How To Add Color to a Caricature Portrait

A caricature portrait can be a most expressive style to bring out the particular character of a subject, and the results make for wonderful gifts, made even better with a touch of color.

  1. What part of the caricature should you add color to first? I recommend adding color to the caricature in the areas where skin is showing. Clothes and accessories are worn by the person on top of their skin, so when you add color to a caricature, follow the same principle. Adding color to your caricature like this ends up coloring the caricature with a better finished look, so lay down that base color on your caricature. The exact color will often be a variation of two colors for you caricature—tan or brown, with paler and darker versions of each.
  2. You’re not quite finished with adding flesh tones to the caricature yet. Now that you’ve got that base color on your caricature, you’ll want to add some shading colors to the caricature. Use a color a shade darker than the one you used for the base, and imagine there’s a light shining on your caricature subject from somewhere. Determine where the shadows would fall, and add the right color to the caricature according to this. For example, lightly color the caricature on the shadow side of their legs and arms, face, and neck. If you’ve drawn hands big enough, add a dash of shading color to your caricature in the bends of their fingers and at their knuckles. Add a bit of shadow color to the caricature at the side of their nose on the cheek. Don’t get too carried away; merely add a little realistically placed shading color to give the caricature dimension.
  3. It’s time for adding finer details of color to your caricature’s body. How about freckles, red nails, or makeup on your caricature? Color the lips and lashes of your caricature, and apply eye-shadow color to the caricature as necessary. Give texture to the hair by adding a few darker lines of color to the caricature’s hair. Remember, in adding color to a caricature, less is more, and it’s usually best to use the boldest brightest colors for a caricature (particularly if you’re coloring makeup on a caricature).
  4. OK! You get to add clothing colors to your caricature now! Once again, use the boldest brightest colors for your caricature. Don’t worry about matching the real colors to the colors in your caricature exactly—getting the exact color to add to the caricature is not as necessary as making the caricature colorfully eye-catching.
  5. Add shading color to your caricature’s clothing just as with the shading of skin color of a caricature, except with cloth. Use the appropriate color on the caricature for each piece of clothing when adding darker shades of color to the caricature’s clothes. Above all, remember that less is more; adding too many shadows will obscure the vivid simplicity that defines a well drawn and well colored caricature.

Caricature portraits are wonderful, and they are just one small portion of the large world of art and design.  If you're looking to improve your caricature portrait drawing skills, or would like to look into other areas of the art world, you should consider taking courses through an online art and design university.  Online art and design courses give you the opportunity to improve on your technique from the comfort of your home.


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