Editorial Cartoon: Caricature Fail


Editorial Cartoon: Life of a Caricature Artist

This cartoon was inspired by my attempts over the last 4 months to do more caricature work.  If you get a caricature done by me or someone else there are several reactions you may have.

  1. Wow that picture is great and it looks like me.
  2. Wow that picture is great but I am not sure it looks like me.
  3. That picture isn’t good/flattering but it does look like me
  4. That picture sucks and it doesn’t look anything like me.

I have run the gamut of reactions to my own work, though I have only had one person actually tell me number four (yet more probably felt that way).  I had my wife, and biggest critic, look over the work and she said “Yeah it looks like her, she just isn’t that attractive.”  I find that women are way more sensitive to you pointing out prominent characteristics in caricature.  I tend to go more realistic versus cartoony as I do with men.

A piece of advice I got from Jerry Dowling, former Cincinnati Enquirer editorial cartoonist and caricature artist, is that you should over emphasize the size of women’s eyes…they seem to like that.  He may or may not have said something about boob size too, I can’t remember.

He related a story of live drawing a caricature of a woman as her husband was looking over his shoulder.  Suddenly, her husband, who obviously thought the drawing wasn’t pretty enough, said “Don’t you know she is a former Beauty Queen.”  To which Jerry handed him his pen and said “Great, so you finish up the drawing”

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80 Responses to “Editorial Cartoon: Caricature Fail”

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  1. MJ says:

    Ha,ha,ha! Funny stuff. Caricatures are not the easiest subject for everyone.

  2. More power to someone that can do caricatures well… my attempts have usually ended in disaster, often being chased by angry caricature subjects with pitchforks and torches…

  3. George says:

    I like the young whippersnapper Bearboy artist. 🙂

    Caricatures are touchy for some folks. If you’re fat, do you really want an artist to overemphasize that? You’re correct about the ladies. They’re a bit more sensitive than the guys are.

    As a caricaturist, it helps to listen to your subject as you’re getting down to business. A lot of them will tell you up front what they would like to see or what they don’t want shown. For example, “Please don’t draw ALL of these moles that are on my nose please! And fix my hair up some. It’s all poofy right now.”

    They have the money, so you’ve gotta listen to what they want. Honesty is not always the best policy. You get used to it the more you do.

    I think you’re getting better with each new piece. You’re starting to trust your own instincts more and relaxing as you work.

    • Bearman says:

      Thanks G. When I do a paid commission I am more apt to be receptive to feedback. When I am doing a random caricature at no charge but at a request, I have little tolerance for people being nitpicky (even though I truly do want them to like it).

      The issue is people assume a caricaturist does the same thing that a portrait painter does and they want an exact likeness.

      • George says:

        They need to realize that a caricature is an exaggerated distortion of features. It’s meant to appear clownish and buffonish.

        • Bearman says:

          Which made it hard to do your caricature because you are already clownish and buffoonish. Or as you said “buffonish” which I guess has something to do with big hair.

  4. Jande says:

    “You’re a braver man than I, Gunga Din.”

    I don’t have the courage to either do caricatures or to have one done. lol Love the cartoon. :`D

  5. Mark Stokes says:

    I drew a caricature of this older woman once. She was dressed in men’s shorts, she was wearing a men’s plaid sports jacket, and a fedora. After I finished her drawing, she exclaimed, indignant “You made me look like an old man!” I bit my tongue, but what I wanted to say was “I didn’t do that, God did!” Sometimes you just can’t call them exactly as you see them.

  6. Mr. Captoon says:

    “Failure is the first step towards the success” this really suits on you.

  7. DadaHyena says:

    A piece of advice from someone who’s worked as a caricaturist at two major theme parks: don’t try to ‘beautify’ people.

    It’s natural to think that if you depict someone as good-looking or cool in cartoon form that they’re going to buy it up, but whenever I had chosen to over-glorify customers they would ALWAYS respond, “That doesn’t look like me”. Flattery really doesn’t get you anywhere.

    You’re better off making someone look funny and having them get a laugh than trying to overcompensate for your skills by trying to draw them as beauty queens and magazine models, because people really aren’t as big of suckers as we would like them to be. Go for laughter.

