Sunday Mailbag- Caricatures in Masks?

June 12th, 2016 | Posted in Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag!

Q: I was recently studying your work on the Batmen print hanging on my wall and a question came to mind: When you are drawing superheroes (or other masked characters), you are given less real estate to get a good likeness, yet I can easily tell who each of the Batmen are, from just their mouths, eyes and feature relationship. Do you find yourself starting with a normal caricature of the actor first before adding the mask over it, or do you start with the mask and place the features where they belong? Thanks!

A: The mask (or glasses, or mustache, or anything else that is partly covering the face) is part of the look of the subject at the time you are doing the caricature. Therefore those elements are treated like any other facet or feature of the face, and is drawn in tandem with the rest, not separate. You treat it all as a whole, not a collection of separate parts.

I did these Batman caricatures drawing the masks and all at the same time. In fact, I exaggerated certain aspects of the masks themselves as well as the parts of the face you can see. Had I done them separately, I think there would have been an odd feeling to the caricature… as if they didn’t quite fit together.


Thanks to Zach Morris 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. Mike Wallster says:

    That was a great question, which raises an interesting point…the masks cover so much of the faces, yet as the writer says we can tell who’s who quite easily. This makes me appreciate your skill even more. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…if you take Mort Drucker’s character mastery and combine it with the fun, zany style of Jack Davis you get Tom Richmond.


Sketch o'the Week- Natalia Dyer! @strangerthingstv #strangerthings #nataliadyer @mad.magazine

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