Great BBC Caricature Video Short

February 21st, 2009 | Posted in Surf's Up Dept.

Frequent reader of The Mad Blog and fellow Minnesotan Marv Sohlo emailed me a link to this video which features a short but informative piece on caricatures and why they resonate so much with people. It’s from the BCC show “The Human Face” narrated by John Cleese. Unfortunately the creators do not allow embedding, but click on the screen capture to go to the YouTube clip:

Click to go to the videoClick on the image for the full clip… it’s less than 2 minutes…. we’ll wait…

I’ve always said that a really good caricature looks more like the subject than a photo does, and some of the observations this video makes about how the brain processes the human face offers some explanation as to why that might be very true. While that is interesting, it’s the short interview with Spitting Image caricaturist Tim Watts and his great caricature sculpture of narrator Cleese that really makes this video good. Watt’s observations on what needed to be exaggerated on Cleese are spot on. Most enlightening is his observation that in order to exaggerate the chin and forehead “something had to give” and that meant reducing the size of Cleese’s nose and making it more delicate. That’s a great example of the theory of constant mass in action.


  1. Arun says:

    Awesome video !!! Will come in handy the next time someone says ‘hey youve drawn the nose too big or the jaw is too long’ 😉 !
    Thanks for the link Tom and Marv !

  2. you took the words right out of my mouth, a perfect example of the theory of constant mass. great sculptures too.

    thanks for sharing this great video.

  3. jert says:

    My friend Justin showed this episode to me a couple years ago, it’s fascinating isn’t it?


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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