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May 19, 2010

What’s the Secret of Good Cartoon Caricatures?

They make striking and very individual presents and are always sure to be memorable – but what is the secret of creating cartoon caricatures that really capture the person or people being portrayed and sum up their personalities and their attitudes to life in a way that will really appeal to the receiver of the gift?

Caricature portraits are available on the street corners of many of the world’s most famous cities or wherever there are tourists ready to spend their money on something that will remind them of their trip and amuse family and friends at home.

But creating something really special with pens, brushes and ink is very different.  Obviously, the artist will want to make the final product look like the person featured in it – picking out the distinguishing features of their face and body.  But doing this is in a way that is funny and yet warm and endearing and will not cause offence requires extra skill.

Knowing something about the subject’s character, manner, likes and dislikes as well as their personal foibles and hobbies will also help to create an image which is not only amusing but is accurate and has clearly required some thought on behalf of the artist and the person providing the brief.

Choosing the right occasion to capture on paper – a graduation, a birthday, a wedding or even a special holiday or an anniversary is important.  If there are to be two or three people – perhaps friends, family members or even business partners – in the picture the artist will want to know something about how they relate to each other and how they behave together as well as the character traits of each of them in order to show them in way that accurately sums up their relationship.

Drawing caricatures is easy, but creating something that is funny but not offensive and that has real insights requires a particular talent.

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