Caricatures – Then and Now

academy karikaturen zeichnen 01 - Caricatures - Then and Now

Satirical cartoons of Donald Trump and Co.

Caricatures are the drawing of a subject in a humorously exaggerated way, especially a satirical one, which can be found in newspapers or magazines. Caricatures have always been used to poke fun at film stars, politicians and celebrities. One of the most caricatured politicians at the moment is the new American President Donald Trump. The intention of a cartoonist is to criticize these people and circumstances and to make the viewer think of them in a humorous way.

A special form of caricatures is portrait caricatures. As the name suggests, these caricatures portray people, highlighting distinctive facial features. For example, in the caricatures of Donald Trump, his peculiar blond hair is the most important characteristic. In everyday life, we often see street artists in big cities, like Prague or Paris, who draw caricatures of the tourists in a matter of seconds.

History of caricatures

While there were caricature-like drawings during the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the socio-critical caricatures as we mean them nowadays, developed in Britain in the 18th century. Since then, they have spread throughout Europe, especially in France during the French Revolution.

Controversy about caricatures

Since caricatures are very often a ridiculous, mocking representation of people or situations, they are also very controversial. Especially in religious contexts, it´s hard to establish what a caricature can represent or not. Particularly controversial is the portrayal of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who according to Muslim belief must not be represented. In 2006, there was a so-called “cartoon dispute” and riots and protests in the Islamic world, because a Danish newspaper had caricatured the Prophet. The depiction of the prophet is also what caused the terrorist attack in 2015 on the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”.

Drawing caricatures

The first thing to do, when drawing caricatures, is to observe attentively the subject. What special external features does this person have, which one stands out particularly? Only afterwards comes the actual drawing. You should already have some knowledge of the norms of portraiture and have practiced a lot before drawing a caricature. Basically, caricatures are mostly simplified, comic-like drawings that can be made with only a few dashed lines.

What do you think about caricatures? Have you ever drawn any?

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