Singing the Praises: The Mad Art of Caricature by Tom Richmond


Earlier this week, I received my copy of Tom Richmond’s book “The Mad Art of Caricature: A Serious Guide to Drawing Funny Faces”. Tom’s work has been seen in magazines across the country, most notably MAD Magazine. Chances are really good that you have seen his work before.

I have read a LOT of drawing / cartooning / illustration books over the years, and I must say that Tom’s book is right up there with the best of them. This book exudes quality: The front and back covers are thick and glossy while the interior paper stock is bright and makes the colors and text pop out of the page.

I’m still making my way through the whopping 170 page book (there is a LOT of great information to study and digest), but the sections I have read so far have really been impressive. Tom breaks down his techniques, shows plenty of examples, and demonstrates how observation, an understanding of form, shape and anatomy can be used to create some truly amazing likenesses. The book has an informal, relaxed tone with a little pinch of humor thrown in.

The first 5 chapters focus on drawing the head, with individual chapters devoted to techniques on drawing hair, eyes, lips, teeth, ears, noses, and mouths for both men and women. You will also learn anatomy in this book and how it can be exaggerated for effect, as every chapter includes a thorough yet easy-to-understand breakdown of the underlying skeletal and muscular structure.

Chapter 6 dives into the underlying structure of shoulders, necks, and hands. Unlike other books, Tom explains what NOT to do (i.e. common mistakes to avoid) when drawing these elements. The section on drawing hands is superb; Tom’s clear and well-thought-out approach to drawing hands is easily the best I’ve read on the subject.

Chapter 7 covers “Drawing Live Caricatures” that puts all the information from the previous chapters into practice, with guidelines and tips on what to look out for when your subject is posed in front of you.

To be fair, I haven’t read the entire book, but I do know that I’ve got more than my money’s worth out of what I’ve read so far. There is a wealth of terrific information to be had here, folks. This book is a goldmine for cartoonists and illustrators. And I’m not alone in that sentiment.

I know I’ll treasure my copy!


To sum up: If you’re serious about drawing, you need to buy a copy.


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