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How to Draw a Caricature of Your Family & Friends

Caricature Drawing, Ruth Lee
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Draw someone you know in real life as a caricature.

Core Ideas

Character design, Proportions, Exaggeration, Gesture


Pencil, Ink, Drawing Paper, Wacom Intuos Tablet, Cintiq or other Digital Drawing Tablet

Recommended Tutorials


Choose someone you know in real life.

Have them sit and pose for you and do some quick sketches.

Take photo references of the person so you can finish the drawing later.

Caricature Drawing, Ruth Lee

Note the following:

What are the unique physical features of your model?  What parts of their body could you exaggerate to express their personality?

Examples of how to exaggerate:

Nose: tiny, gigantic, pointed, boney, etc.
Eyes: bulging, thin, closed, round, etc.
Lips: soft, thin, voluptuous, etc.
Posture: upright, relaxed, tight
Hair:  wild, stiff, straight, curly, bushy, etc.
Body type:  muscular, lean, short, tall, etc.

Caricature Drawing, Ruth Lee

Sketch out the entire body.  Start by blocking out the largest shapes.

For example, if you want to emphasize your model’s nose, draw the nose much larger in your drawing than you normally would.

Caricature Drawing, Ruth Lee

Pay attention to their clothing:  how is their personality expressed in their clothing?

Caricature Drawing, Ruth Lee

Add props.  For example, if your model likes to sing, draw a microphone in their hand. If they like gardening, try drawing flowers growing out of their hair.

Caricature Drawing, Ruth Lee


Julie Sharpe

Julie Sharpe
Project Assistant

“This project was very rewarding for me because I generally enjoy drawing caricatures of others, including those closest to me. For this project, I drew a caricature of my mother, who has a habit of yelling at others on the phone.

When I was making the initial observational sketches, I noticed several features about my mother that I hadn’t focused on before, including the distinct shape of her hair and the pattern of wrinkles around her face. I also wanted to capture her personality with the drawing, so I exaggerated the placement of her limbs to make her seem more irritated.

This project provided me with an opportunity to closely examine the unique characteristics of someone I know well, and allowed me to practice capturing someone’s personality through gesture and placement of the body. I also gained experience working in ballpoint pen, which is a medium that I do not typically use.”

Ruth Lee

Ruth Lee
Project Assistant

“One of the things I find most interesting and fun to draw is people with strong features: it makes the process of portraying/expressing the subject more unique and engaging, and lets you showcase things that might be noticed in passing but aren’t appreciated in their own right.

Though I see my father daily, I definitely haven’t sat down purely to draw him and his features alone until this project. Despite the old familiarity of his face and overall presence, there’s something refreshing and new about focusing in detail on something that’s so familiar that I take it for granted.

I had so much fun taking a bold black brush pen to carve out his boxy head, trademark engineer glasses and pursed lips–the classic “don’t bother me, I’m working” face–because I ended up with a piece that was hilariously exaggerated, yet still spot-on accurate and recognizable as my dad at the same time. Making the caricature, I first took my reference photos (candid), and did a few quick sketches.

After sketching and deciding on my composition, I began sketching deeper in detail based off my reference photos, defining/bringing out the key features I had listed for myself to highlight in the beginning. Once I finished a good overall outline sketch, I inked over the sketch on a new, semi-transparent piece of paper on top to allow the features to shine unhindered by pencil marks.

I chose to ink with a brush pen to give myself more options for expression of line weight and curvature, and because it would give me the bold, strong ink marks that I knew would best suit my dad’s face.”

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