In drawing caricatures the most prominent features of the head and face are exaggerated. In life the head and face follow definite proportions. These proportions are as follows: The eyes are halfway between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin, the nose is as long as the distance from the nose to the bottom of the chin and mouth about a third of the distance from the tip of the nose to the bottom of the chin, the top of the ears is a point on a line of eyebrows, and the background in a line with the tip of the nose.
There are many ways to extract the features of a cartoon, which vary with different expressions. The features are drawn in the actual cartoons, except those that use the extreme exaggeration. To make a picture seem realistic it is difficult for beginners, because there are a great many little tricks to do this, they do not yet understand.
Caricatures are either drawn from life, photographs or portraits. For the person who has studied life drawing it is perhaps easier to get a good likeness by drawing from photographs. In good pictures the wrinkles, shadows, and the visible features are easier to see that helps us know what you exaggerate to get a good likeness of the subject is caricatured. Features in the eyes and hair are easier to see and be placed correctly in the drawing. Another advantage of using a photograph is that it is easier to get the correct proportions of the head and face. This is due to that the different characteristics can be measured in the photo and enlarged proportionately in the drawing.
However, a disadvantage of making photographs is that you can only get a view of work, unless you have pictures of different parts of the same subject.
In life drawing sketches many different views and positions can be done to determine the best position for the drawing, and should be done whenever possible. Caricatures of some features are more elaborate in the profile, while others are most prominent when using other positions. There is only one sure way to determine what is best and that is by experience.
A simple way to measure your subject is to hold a pencil upright with arms outstretched and eyes on the top of the pencil, leaving the top of the pencil in line with the top of the head, or any object being measured. Then place your thumb on the pencil line with the bottom of the chin. The length of a pencil from his thumb on top will be used for the height of the head in his drawing by placing the guidelines that far. The pencil is then turned horizontally to determine the width of the drawing. The height of the forehead, length of nose, chin, etc, can be adequately provided by this method. This method is not only useful in the development of life, but is good for the drawing of still life, too.
The features and characteristics of the different proportions at different ages should also be considered here. The peculiarities of childhood and early adulthood are as follows: Skull and forehead are much larger in proportion to the rest of the head, the eyes are slightly below the center of the head, and head characteristics as a whole are gracefully rounded, the neck is much smaller than an adult, in proportion to the side of the head and legs are much shorter in proportion to the length of the torso. With age, the head is smaller, and bone structure becomes more prominent on the forehead, bridge of the nose and chin.
With aging the skin becomes loose, causing bones, muscles, tendons and blood vessels to become more evident, along with wrinkling of the face and forehead. The top of the skull appears broader and shorter. The nose is more powerful, if not bigger and the general features are more prominent, adding dignity of years. The eyes also seem deeper set in their sockets.
Older people are easier to draw, and to get a good likeness, because of these characteristics described in the preceding paragraph. The rounded features of youth are difficult to draw and get a good likeness. The reason for this is that there is nothing or very little in most cases, to distinguish one person from the other this is the reason that young women and children are more difficult to draw caricatures of than are men or older women.
Russ Keith is a self-taught artist. More of his drawing tutorials can be found here.