Introduction to Caricature: Draw a Portrait with Digital Tools in 6 Minutes

Jon Casey, Illustrator, Founder of Bay Area Caricatures

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34 Lessons (2h 26m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Intro to Caricature

    • 3. Overview of Class

    • 4. Constructing the Basic Head Shape, as Taught by Andrew Loomis

    • 5. Constructing the Skull

      structure with skull drawing.jpg
    • 6. Simplifying the Technique to Construct Cartoon Head Shapes

    • 7. Drawing over Richard

    • 8. Drawing Richards Caricature # 1

    • 9. Drawing Richards Caricature # 2

    • 10. Constructing our Idealized Face From a Skull

      facial proportion from Human_Skull.jpg
      facial proportion from Human_Skull idealized face.jpg
    • 11. The Shape of the Head

    • 12. The T Shape Technique

    • 13. T-Shape Comparison

    • 14. Comparison #1

    • 15. Comparison # 2

    • 16. Comparison #3

    • 17. Comparison #4

    • 18. Live Drawing #1

    • 19. Live Drawing #2

    • 20. Live Drawing #3

    • 21. Live Drawing #4

    • 22. Introduction to Photoshop

      photoshop caricature palettes more colors.act
    • 23. Introduction to Corel Painter

    • 24. Loading a Palette in Corel Painter

    • 25. Loading a Palette in Photoshop

      jon casey photoshop
    • 26. Preparing to Draw

    • 27. Vary Line Widths

    • 28. A Rough Sketch

    • 29. Line Work

    • 30. Adding Color

    • 31. Part 1 : References and Rough Sketching

    • 32. Drawing Walter White

    • 33. Greyscale Painting Walter White

    • 34. Creating your Caricature Drawing in Photoshop

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Project Description

Draw a caricature of the person of your choice

Introduction to Caricature, and an Overview of Digital Tools

  1. Research and explore the world of contemporary caricature

    The world is full of illustration, and caricature is one of the most often used forms of illustration to attract attention to notable figures. Often this is because a photograph is not available or costly, and also caricature lends itself to the bigger than life personalities of those in the public eye.

    Quick Sketch caricature, the focus of this class, is a popular American art form most often seen at tourist locations such as theme parks. The art of quick sketch caricature has a rich history all it's own. Thousands of people make a living drawing others for a livelihood. While it is a fun and rewarding occupation, it can also be a hobby that you can never master, only get better at! Being able to draw friends and family can be a skill that you can begin to learn fairly quickly, and enjoy for a lifetime.

    Beyond the basic skills of caricature drawing, this class will teach you the skills necessary to begin working digitally, which offers full color and speed that is not possible working with traditional materials.

    In order to begin, it is a good idea to get a general understanding of contemporary caricature and the artists who excel at practicing it!

    Visit, look up the Facebook group Caricaturama showdown 3000, visit the caricature wikipedia page (with a drawing by your instructor from around 2010) and check out some work from the most notable names in caricature.

    Great contemporary caricaturists to check out are:

    Steve Brodner

    Jack Davis

    John Kascht

    Tom Richmond

    Jan Op De Beeck

    Zach Trenholm

    Jason Seiler

    I've also included some examples here of live drawn caricatures I have done, to give you an idea of the style of live quick sketch caricature we will be learning in this class.






Basic Shapes of the Skull

  1. Constructing the basic head

    After watching the video on the process of quickly constructing a human head, draw one yourself and post it to the student gallery for peer feedback! You may do this traditionally with paper and pencil, or digitally. The more you practice this the better. In time, you should be able to draw it from memory.

    The step by step drawing process is attached. 

Caricature Using the Head Construction Method

  1. Draw over a photo to diagram the skull, then use that to draw a caricature

    After watching the past two videos, you may either use the attached photo or find one of your own choosing. Diagram out the head using the skull construction method, then use that to caricature the person from your reference.

Basic Concepts of Caricature Drawing

  1. Diagram out and make comparisons of the shapes in the face

    Find a photograph of the person you would like to draw

    • Using the images below, diagram out the proportions within a face
    • Think to yourself, where are the shapes smaller or larger? What is the shape of the head? Look for the T shape and make comparisons to the model. 
    • Feel free to jot down notes and thoughts on your comparisons
  2. Pick four people and sketch a unique head shape for them

    Pick four unique faces, and sketch out a face shape that fits them best. You can source the photos online of famous people you would like to draw. Just pay attention to the outside shape of the head. View the reference attached. 

Drawing Examples from Live Events

  1. Draw a caricature using the information you gathered from the techniques we covered in the last less

    By now we have learned many techniques for gathering information on the face to create a caricature. Using these methods, draw 4 caricatures from sources of your choice. You may use the samples below and my own caricatures as reference or create your own!

    Feel free to just practice the linework, focussing on sketching and shapes rather than a polished drawing. Do as many as you can! You can source images of your friends and family, or famous people you find photos of online. I've attached my own samples and drawings which you can use as well. 

Introduction to Digital Tools

  1. Choose your program and set it up for drawing quick sketch caricatures

    Whether you work in Photoshop, Corel Painter, or another software of your choice, set it up as described in order to be able to work quickly and have the tools you need at hand.

