Understanding Caricature as an Art Form

By The Caricaturist | Caricature Facts

Understanding Caricature as an Art Form

Considered one of the most popular forms of art, caricature in this day and age is thriving even with the arrival of newer art forms. You will discover caricatures in the form of amusing depictions of popular and powerful personalities in magazines and newspapers.

The most distinctive feature of this art style is the exaggerated features of the subject. Curvy individuals are made curvier while thin ones are made to look skeletal. Those with pointed chins are drawn with extremely sharp chins while individuals with strong noses are illustrated with protruding noses twice their real size.

The aim of caricature is to divulge the attributes or personality of a subject by way of comical exaggeration using the subject’s most noticeable features, behaviors and mannerisms.

However, there is more to this particular art form than a simple mélange of grotesque imagery. It is, after all, meant to be an artistic sketch of the subject, displayed in a manner that overstates or twists their likeness to pull off amusing results.

Caricatures say a lot about people’s shifting attitudes towards human body types, sex, diet, principles, politics and relationships. The artworks in this style also offer the most stunning depictions of physical/facial standpoints from sadness, anger, happiness and any kind of emotion.

The secret here is to create illustrations that narrate a complete story and not try to overcomplicate things.

Even though the aim of caricatures to often to satirize or to mock, the genuine purpose of caricatures differs depending on the artist. Some go for politically-charged works while others stick to celebrities.

Some artists prefer to challenge or offend while others like their artworks to be flattering.

There are experts who believe that the progression of the art form is comparative to censorship. The caricaturist has worked out a method to narrate a story in an understated manner with political undercurrents.

The aim of the art form has been portrayed as a give-and-take relationship between man’s organic instinct to mock and desire for change.

Materials to Start With


Artists need quality paper which will not bleed once the pen graces its surface. Commendable options include 100% rag paper or 100% cotton. These papers usually work particularly well with pens, inks, charcoal and pencils. You can buy them in spiralled notebooks or pads. Spiral notebooks are great for practice while pads are recommended if you want to sell your pieces.

Pencils and pens

Caricaturists often make use of pencils, colored pencils, pens and brush markers. Some also make use of charcoal. Brush pens provide a moderately bendable tip which makes them capable of moving effortlessly on paper, and they produce brush-like strokes without using paints.

Brush pens also will not bleed and are waterproof. Pencils and brush pens come in a wide range of colors but the majority of artists often make use of monochrome or single-color styles, especially for on-site drawing.


Erasers are important because every now and then we make mistakes during practice using our pencils. There are several kinds of erasers that artists can use.

Gum erasers are made with rubber and are softer than standard ones. They are not aggressive on paper but they do not have a lengthier lifespan compared with other erasers.

The vinyl eraser, also known as plastic erasers is the toughest among the lot. If they are used carelessly, they can tear right through the paper thus use with caution. They can erase just about anything even ink. They are preferred by draftsmen most since they provide whole, clean erasing jobs.

The kneadable rubber meanwhile is soft and elastic. They can be formed easily into different shapes. It works by picking up pigment off of the paper’s surface thus the paper is left clean without the presence of smears.

It is popular with artists because they can sculpt the eraser for more detailed areas. Pencil erasers or erasils are made with vinyl material and look like an ordinary pencil.

They can be honed to a point with a normal pencil sharpener. They are good for erasing tiny details in drawings, but you have to be careful using this since it is made with vinyl.

The joys of creating caricatures will be appreciated even more if the artist has the drive to learn a lot about the art form and the industry. Visit the site Learn-to-Draw.org for tips, advice and additional caricature methods so you can start a career in this area.

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