  8. Tony McGurk says:

    Seems like the saying “Me thinks thou doth protest too much” applies to people who protest about their caricatures

  9. Binky says:

    I think you have to be pretty brave to do caricatures. If I had the talent, I’d probably make everyone look much better so they wouldn’t be mad.

    I think mine was a number one, even though my hips aren’t that big.

  10. bschooled says:

    I seriously can’t stop laughing at this cartoon…

    WHY can’t I stop laughing at this????

  11. James says:

    Everyone’s a critic…especially ugly people.

  12. Chris K says:

    Good one. Sometimes you can’t please a customer even when the outcome is an improvement.

    • Bearman says:

      Same is true in business. Sometimes they are happy you went the extra mile, and sometimes they will complain about paying for the extra gas.

  13. Kim says:

    I can see women being more of a concern for you to draw. My aunt used to do live caricatures at Disneyland and I remember going a couple of times and watching her work. I couldn’t get over how quick she was but, of course, speed was the key to making money. She also had the personality to sit out there and interact with people. That would be the hard part for me…if someone critiqued my work I would have to respond rather than putting holes in my lips.

    You definitely do good work and my eyes are a lovely shade of blue but when I smile big they disappear. Bearman you captured that perfectly. :-]

  14. Miss R says:

    I literally, and immediately laughed out loud at this one Bearman. Nice!

  15. nursemyra says:

    Well, when you did mine, you certainly captured my cheekbones and forehead. It was a pretty good likeness, but being a typical girl, I didn’t find it flattering 😉

  16. Nate Fakes says:

    Quit giving yourself a hard time! I enjoyed all my caricatures. In fact, I secretly look in the mirror everyday and try to get MY look down off of them.

  17. I always love your caricatures, Bearman!
    Pretty sure I’d be fine being drawn in any light (of course, I’ve had some time to… ah… let my mug… ‘soak-in’, so)…

  18. Well I just love my Character otherwise I wouldn’t use it for my gravatar! You can use me for a happy reference!

  19. Deb says:

    Lol…Very funny Bearman!

  20. Tony Mcgurk says:

    In case you were wondering what happened to your comment/s on my Chef’s Story they went to moderation due to my Disqus swearing filter being turned on. it was the “Bloody” Mary that did it. Approved now & I deleted the duplicates….
    I’m curious, did it give you a message that your comment went to moderation???

  21. JillsyGirl says:

    I once had a caricature done. It was not unflattering but I could not see any resemblance. (Maybe it was better that way!)

  22. Friggin Loon says:

    Umm, umm, no comment 🙄

  23. Bo Lumpkin says:

    Maybe you should add action to all your caricatures.. I love the one you did of me and it has me runnin’ to the outhouse.

  24. duncanr says:

    Have to agree with the woman, Bearman – you made her look real ugly.

    Now if only you’d included those balls on her jersey, she’d have been a whole lot happier and looked a damn sight prettier 😆

    P.S. loved the caricature you did of me. Friends and family who’ve seen it love it too !

  25. Corve says:

    funny stuff…lol
    I am scared about asking someone to deliver on this because I am scared about the outcome.

    I would have you do it though.

  26. Friggin Loon says:

    and by the way I have never, ever owned a pink top with blue spots, damn you.

  27. lisleman says:

    Your findings don’t surprise me or the fashion industry.

    Different subject – thought you would find it interesting.

    Don’t know if you care for his music but the drawings involved in the project are amazing.

  28. Hahaha!
    People who don’t have the ability to laugh at themselves shouldn’t be getting caricatures done. No sense of humor = no caricature.
    Great job, Art Boy!

  29. Jenn says:

    Hmm funny enough I just finished drawing a caricature for my friends and I wonder how they’ll take it…

  30. That’s one area I have thought about dabbling in but never have. I know some people have even ripped up the picture right in front of the artist but at least they paid in advance. Nice cartoon by the way.

  31. Nef says:

    Some people hate free stuff so much that in order for them to like your caricature, you have to charge them for it…

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