Review: Tom Richmond's Caricature Workshop

A classmate's caricature of me

A classmate's caricature of me

I left my signed copy of Tom Richmond's caricature book, "The Mad Art of Caricature" in a hotel room back in October of 2017. Sadly, no one was unable to locate the book after exchanging a number of phone calls and emails with the Hilton staff. But my sneaking suspicion is the maid had a secret desire to learn caricature and kept it for herself. Fortunately, Tom was teaching a caricature workshop in nearby LA come January and he was generous enough to include a  signed copy of his book with the tuition. So I signed up and made the drive from Phoenix to attend his three-day workshop. 


I will make it known that I have little experience in caricature. This art form naturally appeals to my whimsical nature, but drawing faces has always been a struggle for me. My goal in attending this workshop was to develop a process for approaching anyone's face and being able to caricature it, which I achieved.

The workshop takes place over three days, starting Friday after lunch and ending Sunday afternoon. During that time, we did lots and lots of caricatures in 5-10 minute increments, taking references from a book of citizen photos that Tom provided or searching celebrities online. Since Tom's background is in live caricature, making confident and decisive lines on the paper is what he emphasizes. These short drills help build your decision-making skills and stop you from overworking a face.

While we worked, Tom shared stories from his days as a live caricature artist at the amusement parks and also went into depth on some of his projects for Mad magazine. It was insightful to hear about his process and the amount of time he spends on an illustration, which is far less than us mere mortal illustrators might think, especially considering the amount of details he puts in each drawing. Tom also did a live caricature demo of one of the students while the rest of us observed. 

He also walked around the room, giving individual attention to each student throughout the workshop. This gave the students a chance to have their work critiqued and ask questions. Early on, Tom had us focus on the fundamental aspect of creating a t-shape to form the eyes and nose. With enough practice, this becomes muscle memory and it really helped me create stronger roadmaps for my caricatures, helping my process immensely.. 

Some say that Tom's book on caricature is the best ever been written on the subject. I would agree and his book is a great companion to follow up with after the class. It allows you to dig into more detail from the workshop's lessons. I feel the combination of his class and his book are really all one needs to develop real caricature skills, besides plenty of practice. 


One of the first things I mentioned to my wife prior to signing up for the class was how much value I thought Tom was offering between the class, the book, signed artwork, etc, making it a no brainer to attend. But, I think all of us in the class were most blown-away by the illustration of the entire class in caricature. (See below) Tom gave each of us a signed, full-color poster which makes for an awesome keepsake. Although caricature is only something I enjoy doing for friends and family at this time, I think this class would behoove anyone pursuing caricature for financial gain. Link to his workshop schedule

In a final note, I should indicate that I also took Jason Seiler's caricature class online at prior to this workshop. I took the version where Jason gives video critiques of class assignments. That was also a great learning experience. However, I had zero caricature experience when I took that class. If I could to it over again, I would recommend Tom's class first, especially if you are new to caricature. It gives you the tools to begin developing your caricature process, something I was lacking when I took Jason's class. 

Samples are quick caricature studies from class