Learn to Draw Caricatures - drawing and seeing space




Draw a caricature

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Have you settled on a way you'd like to draw her? Ok, let's do it. We'll start with the eyes. The eyes should be placed a little bit above the middle of your paper and try and space them so you'll have enough room to get all her hair on the paper without running off. Try and visualize the size of the completed drawing on the paper by using the photo as reference. In the photo, her eyes look like they're just slightly above the midpoint of the photo. So in order to fit the whole drawing on your paper, start by knowing that you'll put the eyes slightly above the midpoint of you paper.

I almost always start with the right eye of my subject, so that'd be the eye on your left. Draw the arch that would be the upper lid, then lightly draw the lower lid, which would be an almost straight line. This shape that you've drawn, this will be your standard unit of measure for this drawing - the "eye". With your pencil, measure the width of her right eye in the photograph. Holding that measurement, slide to the right and see if her eyes are "one eye" apart. By my measurement, she has slightly more than one eye between her eyes. Now, on your drawing, measure the eye you just drew. Holding that measurement on your pencil, slide over to the right a bit more than one eye and mark that point. Now draw her other eye, putting the tear duct at the mark you just made. Even though this is caricature and the object of the game is to NOT do exact proportions, it's best if you do still have the correct distance between the eyes, it just looks better. At the outside corners of the eyes, thicken up the line you drew to indicate the eyelashes.

Eyes, nose and some shading

Now, on the photo, with your pencil, measure her right eye again to get your "standard unit". Holding that measurement, turn it 90 degrees down and see if her nose is one eye long. I get that the nose is slightly longer than one eye. But, my goal in this caricature is to shorten her nose a bit, so I'm going to make her nose exactly one eye long. So make a mark on your paper that is one eye down from the eyes so you know where to draw the nose. Draw the bottom shape of the nose which is sort of "U" shaped. Do you see that the ball of her nose is another "U" shape above the other shape? Draw that shape in. Now complete the nose by drawing the two lobes, which are sort of "C" shapes. Are you using nice, bold lines to draw the nose? In my drawing, the overall size of the nose is pretty much the correct size and not exaggerated much.

Lightly shade in around the eyes and and also the contours of the nose. The nose bone isn't prominent with her, so I'd just lightly shade to define the sides of the nose.

Now the mouth. I'm going to exaggerate the corners of the mouth coming up so I'm going to make the corners parallel with the bottom of the nose, when in reality, they're not. I'm going to just eyeball the placement of the mouth and not measure it. Draw a wide "U" shape in one stroke that will be the top of the mouth. Draw a similar shape below that one to represent the lower line of the mouth. Now draw a third curved line below that one to represent the lower lip. I'm going to put some shadow in the corners of this lower lip. Shade in the top lip area.

Now that you have the nose and mouth drawn, you can draw in her laugh lines which are pretty minimal. They almost look like two right angled lines that bracket the mouth. See how the laugh lines are deepest right at the corner of the mouth and then they get shallower as they get farther away from the mouth? Reflect that in the line you draw by making the line lighter at both ends than at the middle.

Add the mouth and chin

The chin is next. I said I was going to minimize the size of the chin. So, if I measure the photograph and see that the chin is about one eye below the lower lip, in the caricature, I should put the chin at about half an eye below the lower lip. With a nice heavy line, draw the contour of the chin. Don't draw the jaw line, that comes later. As you draw the chin, see the dimple in her chin and that it causes a slight curve in the line that is the chin. In caricature, you have to pick up on all the facial features that make this person look like this person, including dents, or clefts, in the chin.

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