This blog-post is the result of a persistence demand from my bro. He had been pestering me to give him fundays on drawing a caricature. I will try to be as systematic as I can be. Before going ahead with the fundays, let me first define what a caricature is, for those who are not too sure.
A caricature is a representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject’s distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.
I am going to talk about the ‘pictorial’ representation in this post because that is where I am good at. By the way, I guess you have figured out already that ‘exaggeration’ is the key here. But how does it happen that even when you do not draw someone the way that person actually looks like, people still end up recognizing him/her? This is the art! And this is what I’ll ‘try’ to teach in the rest of the post.
I have used Fabre Castle Water Soluble Colored Pencils to make the sample caricature here. You can use any other material that you are comfortable with (like sketch pens, water colors, poster colors or just plain graphite pencils). The basic rules remain the same. So let’s now go straight away to the steps.
Choose your subject. My subject here is the face of a known Indian personality (once again on my bro’s request). I could have chosen to draw a caricature of something other than a human face, like say a monument. But drawing facial caricatures is what really gives me a kick because it certainly is the most difficult thing to do amongst all the options. It is difficult because you never know if at the end, the caricature will finally look like the real subject or not!
Study your subject’s features. Give some time to just looking at the subject, and try to work out the various features which have a scope for exaggeration. A long nose can always be made longer, and a round face can always be made rounder. Try to visualize the yet-to-be-made-caricature in your mind. High cheek-bones? Wide lips? Thick eye-brows? White teeth? Once you have some clue on what to ‘attack’, you are ready to move on to the next step.
It’s action time now. Pull out a pencil and draw those first strokes. Try to give an overall shape which is not the same as the real thing, but also not completely off the mark. I have made the face slightly thinner here and stretched the nose a little too much. But remember not to mess with each and every feature. You have to be careful in selecting the features which are easiest to distort without affecting the resemblance too much. Keep trying for some time, using as light curves as possible, till you are sure that what you have drawn is a decent stuff to proceed with.
One tip that you might find helpful is that it’s always too risky to mess with the distance between the eyes and eybrows. Sometime’s you might be able to pull that off, but in general its safer to play with nose or jaw or lips. But then, you can always experiment. 🙂
Once the rough sketch has been rendered, show some confidence and draw bolder lines and kind of settle down on how the caricature is going to look. You can add some more details which were missing in the initial stroking stage.
It’s coloring time guys/girls. Pull out a couple of more shades and fill up the areas lightly. It’s always fun to begin with hairs because even if you mess with them, it wont affect much! 🙂
A lot of people get confused when it comes to drawing hairs. What they draw doesn’t look like real hair. Here’s the tip. Draw them the way the hairs actually are, i.e. if the hairs are long, use long continuous strokes (like in this caricature) and if the hairs are short, use shorter strokes. That’s the only trick, or so have I always believed! 😛
You pretty much know what follows next. You gotta complete the coloring thing. Shading the face is slightly tricky but with practice you will kind of get the funda. Some parts need to be darker and some portions need to be lighter. Look at the original picture to figure that out and shade accordingly. It’s easier to begin with the lighter parts. Once you have touched the lighter areas, you can proceed with darkening the remaining areas.
A lot of people hesitate to go for really dark strokes. But it’s not a good idea. At few places you have to use the darkest possible strokes (can you notice some of them in the figure shown below?). Once again carefully observe the original pic and you can work that out yourself. It’s mostly about careful observation than anything else.
The seventh and the last step is always about the finishing touches. This is important if you really want your work to look like a professional visual piece. Since I used water soluble pencil colors, I picked a wet brush to remove the pencil lines and add softness to the caricature. I also did some more pencil work here and there, and of course added my stupid name! 🙂
That’s it. The caricature is done!
Go ahead, try out few caricatures and let me know if my fundays were helpful. By the way I agree that this caricature is kinda not so Hrithik-like! But then, remember this always: you never really know how much the caricature that you make will finally resemble the actual subject (till you have become a true professional of course). But it’s okay. Even after having drawn plenty of caricatures myself, I still fail so often (like you just saw :P). That however, has never prevented me from trying with more and more subjects and that’s what I would ask all you guys to do! Have a nice time.
You can see other caricatures that I have made by browsing through the caricatures label.
If you would like me to do a caricature for you, let me know about it by leaving a comment.