreground is the front portion of the hair, middleground is the middle, and the background is....well ya...the back. Common sense -__- Why did I even explain that...Anyways. Pay attention to each section and then train your eye on the flow of the hair.
I add the iris to the eye here. I use highlights to make the eye look glossy.
I add a small portion to his body. It can be tricky to find where the neck should come out of the head sometimes. But try to use your mind on where it should go. I usually always place a shadow towards the upper part of the neck to give the neck a little more depth. As for the suite, look at reference photos to help with this.
And thats the whole kit and kaboodle! Remember to check me out on youtube:
www.youtube.com/thetoonheadz. Email me for any questions at:
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And remember, don;t stop drawing. This takes practice and dedication, which is the hardest part to drawing. Always sketch when you have the time and learn whenever possible. Take care!
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