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What is a Caricature?

A caricature is a type of drawing, or illustration, that is cartoonish in nature. Many caricatures are drawings of people, but they can also be drawings of places or things.

Unlike regular drawings or portraits, caricatures are generally distorted somewhat. Usually, the main flaws in the subject are grossly over-exaggerated, but the subject is usually still recognizable. For instance, a caricature of a person with slightly large ears may consist of a comical drawing of the person with extremely large “Dumbo” ears.

Caricatures are often meant to be humorous, and they are often used in comic strips, particularly political cartoons. Good-spirited individuals might also consider having their caricatures drawn by a talented professional, either on the street or at a festival or other event.

What Does a Caricaturist Do?

In essence, a caricaturist is an illustrator or cartoonist – but with a twist. Before creating a drawing or sketch, a caricaturist will typically look at a person or object and determine which features are somewhat unusual. These features will usually be the focal point of the caricaturist’s work.

Once an idea has formed in a caricaturist’s mind, he will then attempt to put this idea on paper. Like other illustrators and cartoonists, caricaturists use a few common drawing implements, including pencils, pens, and erasers.

In many cases, a caricaturist will make several quick sketches of an idea before he completes a final caricature. If the final drawing is in pencil, it will usually be sprayed with a fixative to prevent smudges. Many modern caricaturists will also scan their drawings as well. These digital images can then be accessed easily and sent to publishers and websites. Some caricaturists might even create their drawings solely with special design software.

Where Do Caricaturists Work?

The majority of caricaturists work as freelance independent artists. They might work as street artists, for instance, sketching caricatures of willing passersby. Some caricature artists also work out of booths at fairs an amusement parks, while others travel to events like birthday parties to draw caricatures of guests.

Publishers of political cartoons also usually work with caricaturists on a regular basis as well. Some talented caricaturists may even have their comic strips syndicated, meaning that they are published in several different magazines and newspapers.

What Are the Education Requirements for a Caricature Career?

There are some caricaturists that might be able to build a successful caricature career without any formal training or education. This is typically the exception to the rule, however, rather than the norm. The majority of very successful caricaturists usually have some type of formal education under their belts.

Art schools can usually help aspiring caricaturists hone their already existing skills. Typically, a budding caricaturist should consider a degree in drawing or illustration. A graphic design degree can also come in handy for caricaturists that prefer to work with a digital medium.

Individuals interested in a caricature career are often able to choose from a few different degrees. For instance, those who want to study the basics of drawing and illustration can choose to earn a certificate. Others interested in caricature careers can also choose to earn two or four year degrees.

What is the Average Salary for a Caricaturist?

As with many other art professions, it can be difficult to predict how much a caricaturist makes. Some caricaturists, for instance, might not make any money on their sketches, while others might be able to make a decent wage.

To give you an idea of how much some caricaturists might be able to make, the Bureau of Labor Statistics records salary data for several different art professions. Illustrators, for example, made an average salary of $53,080 in 2010, and cartoonists who were just starting their careers made an average salary of about $30,000 in that same year.

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