Caricature portraits are funny paintings that show people’s faces distorted while maintaining their likeness. In this tutorial, learn how to paint a caricature portrait of your own using Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom Intuos Draw Tablet.
Software: Adobe Photoshop CC
Completion Time: 10 hours
Images You Can Use For This Tutorial
Young Man Portrait
Draw the Caricature
Open a New Document in Adobe Photoshop at 1110×1270 pixels at 300 dpi. Keep the reference of the person you would like to draw nearby. Here I’ll be using this free reference as our subject.
Analyze your subject closely and see which areas stand out the most. The key to drawing a caricature is to emphasize the features of the face that make the person who they are. In this case, the man’s large ears, lips, and jaw line can be exaggerated.
Once you know which areas you would like to exaggerate, begin drawing your caricature. Create a New Layer above the white background and use a Hard Round Pressure Opacity Brush (B) to sketch your caricature. Make sure the option for Pressure for Opacity is selected.
Draw a gray sketch as clean as possible. This is a minimal painting so you don’t have to include the background or too much of the clothing. Focus on exaggerating the face with an emphasis on the jawline.’
Here is the finished sketch.
To start painting the caricature we need a base. Create another New Layer named “Base” underneath the sketch and use a Hard Round Brush at 100% Hardness to paint the base colors for the face, hair, and shirt collar. Because the sketch layer is set to Soft Light, the sketch will blend nicely into the base colors.
Create a New Layer above the base and set it as a Clipping Mask to the base. Name the layer Shadows and set the Blend Mode to Multiply. We’ll be using the Eyedropper Tool (I) to select colors to set as our Foreground Color, then use those colors already on the canvas to paint the first shadows for this portrait.
Let’s start adding some highlights. Clip a New Layer named, Highlights, to the base. Set the Blend Mode to Linear Dodge (Add) and use the Eyedropper Tool (I) to pickup nearby colors to paint highlights. You should be studying your original reference this entire time that you paint. Concentrate the highlights towards the upper regions of the face.
It’s time to tidy up this painting and make it look cleaner. To do this, use the same Hard Round Pressure Opacity Brush from earlier to start cleaning up the texture in the face, hair, and collar. Paint all this on the Caricature layer, making sure to clean up the soft blurry edges with a crisper edge.
Create a New Layer above the Caricature layer and name it Highlights. Set the Blend Mode to Overlay and use white and bright warm colors to add more highlight onto the skin. Make the cheeks and ears a little rosier and the top of the forehead and hair brighter.
Paint the hair for the beard in all different directions. Draw swift tiny strokes to show light and movement.
Merge all your caricature layers together except for the background to finish this painting on two separate layers. This will help with file size and performance.
Create a New Layer above the caricature and set it to Linear Light. Use the same blue from the shirt, paint soft shadow on the bottom and sides of your portrait using a Soft Round Brush. Merge all the layers together.
Here is the final painting.
And that’s it! Digital paintings take a lot of practice but with time and determination you can create a fun caricature of your own! I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, feel free to let us know your questions in the comments below. Good luck!
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