Caricature Artists

Caricature Artist - Robert Bauer

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Caricature Artists & The Art of Caricature


In 30 years of drawing,  I have noticed that one of the most difficult words for people to pronounce in the English language is the word, “caricature“. Even more people misspell it. They add letters that don’t belong, especially “h”. That’s because so many people associate the word, “caricature” with the word, “character”. They want to tie these two words together in spelling as well as in meaning. However, the 2 words have almost nothing in common. Do not spell the word as “characature“. It’s like fingers on a chalkboard to a caricature artist.The word caricature is taken from the Italian word caricature which means a “loaded portrait”.  The term, caricature refers to a portrait or depictions of real-life people, and not cartoon fabrications of fictional characters. A caricature exaggerates the essences or features of the subject while keeping enough information so the subject is still recognizable. A good caricature looks more like you than you! That’s because it emphasizes the features that distinguish who you look like.Many caricatures are drawn by giving the model a small body with a large head. The appearance is humorous but that was never the original intent. When editorial cartoonists began featuring caricatures of celebrities and mainly political figures before the turn of the century, they had a limited amount of space to tell their story. Therefore, they would emphasize the person’s face so everyone would recognize them. Then they would add a body performing some action that would illustrate who the person was or what they were up to. The bodies were not as important as recognizing the face, so artists would reduce them. Print newspapers, magazines and flyers would use representations of the powerful, evil, rich and famous around the world as part of their editorial pages. This practice has remained in play to this day whether in editorial cartoons or caricatures drawn for entertainment at parties. The caricature is one of the most common and universally recognized forms of art.

Many professional artists have dabbled in caricature at one time or another. However, less than 800 artists in the world consider it their full-time profession. A caricature artist is also referred to as a caricaturist. Each artist uses experience and training to develop their own style. Caricature artists are not the same as a cartoon artist or cartoonist who typically create images of non-living or unreal subjects such as Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. A caricature is an image showing the subject in an exaggerated way. It is also common for the artist to simplify portions of the subject as well to help the viewer focus on the story of the caricature or the features the artist wants you to see. This does not mean the simple or small portions of the caricature don’t have meaning. Sometimes clues or important supporting information may be found in the background. Sometimes the exaggeration is in the small depiction.

Although there are similarities between a caricature artist and a cartoon artist, they are not the same. Some aspects of the art forms are interchangeable, but there are distinct differences between the two. A cartoon is a simplified and whimsical illustration of a person, animal or scenery. A caricature is specifically an illustration of a real person drawn in an exaggerated style to play up their unique features. Some may suggest that an artist can create a caricature of a car or animal. This is a true for a cartoon, but for it to be true for a caricature there needs to be a real life point of reference.

Not all caricatures are drawn in cartoon style. Some are extremely detailed, even life-like. Artist use different mediums to create a caricature such as pencil, markers or paint. The word caricature certainly has morphed into new meaning within the english language. People use it to mean a likeness or exaggerate version of person. Sometimes the word is used to mean over the top or a grotesque exaggeration.

Hiring a caricature artist. 

It is easy to hire a caricature artist. There are a few good companies that represent artist from around the country. Goofy Faces is one of the leaders in the industry. Generally you hire an artist by the hour. The number of people at your event will determine how many hours you need to hire an artist. It’s perfectly acceptable to hire more than one artist for large events. Although most attendees will take a moment to watch the artist create drawings, expect about 60 percent of your guests to sit for a caricature.

A caricature is a wonderful gift and memory of your event.

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