Sunday Mailbag

January 9th, 2011 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: For some time I have been looking for instruction on caricature art. The online courses strike me as a bit sketchy (ok,..shame on me). Could you give me a lead or some direction on how I can learn this art form?

A: There are a lot of different ways to learn to do caricature. Some work better for one person than another, so there is no “right way” to learn the art form. Here are some of the things I recommend for anyone wanting to learn how to draw caricatures:


There is no definitive book on how to draw caricatures out there, but there are a lot of very helpful ones with great information and instruction. Here’s a list of a few I recommend:

There are a lot of others but I’ve got no experience with them so I can’t recommend them one way or another. Hopefully I will add my book to that list this summer.


Caricaturist and animator Jim Van Der Kyle has had a series of instructional videos on drawing caricatures for years that I always recommend for anyone wanting to get started with caricature, especially those interested in doing live caricature drawing. You can find Jim’s videos for sale here.

Theme Parks

If you REALLY want to learn how to draw caricatures the best way is to get a job as a caricaturist at a theme park. It’s like boot camp for caricaturists, where you draw along side many other artists of varying skills and experience. By the end of a summer of drawing at a theme park you will have a pretty good grasp of caricature. That’s a big time investment, but there is nothing better.

On-Line courses

Since I’ve never taken any of these types of caricature instruction courses I can’t recommend any. Sorry.

Most of all look at and study the work of other caricaturists to help you develop your eye for exaggeration and capturing likenesses. Oh, and draw, draw, draw.

Thanks to Michael McGilvray 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 your questions and I’ll try and answer them here!


  1. julio cesar naranjo says:

    Hi Tom ill just wait for your upcomig HOW TO book i cant wait to have it. Take care.


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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