Sunday Mailbag

December 24th, 2006 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: What sort of sequencing do you use when you do caricatures live? Do you draw in the head shape first, or start with an individual feature?

A: I was taught to start with the interior features first and work my way out and I still feel that is the best way to do it when working live. If you work from the head shape in, you are immediately locked into your entire caricature and all the relationships it will describe once the head shape is done. This often leads to generic looking caricatures… drawing the same face/head shape over and over again, and having very little variation to the relationships of the features within. By starting with the interior features first, you can make adjustments as you go and it’s easier to stay away from the same formula and same relationship of features.

Of course, it’s easy to be ‘generic’ when working inside out too, if you are not aware of the tendency to draw the features the same distance apart all the time. It just seems to me that you can work that head shape around much more varied feature relationships if you draw the eyes, nose and mouth first.

Thanks to Bill White 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. Jeff Bell says:

    I was going to ask that same question myself.. Thanks Bill! When can we expect your book on live caricature Tom?
    Have a great Christmas everyone!

  2. Tom says:

    I’ve given up any timeframe on the book. I just cannot find the time to work on it. My best guess is: someday.


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