Forget Everything You Know About Caricature

JOHN K. (THE CREATOR OF REN & STIMPY) has written a lot about this topic on his blog John K Stuff, so let's kick off this post with a quote from John. "When you sit down to caricature a person, you should try to bury all your preconceived notions of what 'caricature style' is.” This is the best advice a budding caricature artist could receive. An artform that is predicated on exaggeration and the depiction of an individual must be unique. Not formulaic.

I’ve found that the best way to approach caricature is to practice it a lot over a long period of time. Years. Then put them all together so that you can see what’s working and what’s not. Literally print or photocopy them and attach them to a piece of cardboard or corkboard. At work, we have a place where all of the caricatures go. A colleague once told me that it was her favorite part of the office. It has become sort of a shrine. A year after it started, when employees had moved on to greener pastures, my colleagues (non-artists) moved them over to a separate board so they would not be thrown out or forgotten. This was truly a grassroots movement within the company. People universally love to see themselves drawn by someone else. And they love to see people they know drawn. Humans are so vain.

Here are a few of my personal favorites, and let me tell you why. Each one is primarily a behavioral exaggeration of a person, as opposed to a purely physical or facial exaggeration. It should tell a story about your subject. Caricature shouldn't call attention to your artistic skill level. Everything down to your choice of medium and linework should reflect your subject. 

How do you approach caricature? How often to you do caricature? For more about John K., follow him on Twitter @JohnKricfalusi1