4.3 Caricature & character

The purpose of this exercise was to take the learning from the previous two research exercises and put this into practice.

Key words from the brief:

  • Pick a well-known television celebrity or personality who has a public persona on screen that might contrast with their private life or who has a particular reputation
  • Produce a character portrait of this personality. Aim to make the portrait recognisable
  • Then produce a much more satirical caricature of the same person in which you use exaggeration to hint at the other aspects of their personality

Approach

I looked at a number of celebrities and senior politicians before choosing the Liverpool Football Club manager Jurgen Klopp.

I decided on Jurgen Klopp he has a number of features that I thought would be easy to exaggerate in a caricature.

It would also be easy to include Liverpool Football Club imagery as a strong reference.

Character drawing

The character portrait was drawn from photographic reference.

Sketch032 INSTAGRAM
Jurgen Klopp – character drawing. Fountain pen with Indian Ink, A3 sized

Caricature drawing

Before attempting the caricature I did some research to get advice from other cartoonists/illustrators as to how I should approach the work.

I found an interesting website by cartoonist Tom Richmond https://www.tomrichmond.com/ that has some helpful tricks and tips. He places a huge amount of emphasis on getting the initial design right – faces consist of a small number of elements and it’s the size and relationship of these that make the caricature.

I used his advice to thumbnail my character. The elements I’d identified to play with and exaggerate were:

  • A big beaming smile with too many teeth and a slight overbite
  • Smiling eyes framed by designer glasses
  • A side parting and full head of hair
  • A slight double chin

The additional ‘props’ that would help identify him included:

  • The Liverpool Football Club logo
  • The hand on heart posture that he uses at the end of a match, usually when acknowledging the fans
  • The baseball cap
EPSON MFP image
Thumbnailing different caricatures to test what balance gives the best likeness

I used the same process to make the artwork that I adopted for Assignment 3 – A graphic short story, that is scaling up a thumbnail that works and then drawing on top of that using a lightbox to create the artwork. In this case there were two steps:

  1. Creating a pencil sketch – this was necessary because there were lots of corrections and adjustments to make so I couldn’t work directly in ink.
  2. Creating final line artwork using a dip pen and Indian Ink.

I then inked the black and white lineart using a dip-pen and black Indian Ink on Bristol Board.

The black and white line-art was then scanned into Photoshop where the colour was added using an overlay later.

EPSON MFP image
Jurgen Klopp caricature – final artwork. Pen & ink drawing coloured in Photoshop

Reflections

What went well

  • The design approach and execution of the caricature worked well; I like the visual quality of the finished artwork.
  • I like the feel of the black and white character sketch. I referred to a Robert Crumb book of sketches and used his unusual method of cross-hatching (using just vertical lines to add shadow and some tone) in the inking.
  • I’m going to experiment more with Tom Richmond’s method for creating caricatures because I think it’ll help me with my own visual design process and awareness.

What I’d do differently/better

  • I lost focus on the brief a bit by concentrating on making a successful caricature and not so much on the satire. I don’t mind that because I got a lot of value out of the exercise. I’ll redouble the satire for the next exercise.