Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bill's Book Nook: The Mad Art of Caricature by Tom Richmond

If you are a wanna-be cartoonist, a fan of cartoons and caricature,  a fan of MAD Magazine, or all of the  above, you are no doubt already aware of the career and website of cartoonist and caricaturist extraordinaire Tom Richmond. Tom's blog is full of his wonderful artwork,  as well as his stories and observations on the world of freelance illustration. His drawing tutorials offer tips and pointers to both newbie cartoonists and established pros alike.

His tutorials  are so well done, many wished Tom would one day publish a "how-to" book on the "art" of caricature.

Well, that day has come at last. I just received my copy of Tom's "The Mad Art of Caricature", and believe me, it was worth the wait.

Over the course of  170 beautifully illustrated pages, Tom explains in painstaking detail the ins and outs of how to develop your skills as a caricaturist. This is not one of those simplistic, "Hey! ANYONE can draw caricatures!", books. This book is meant for serious students who really want to learn how to draw funny portraits of people.

I read the book cover-to-cover last night, but I know I will be reading it over and over again to be able to absorb all the instruction and information that this book offers. I have been doing "live" caricatures at parties and functions for the last 20 years of so, and I consider myself a pretty good  caricaturist. This book has shown me that I still have a long way to go. In just the first read,  I had many moments where  "the penny dropped", and I discovered a new way of approaching a caricature.

One of my favorite chapters, right off the bat, is the chapter on doing "live" caricatures. As I said, I've been doing this for many years, but last Summer, I was placed in the position of having to teach a bunch of greenhorns the techniques of  drawing in front of a crowd. I couldn't have been a bigger failure. If I had had Tom's book, my life would have been SO much easier. His explanation of the demands placed on the live artist and his demonstration of his approach, are spot on. When I get my time machine working, I'm grabbing a copy of this book, and traveling back to May of 2011!

In case you can't  tell, I think this book is fantastic, and you should go here and order a copy right now. For no extra charge, Tom will even add a personalized signature for you so you can brag to your pals about what close chums you and Tom Richmond are! 

BTW, while  speaking of books about caricature, there are a couple  of other good ones I should mention. Lenn Redman's "How to Draw Caricatures" was the book I used when I was starting out. It's a bit dated now, but I still use a few of the techniques Redman demonstrated in this book. In fact, Richmond himself refers to Redman in his book.

Another how-to book that I think would be helpful is Keelan Parham's "Let's  Toon Caricatures". Despite its unfortunate title, this  book has a lot of good  advice for the live caricaturist.

If you can only afford one book on caricaturing though,  get Richmond's book. He has written the definitive title on the subject.

Of  course, if you can't afford any of these books, it IS possible to teach yourself the art of caricature. It's  just really painful. My friend, the multi-talented John Forcucci taught himself. That's his  caricature of me you see here. It is the best caricature of me anyone has  ever done, and believe me, I've seen plenty!

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Blogger David said...

I concur...the book is terrific! A lot of the how-to-draw books contain lots of fluff and the "Hey look at me I'm a great artist because I say I am." spiel. Not this book, every page is filled with tons of useful information.

And that IS the best caricature of you I've ever seen too!

November 1, 2011 at 8:46 PM  

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