Thursday, July 22, 2010

Caricaturing The Body

Sure, people have funny heads but doesn't the body deserve some ridicule as well?
I remember when I was a caricaturist at a theme park during summer break, my caricature boss told me what I was doing wrong: "You aren't drawing the heads big enough. A 'caricature' is when you draw a really big head and a small body. - oh and you take one feature -like the nose, and you make that really big too. - and put a wart on it." He also told me to have the small body holding a balloon- "That's what makes it funny." Or if it was a hot babe, "Draw her in a martini glass." Who knew the secrets of caricature were so simple!?
It might be harder to caricature bodies, but some people's bodies are just begging for it - like this actress'. Every time I see a full picture of her, the first thing that strikes me is not her face but her crazy proportions. If they ever make another live action Popeye movie, she could play Alice the Goon.

I know when a lot of us do caricatures we have our stock fatty body shape and our stock muscley shape, a stock skinny body but there are a lot more subtle variations that arrest the sharp eye as well.

Next: Is all this human drawing crap actually going to improve my cartooning?

20 comments:

RooniMan said...

I don't think caricatring is THAT simple.

Emily Anthony said...

Your ex-boss's philosophy is part of why many people have such low expectations for live caricatures, and are actually shocked when presented with a funny, spot-on one. That is, if they have a sense of humor and a somewhat accurate self-image of themselves in their heads...in that case they are better off with a giant head-teeny-body-holding a balloon one.

JohnK said...

Hi Emily

I bet you encounter this theory a lot! I like your caricatures by the way. Very funny.

Roberto Severino said...

Was this at Six Flags, John? Just curious. That sounds like an extremely formulaic way to caricature anyone. I doubt your boss even knew how to draw at all in the first place and he was trying to give you caricaturing advice. What a joke.

JohnK said...

It was at Ontario Place, centuries ago.

The boss didn't draw but he looked like Poopdeck Pappy - and had his personality. He also listened to cassette tapes of Raymond Scott!

Kelvin said...

Now that I think about it, caricaturing has a lot to do with contrasts in proportions, allowing you to be very cartoony much like Bob Clampett for example.

There's an older post you've made in the past that seems relevant to this lesson you're trying to teach through caricatures and stuff.

Contrasts (Revisited): http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2007/01/bgs-and-style-part-3-contrasts-in.html

It was just a realization that I had very recently.

Thanks Mr. K!

Isaak said...

This is off-topic, but I would like to know what you think of Pinnochio. Disney seemed to harbor some strange thoughts and they helped bring some interest to Pinnochio. At least with Looney Tunes, one can tell they are crazy and free-wheeling. Early Pinnochio is similar to the work of a repressed art teacher.

Love the caricatures.

Emily Anthony said...

Thank you, John! :-) I've learned an awful alot from hanging around our friend Miss Marlo.

Omar Momani said...

alice the goon, that is extremely funny

Thunderrobot said...

Hey John,

how do you get those thick soft pencil lines? I have tried tipping my pencil on it's side, but it doesn't look anything like your lines.

JohnK said...

That's how I do it

practice I guess..

or maybe try softer pencils

Isaak said...

Good news. I was rummaging through some of my DVDs and found a DVD called Cartoon Crazys Banned and Censored.

Guess what is on it.

Scrub me Mama with a Boogie Beat.

Along with this and All That and Rabbit Stew, only nine left to be released on DVD

Isaak said...

I just found some bad news from Amazon. The companies add new sound effects.

"I hate those meeses to pieces."

JohnK said...

What companies? CartoonCrazies?

Isaak said...

Yes.

Also, what do you think of Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips?

Ben Redlich said...

So true. I know plenty of cartoonists whose approach to caricature is essentially a straight portrait on top of a tiny body. This is the broad commercial approach I guess, because in some cases if you were to do a completely honest caricature you'd have ladies crying and fathers or husbands punching you in the eye!

Archie said...

Hey John, the BBC had a show in the mid 80's that was done with puppets. All of these puppets were based on caricatures off people at the time.

Here are a couple links if you fancy a peek.

http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/05_01/SpitBlair_468x613.jpg

http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/interviews/images/spitting-image_185.jpg

http://www.kidsera.com/images/0799.jpg

C said...

I don't know how you can't caricature the body of people. Especially if they have naturally crazy proportions, like Conan O'Brien, who is at least 80% leg.

Kirk said...

In Florence, -Firenze! the caricaturists mob the palazzo surrounding the Duomo, and they got all domestic American caricaturists beat. Sure as sh*t! Every one on a par with the finest of old Mort Drucker - improved with 600 years of draughtsmanship in their blood! And all scrabbling for the pennies of uncouth yankee tourists, ('cause the Chinese have no real affinity for the practice, evidently, and are content to lead each other around , bound in lines like a soft chain-gang, to soak up the ancient West...)

Sarah C. said...

I had a caricature done of myself in 1995 at Worlds Of Fun in KC, MO. I didn't know ho the artist was but I was actually impressed- especially since it was the first time I realized I looked a lot like my father and had his eyes and smile. Just my two cents