Research 3 – Caricatures

Research 3 – caricatures

What is a caricature?

A drawing of a person where some of the features have been distorted for effect but the likeness remains.  A caricature with a moral message is considered a ‘satire’.

Why are they popular?

They were first used by satirists in the 16th and 17th centuries as a way to discredit and poke fun at political figures.  Now we tend to use them as a whimsical portrait sketch of various celebrities and well known people and more recently, for gifts at weddings or other events.  People tend to find them humourous as a key feature of the person is severely exaggerated and the body and head are not in proportion but still skilfully drawn. 

Aren’t they just cartoons?

No, they’re not.  A cartoon is a fictional character whereas the caricature is drawn as an exaggerated version of the person being drawn.  It is done for humorous effect.  The word caricature is derived from two Italian words ‘Carico’, to load and ‘caricare’ to exaggerate.

Why weren’t they more popular in the past?

Most painters and artists were dealing in realism and aiming to get an accurate painting or drawing rather than a stylised one.  The style emerged as a way to mock the seriousness of the education of a painter and the various rules that were set out to learn.

There were various exaggerated forms being created in art during the early 16th century but the deliberate mockery was not present.


Visual Arts cork – Caricature Art

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Proko (2017) Caricature essentials from Start to Finish

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Rowserworld (2020), How to draw a caricature for Beginners – YouTube

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Proko (2018) Process for successful drawings – Caricature essentials

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The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival (2020) How to draw caricatures with Tom Richmond

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