Monday, August 07, 2006

What was he thinking...?!

Once again I decided to post a whole bunch of recent caricatures, but I wanted to approach it a bit differently. So with each caricature I'll try and explain my approach, what features I decided to exaggerate, how I progressed from start to finish. Hopefully it can give you all some insight into the many different ways I approach a caricature.

The people are all fellow caricaturists from over at The Drawing Board.

Click the names for their photo.

Toothsum- At first I thought this was going to be a tough angle to caricature, and in terms of capturing the subject's likeness, it was. The first feature I was drawn to was the seemingly tapered forehead with the little tuft of fringe perched on top. The distortion I wanted to go for was more like caricaturist Philip Burke's approach of not just caricaturing the obvious features but squashing and stretching the face for design purposes. That approach was possible for this caricature because I figured there wasn't much chance of getting a good likeness from the angle of the photo, so it freed me up to experiment more. I wasn't too worried about roughing the head shape first, but started with the hair and nose and let the other features eventually dictate the shape of the head. Being such a serious photo, there was no humour injected into the caricature. This was the reason for colouring, as it added more to the overall mood of the piece.

Don Flaws- I've caricatured a few of Don already, but when he posted up photos of one of his old hairdos, I couldn't resist doing another. His hair reminded me of former Hollywood child star Shirley Temple, so I decided to put him in a cute little dress and accentuate his hair ringlets. It's fun having this in contrast to his harsh facial features. This combination reminded me of the creepy children from the Aphex Twin music video clip 'Come to Daddy' and I had this in the back of my mind as I drew it.

JCPelly- Another tough one. JC has fairly normal looking features whose caricaturability aren't so obvious at first glance. For this, the headshape was the first feature I started with. With the hair and his chin, I came up with a crescent moon shape for his head and included the rest of the features around this. From another photo he included which was a profile shot, I noticed he had a long pointy nose, so I tried incorporating this into the three-quarter angle. He also has prominent muscles under his mouth and an Elvis-style sneer. He had photos with both glasses and without, so I omitted the glasses on this one so they didn't interfere with the headshape silhouette.

Erica- After the last sketch I did of Erica (see Caricature video) which I thought was quite unflattering, I decided to balance it out with something ultra cute. The whole caricature was based around her eyes and uniquely shaped eyebrows. Also the way the corners of her mouth drew up into her cheeks, were fun to exaggerate too. The hair was drawn ornately to frame the face and accentuate the eyes more. After all that effort, I still don't think I captured her likeness well.

Craig- This whole caricature was based around the shape of the mouth and the way the cheeks pushed up into the eyes. To people starting out with caricaturing, this can be the wrong way to approach it. When learning to caricature, it's best to start with the head shape outline and work inwards, rather than starting with a prominent feature (e.g. a large nose) and working outwards, as this can lead to the artist quickly running out of space on the page. (Thanks to Don for those pearls of wisdom) The eyebrows were added next, then basically everything else was fitted around them (luckily I still had enough room left)...and just to confuse matters, the outline of the face was the last things added in this pic.

Leopold- As soon as I saw this photo I had the idea of making him into some sort of monster (sorry Leo). The deep set dark-ringed eyes, the thin mouth jutting out with the lower teeth and the large gap between the nose and the mouth all led me to this decision. I changed the lighting when I drew this, so he seemed to be lit from below which added a more sinister feel. And I drew it in a comicbook style to accentuate the humour of the pic more.

So there you have it. If there's anything I left out, or if you have any other questions regarding my process, let me know.


Blogger Pauk said...

Great post!

11:27 PM  
Blogger Ryan Aller said...


I am needing 2 caricatures done for my website. Do you have any interest in helping me out?

12:55 AM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Pauk- Thanks!

Ryan- Unfortunately I'm not taking on any extra work at the moment.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Pag said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for posting all the info. Perhaps it'll help me learn something about how to draw better.

1:14 AM  
Blogger kcirbuk said...


Paco K.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Ryan Aller said...

can you refer me to someone else?

4:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

wow awesoem with the breakdown of each one! Thanks so much! And shazam is killer

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outasight Chris! Man thx so much...that was so very kool of you man.....Lou

8:18 AM  
Blogger heri said...

it's the only way i'll learn! looking at your work, reading your wisdom and practice, practice practice. thanks for taking the time to write this Chris, helps a lot, and how you see a feature and work around it, fantastic job like always.


12:07 PM  
Blogger Jav said...

Chris, wow!
Just stumbled across your blog from the DB and I gotta say,
Great charicatures... even if u feel you havent captured the true likenesses you deffinately have appealing drawings....
I think their pretty right on myself...
Very insightful! Thanks!

3:41 AM  
Blogger Jon Moss said...

Hey Chris,

Just gotta say your stuff is amazing. You've inspired me to register on The Drawing Board & get back into doing cariacatures again! Your video tutorials are immensely helpful, I look forward to any & every future post you make.

May your mechanical pencil never run out of leads!

1:58 AM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks all. Good to see I'm being coherent enough for everyone to understand.

Ryan- Sorry I haven't responded sooner. If you haven't already done so, the Drawing Board has a caricature section where you could scout around for someone.

jon- Thanks mate. Hope to see you posting some caricatures real soon.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am particularly awed by the drawing of Erica. I have never been able to do a flattering caricature of a female. It always ends up either being incredibly goofy-looking, or not exaggerated enough. Looking at a really successful example of a flattering caricature has helped immensely in my understanding of how to exaggerate flattering features. I would never have though it would be as simple as looking at good drawings to get ideas (d'oh!). Thanks Chris, this blog has been a huge source of inspiration since I first found it a couple months ago.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Chris Wahl said...

Thanks Ryan. Glad to be of help.

3:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

All artwork © Chris Wahl 2019 unless otherwise stated. All characters are copyright to their respective owners