At the start of the year I drew a multi-character caricature, as a staff member leaving present, for a large, London based construction company. There was one major and eighteen minor characters to incorporate into the design and I really enjoyed doing it.
I’ve done several multi-character caricatures and it’s particularly gratifying when get a good result because lots of people are pleased at the same time.
Though some people are harder to caricature than others, given two or three up-to date photos that are good likenesses of the subject I can get a good result in all cases.
The word caricature, often misspelt as charicature, does not come from character, as I assumed, but basically means ‘loaded portrait’ and is, according to Wikipedia, ‘a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness’.
I’ve always enjoyed the work of British caricaturists, and I have modern collections of the 18th and 19th century artists such as Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and George Cruickshank. Though not classified as a caricaturist, as he generally captured true likeness in his engravings and paintings of political commentary, William Hogarth is my favourite artist and he did do some excellent caricatures.
Growing up in 1960s I admired the work of Ralph Steadman, Willie Rushton and Gerald Scarfe though I found them rather savage and I tended toward the gentler styles of American artists like Mort Drucker and Jack Davis, whose work appeared in Mad magazine.
In the 1980s and 90s Spitting Image brought caricature into 3D on TV and had huge effect on some politicians careers. Today newspapers generally carry a cartoon of political caricature. Christian Adams in the Telegraph is one of my favourites.
I have done some political caricatures and cartoons of a more gentle nature and a few celebrity caricatures – I did a 60s version of The Who that I was pleased with – though the majority of my work tends to be personal and corporate caricatures for gifts, either individual or group caricatures.