Develop Expressive Characters Through Caricature

——   Created by Melissa Lee

Part of the Character Design Crash Course Series

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More about this course

Welcome to Character Design Crash Course, a series of illustration classes meant for beginning cartoonists or intermediate character artists looking for a refresher. In this course, I focus on all things caricature and how it relates to character design. Spoiler alert: you can’t have character design without caricature. The principals and ideas overlap so much that I believe it is absolutely necessary to study caricature in order to become a great character designer.

I’ll take you through my process for creating a traditional caricature of a real person, as well as share some exercises that should, hopefully, help make starting a caricature a little less intimidating, and which can help you apply the principles you’ll learn to your own original characters.

What You'll Learn

  • What is Caricature? I explain what exactly caricature and exaggeration is and why it is essential to understand in order to be a good character designer.
  • The Masters of Caricature: I share some of the all stars of caricature, how studying their work helps you build your versatility, and talk about the importance of being influenced by more than one artist.
  • The Sections of the Face: I demonstrate how identifying the spacing of the different sections of the face helps you determine how to exaggerate successfully.
  • The Process of creating a traditional caricature. Hint: Use lots of reference!

What You'll Make

It's up to you! You can choose to make a traditional caricature portrait, turn yourself into a cartoon, or cartoon-ize a live action fictional character!

Note: You can do everything I'm going to demonstrate in this class traditionally, but if you do want to work digitally (I use Photoshop and Procreate in this class), some beginning knowledge and experience with the digital drawing program of your choice is likely necessary. If you want to learn more advanced digital painting techniques, I have a couple of classes on Adobe Photoshop in my channel.

The course project

It's up to you! You can choose to make a cartoon version of your own face, a traditional caricature portrait, a caricature of a live action fictional character, or all three!

Please feel free to post rough sketches first for feedback.




9 Lessons

What is Caricature?
The Masters of Caricature
Exercise 1: Changing the Spacing of the Eye, Nose, and Mouth Lines
Exercise 2: Caricature/Cartoon Yourself
Exercise 3: Traditional Caricature - Amanda Seyfried
Exercise 3: Traditional Caricature - David Tennant
Exercise 4: Caricature a Live Action Fictional Character
Closing Thoughts
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Class benefits

  • Certificate of Completion
  • 14 day free trial
  • 24/7 streaming access
  • Project included
  • Teacher Q&A
  • 55m of on-demand video
  • 2 downloadable files
  • Have a coupon?

About the instructor

Hi! My name's Melissa Lee, and I'm an illustrator and surface designer living in the hilly forests of Northern California. Alongside doing freelance and art licensing work, I've spent much of my time cultivating my love of sharing what I know and encouraging others to nourish their creative side through …

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