Caricature Artists, Henna Tattoo Artists, Face Painters and More!

About Caricature Artists

Did you know Leonardo Da Vinci drew caricatures?   So did Monet, and Daumier.  Along with all sorts of people you wouldn’t expect, like Dick Van Dyke and George Clooney. 

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary tells us that the word caricature comes from the Italian caricare:  to load, and that it means exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics.

In his book, How to Draw Caricatures, Lenn Redman wrote that the essence of caricature is exaggeration—not distortion.  He suggests that caricaturists exaggerate for the sake of truth, as opposed to distorting in order to deny that truth.  If you spend some time glancing through our celebrity examples, you’ll see that some caricaturists can stretch that exaggeration to extremes, while others gently create kind cartoon portraits.

Many caricature artists shape the way today’s caricaturists draw and approach their art. Some shaped the very society in which they lived.

  Charles Philipon, owner of the magazine La Caricature, so offended the new government of Louis-Philippe with his caricatures that he was repeatedly thrown in jail.

In the early 1800s in France, Philipon's magazines were the first to portray Louis-Philippe as a pear, a reference to the shape of the king's head and also a French sexual pun. The symbol quickly spread and was accepted as the universal symbol for Louis-Philippe and his regime. It appeared often in caricatures and graffiti. Wax pears were sold as souvenirs. Finally, as a result of Philipon's caricatures and magazine, a law was passed concerning the freedom of press and, in effect, banning political caricature.

In the mid-to-late 1800s, Thomas Nast became the most influential American political cartoonist of the time, helping to bring down the Boss Tweed ring and New York's corrupt Tammany Hall political machine with his caricatures.  Along the way, he created our popular image of Santa Claus and the G.O.P. elephant. 

The turn of the century brought the stylized works of Mexican American Miguel Covarrubias who was published in Vanity Fair, Fortunes,  and the New Yorker.   His pen and ink work was sharply geometric and his watercolors and goaches still maintained the same dramatic yet highly stylized exaggeration.

Al Hirschfeld was born in 1903 and was still publishing caricatures when he died in 2003.  He will always be remembered for his caricatures of the New York theatre.  The simple, elegant, economical lines that were his trademark made him perhaps the most famous caricaturist of our time.

Mort Drucker has been drawing caricatures and covers for MAD magazine since 1955.  His penciled and pen and ink movie parodies include many celebrities, drawn again and again, from many vantage points, each time with different expressions.  The parody of The Sopranos, illustrated below, is typical of his spot on likenesses and humorous renditions which have inspired generations of adolescents to want to learn to draw caricatures.  Not limited to MAD, he has done freelance advertising for clients ranging from McDonald's to HBO.  His covers span US magazine to Business Week to TIME magazine.  His Time covers are in National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian institute inWashington, D.C.

Jack Davis, another MAD magazine contributor, is a master of color.  His rubbery creations, often grotesque, always sporting oversized hands and feet, are beautifully yet rapidly rendered.  He has drawn 36 covers for Time magazine as well as many for TV guide. 

His distortion and exaggeration is almost beyond belief, yet German caricature artist Sebastian Kruger retains a distinct likeness in all of his work.  When addressing the National Caricaturist Network as their guest speaker in 2000 and again in 2003, he explained how he uses acrylics to create his surreal art. 

ISCA is an association of caricature artists from around the world. At their annual convention, they have a competition among attending artists. Here are samples from the winners from the past few years.

 

These few artists only scratch the surface.   Names like Steadman, Sorel, Scarfe, and Staake come to mind.  And those are just the ones beginning with an S! 

Quick sketch retail caricature artists today work in theme parks, in malls, at resorts.  Party artists caricature at private parties, conventions and banquets.  Illustrators work freelance, publishing their work in magazines and papers.  Finally, a small number exhibit their work in galleries and museums.  There are few rich caricature artists, but many of them who enjoy their work.