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Intro to Caricature

Before I begin the exercise I show them some examples of caricature. Max Beerbohm is an excellent example for this particular exercise. As I show them, I emphasize the following:

Exaggerating particular physical characteristics
Simplifying shapes
Contrasts
Variety in proportions (important!)

THE EXERCISE

Students pair up,each taking turns drawing each other (as a “bust” — that is, including neck and shoulders) in the following manner:

1. BLIND CONTOUR — PROFILE — 5 MIN
2. BLIND CONTOUR — 3/4 FRONT — 5 MIN
3. OPPOSITE HAND — PROFILE — 5 MIN
4. OPPOSITE HAND — 3/4 FRONT — 5 MIN

Drawing in this way will familiarize the students with the features of his/her subject, without relying on their own developed habits of drawing which can minimize observation. Here, they will be forced to look closely at what they are drawing. Make sure they do!

LIST PROMINENT FEATURES

Students write the physical characteristics of their subject as they have found them. For example, weak chin, big eyes, triangular head, etc. I also ask the students to observe the other faces in the room and notice the differences.

BREAK

Now students will draw from their drawings and their prominent features list:

1. EXAGGERATE FEATURES — PROFILE — 5 MIN
2. EXAGGERATE FEATURES — 3/4 FRONT — 5 MIN

They think they have gone as far as they can go, but they have not. Instruct them to emphasize and exaggerate further (this takes some prodding) or point out some features that might have been overlooked. Tell them to push it so far that they should feel uncomfortable, since the distortions should start to look ridiculous!

1. EXAGGERATE FEATURES MORE — PROFILE — 5 MIN
2. EXAGGERATE FEATURES MORE — 3/4 FRONT — 5 MIN

I usually run out of time at this point , but if you do have time continue in the following manner:

1. NORMAL FULL FIGURE SKETCH — 3/4 or FRONTAL — 10 MIN
2. LIST PROMINENT FEATURES
3. FINAL HEAD AND BODY — ANY ANGLE — 20 MIN (with exaggerated body)