    Corel: Load the palette that is attached below. There is a short video on loading the palette. Go through the tools and find ones you would like to use. I recommend

    -Scratchboard tool

    -Digital Watercolor : simple round brush

    -Grainy water blender

    other than that, try out what you like and what you think will work for you.


    Watch the video on loading palettes into the program. Either download Kyle Webster's brush pack, or find tools you like online or that come with Photoshop.

    Kyle Webster's brush packs :

    Chris Wahl's brush packs (free!) :

Drawing a Quick Sketch Caricature in Corel Painter

  1. Choose someone to draw

    Choose a friend, family member, or famous person to draw. Make sure you look at lots of different photographs from different angles, watch movies or videos of them, and study their character. 

    Use the techniques you have learned such as :

    -Comparing to the standard idealized head

    -T shape

    -Head shape

  2. Draw a rough sketch of your chosen face

    Draw up to ten rough sketches of the face of your choice

  3. Line work

    Practicing thin and thick lines and using confident strokes, go over your quick sketches.

  4. Add color

    Under your Line work layer, and above your sketch, add in colors. Don't forget to post your caricature so far to the student gallery. 

Drawing a Detailed Caricature in Photoshop

  1. Choose a subject and gather references

    Choose someone you want to draw, and look online for references of them. Google image search, magazines, youtube, etc.. can all be helpful. 

  2. The rough sketch

    Begin roughly sketching out your subject. Keep in mind structure and all of the lessons we went over. Drawing guidelines and looking at features in relation to one another will help you a lot in this step. 

  3. Refining the rough sketch

    Once you are happy with your sketch, use another piece of paper or another layer and refine it. 

  4. Adding greyscale tones, darks and lights

    With your refined sketch on the top layer, make this layer a multiply layer. Underneath this, create a layer and use the fill tool to make it a mid tone of grey. This is where the fun comes in! Add darks where you see the darkest parts of the features, building them to darker and darker. Create a top layer, and paint in highlights. 

  5. Flattening the image and finishing the drawing

    Finish the painting, and post it to the student gallery. 

Creating your own Caricature

  1. Choose your victim!

    Choose someone you want to draw. Look online for reference images. Try to find a photo that will allow you to make a "definitive" drawing of the person you are viewing. Does the photo capture a mood or expression that they often express? Look on Youtube for videos of them in high resolution and watch how they talk and hold themselves.

  2. Diagram the reference

    Take what you have learned from mapping features, and look for the qualities that make this person unique. Try to find the basic shapes of the face. Remember, no two people are alike! What makes this person uniquely themselves? 

  3. Sketch the basic head shape

    Look at your reference, and sketch the basic head shape in exaggerated poportions. Then place the brow, nose, eye, mouth and ear lines on your rough sketch.

  4. Line work

    Complete a finished, refined sketch of your chosen face. 

  5. Add color

    Color your drawing, based on the reference photo you have chosen.

  6. Complete your caricature!

    Congratulations, you have just completed your first full color caricature. It is often said that the first thousand you do may be no good... but chances are you are already getting a fun likeness! Have fun, and do as many as you can possibly do. 

Additional Resources

  • Here is a list of resources for learning more about caricature. 

    Internet resources:

    The web has lots of great information for caricaturists. Some helpful places to find information and inspriation are: : Home of the International Society of Caricature Artists. You can join this for a nominal fee, and each year there is a week long convention with competitions and awards.

    On Facebook : Caricaturama Showdown 3000 is a group of worldwide artists with thousands of members that show off some of the best talent in the world in caricature. 90% of the work is digital. This class is based on quick sketch, mainly used live for parties or events, rather than the long process of digital painting. But it is a great place to get inspiration.

    How to Draw Caricatures by Lenn Redman is the best book you can get. A lot of my knowledge comes from studying this book over the years, and you will find many of the lessons in some format brought into this class.

    The Mad Art of Caricature by Tom Richmond : Tom Richmond is a regular contributor to Mad Magazine, the head of the National Cartoonists Network, and a caricaturist who has worked in the quick sketch style for decades.

    Drawing the head and hands by Andrew Loomis : A Basic anatomy book on the human head and skull is extremely helpful. This book is the best that I have found for taking extremely complex ideas and breaking them down into simple concepts. 

    All of the books below are the best available options for any student.

    Some of the books below are easy to find. Some are no longer in print. The Andrew Loomis book you may be able to find online as a PDF. Others you may find at a used book store,,, or other book seller. 

  • Materials needed for this class:

    • Pencils
    • Paper
    • Wacom or other pressure sensitive tablet
    • Photoshop, Corel Painter, or another similar art creating program


    Brush Pens such as Copics or Faber Castell PITT artist pens in the brush shape. Copics are great, but overpriced. Utrecht makes a double nib black brush marker as well that is very affordable.

    Art Stix

    Digital Drawing tools:

    There are so many options available for working digitally and it changes weekly. Here are just a few options. 

  • Attached: Two files of the process of drawing the correct idealized skull structure made famous by Andrew Loomis.

  • Completed drawing of Walter White by Jon Casey 

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