Painting a great caricature is about more than just drawing someone with a big nose and calling it a day. You need to encompass the individualâ€™s personality and create an image of the person that sums up what you â€œfeelâ€ a person looks like.
The wonderful caricature artist John Kascht best described a caricature as a â€œPortrait with the volume turned up.â€ Thatâ€™s a philosophy I readily subscribe to. Here are some of the steps I follow when creating a caricature painting.
I was commissioned to do a caricature of the brilliant physicist Professor Stephen Hawking for The Celestial Teapot magazine. I was given free reign by the editor to do whatever I wanted. I have tremendous respect for Professor Hawking, so I knew before going into it I didnâ€™t want be insulting with my caricature, instead emphasizing the man and his tremendous intellect.
Whenever possible, I gather as many reference photos of the subject as possible, preferably shot from different angles to get a fuller understanding of what features really stand out to me. Then, after gathering all my images together, I begin drawing little thumbnail sketches to give my mind a chance to wander and figure out what the person really looks like.
I donâ€™t have any set number in mind. Iâ€™ll draw as many of these sketches as I feel I need to in order to get a sense of the direction Iâ€™m going to take with my final sketch. I generally donâ€™t spend more than five minutes or so on each thumbnail.
Eventually, Iâ€™ll narrow it down to the thumbnail that I think best captures the individualâ€™s likeness and use that as the basis for my bigger sketch.
In the case of Professor Hawking, I didnâ€™t want to show his wheelchair at all, so I focused tightly on just his head. Because the Professor suffers from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the lack of motor control creates a very noticeable slant to his features that I chose to emphasize even further.
After creating several thumbnails Mark settles on the one that captures the subjects likeness best
In Photoshop, I created a new canvas that was 4800 wide by 3456 pixels high at 300 dpi. I donâ€™t always sketch in Photoshop, but when I do, I use the pencil brush created by Jan Ditlev Christensen.
I redraw and refine my thumbnail sketch until Iâ€™m satisfied with it. It doesnâ€™t need to be perfect, since Iâ€™m going to eventually paint over the entire thing, but I do prefer it to be tight enough to be an effective blueprint for the rest of the painting.
Mark refines the sketch until he is happy with it