In Process

Contemporary Caricature

Research point
Find examples of contemporary caricature and identify the elements of the drawing that help with the character recognition and where the caricature takes place. From the information contained in the drawing, how do you know who this person is? How has the illustrator exaggerated or embellished this visual information to provide a caricature? What are the connotations of their exaggerations? Reflect on this in your learning log.

See Caricature

While symbolism and metaphor underpins the structure of satirical cartoons, caricature provides both its currency and its bite. Caricature communicates who you are talking about to an audience, and it also provides some commentary on what you think of them.

As Hogarth’s The Bench points out, there’s a difference between character and caricature.

  • Character is about recognising the person, caricature about commenting on that person. This is a process of denotation – we need to know accurately who this is;
  • For caricature to work, you need to capture the essence of the person from a ‘I know who that person is’ to ‘I know what that person thinks, feels, how they act’ perspective.  This second is about connotation
    – what are you saying about this person?

Exaggerated portraits

Some caricatures are mainly exaggerated portraits from a particular point of view. These vary in their degree of realism of rendering from outline sketches and cartoon animation-like effects to distorted painterly portraits. Some of these latter are very large – an interesting way of starting a caricature.

Gary Brown: Tony Blair caricature  mainly distorts his face and eyes to give a manic appearance. For more Gary Brown see–a772940-b1880/gary-brown-portraits-posters.htm?&RFID=118792

Steve Brodner

Jan op de Beek  

Jan op de Beeck

This is a relatively sympathetic subdued portrait of Trump. His eyes seem quite wise and avuncular, but  contrast with his puckered somewhat pouting mouth.  See more images from Google search

Sebastian Kruger

Kruger does very large oil portraits distorting the features, but photorealistic.

His website: . More Google images

In the caricature below, the line above Mick Jagger’s head makes him look like a hanged puppet, while his bloodshot eyes stare somewhat accusingly out at us.

Robert Risko

cartoon retro airbrush style

Angela Merkel

Barry Fantoni: His portraits of 70s and 80s television celebrities, while exaggerating facial features and expressions for comic effect, are centred on being able to represent the character accurately. In the image below the tightening of the lips and rabbit-tooth smile seems to indicate meanness. For more See Pinterest board

I also looked for collage caricatures, but could not find nearly as much as I expected. Mostly distorting the face.
Awesome Collage Caricatures

Barack Obama Nick Oliver

Satirical caricature

Other caricaturists combine symbols and narrative together with caricature for satirical commentary on social and political issues.

Thea Brine

hints at caricature but remains true to the character, with very realistic faces but stylised bodies.

See her website

Martin Rowson has a more fantasy-like style with a lot of symbolism and a strong political message. 

See University of Kent archive,  Cartoon Gallery, Guardian archives

Steve Bell

Steve Bell’s powerful satirical caricatures vary significantly for the same subject depending on the message he is trying to convey. This gives his caricatures considerable impact and depth.

See also satirical animated caricatures in Spitting Image.