Sunday Mailbag- Hardest Feature to Draw?

May 29th, 2016 | Posted in Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag!

Q: Which is the hardest feature on a face to draw? I’m finding the mouth to always mess things up despite following some of your advice in that realm (i.e. draw the lower line of the upper lip first, etc). I would probably say whichever feature one is trying to caricature, probably has the most impact on whether one’s drawing “works” and that could potentially be the hardest but for me, things seem to fall apart more when I get to the mouth. Any ideas or exercises you would recommend?

A: The hardest feature to draw is whatever one you happen to be struggling with at the time. It’s different for everyone, and changes with an artist’s development. The way to combat that is to study whatever feature is confounding you and work on drawing it until you stop having trouble with it. Look at the work of other artists in how they handle the mouth, learn the anatomy behind it, and fill up sketchbooks drawing it at every conceivable angle and position. Keep drawing mouths until they change from a weakness to a strength.

Thanks to Michael Hagerman for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


  1. Trying to look at the features and thinking of them first as flat shapes helped me a lot in seeing the relative size and proportion of the features against each other and it made drawing and exaggerating easier for me.

  2. inkslingerz says:

    It helps to practice (really) drawing the line over and over until you get what you want, then trace it ‘back’ to your main sketch to match it with the rest of the face. Practice.

  3. Grover says:

    The hardest feature to draw is the world and everything in it.
    The process of simplifying shapes, I found in your book, was really helpful. So good to draw shapes and not lines. so THANKS!!!


I am close to adding a second caricature workshop in January in Orlando. Details here:

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