Memories Are The Essence Of A Caricature

Our memories of friends and family come from looking at their faces. We’ll always remember our grandmother’s laugh lines around the corners of her eyes. We’ll never forget the big bushy eyebrows and mustache of our childhood neighbor from three doors down. It’s almost impossible to think of a certain niece without her signature glossy red lipstick. A caricature is a humorous tribute to all our individual and unique features.

The caricature artist takes those dominate first impressions and translates them into a look and a portrait we’ll remember forever. A good caricature has a definite playfulness to it. The artist takes his pencils and markers to purposely exaggerate certain striking characteristics in order to create a humorous effect.  He is allowed to take liberties and say things with his keen eye, fast hands and sardonic wit that we dare not.  He recognizes Uncle Nick’s large and bulbous nose and Aunt Ethyl’s eyebrows that she draws on every morning are fair game. Unlike a formal portrait sitting, a caricature is a snapshot in time. It may be drawn at a graduation, a birthday party, a wedding reception or an amusement park. The caricature is sketched quickly and to the point. Bold splashy colors quickly fill the paper. There’s no do overs or embellishments.  The audience giggles and laughs as they watch the details come together. When it’s complete, we all weigh-in on how it looks. “It doesn’t look like me,” says the subject, but we all know better.

A caricature more than just a fun portrait done quickly.  It’s a flashback to that special occasion several summers ago.  It hangs on a refrigerator door, bedroom wall or bulletin board to remind us that we had fun on that specific day in time.

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