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Materials Needed to Be a Caricature Artist

Updated April 17, 2017

Caricatures aren't just for frivolous artists. Leonardo Da Vinci and Monet drew caricatures. Caricatures exaggerate human bodies with ludicrous distortions, and are usually drawn with enormous heads and small, usually active bodies that can be engaged in such activities as skateboarding, bowling or fighting crime. Caricatures, often used to satirise political figures by making them preposterous, have a long and rich history.

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Preferably you want a non-bleeding paper, so your markers won't bleed through. You also want the paper to retain true colour. Some options are 100 per cent rag paper or 100 per cent cotton. These types work well with pencil, pen-and-ink and charcoal. You can purchase paper in pads or spiral notebooks. If you plan on selling the caricature, you'll want to make sure the paper is perforated, so it won't have the jagged edge when it's torn from the spiral.

Markers or Pencils

Caricature artists often use brush markers or coloured pencils to draw, but you could also use charcoal. Brush pens offer a slightly flexible tip, which moves smoothly on the paper and creates brush-like strokes without the trouble of paints. Brush pens are almost a hybrid of painting and pen-and-ink drawing. They also don't bleed and are waterproof. Brush pens and pencils come in various colours, but you can also just draw black-and-white caricatures.


While not mandatory, easels make caricature drawing much easier. They come in full-size standing easels and tabletop easels, which can be placed on a table or even on the artist's lap. Easels allow artists to maintain focus on the subject, whether it be animate or inanimate.


Caricature artists usually draw either a nearby living subject or from a photograph of a person. It's good to speak with the subject to find out what activities and interests she has. For example, if the subject likes super heroes, you could draw the her in a super hero costume or flying in the air. If the subject likes the ocean, you could put a surfboard in his hand. The key is to personalise the caricature by making it specific to the subject. Listening is very important before you put ink to page. Even if you only have a picture of the subject, you can ask the person who gave you the picture questions, or simply study the photo and see if you can learn anything about the person.

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About the Author

Anthony Szpak started writing professionally in 1998 as an undergraduate. He has sold television pilots to Castlerock, FX and 20th Century Fox. He has also inked a development deal with Paramount Television and his fiction has been featured in the "Rockhurst Review" and on Short-Story.net. He received his Master of Fine Arts in fiction from Columbia University.

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