If you like to draw caricatures then hold your hat, because this blog will be one of the most important that you're likely to read this year...well, this week, anyway. We'll discuss a wonderful Japanese caricaturist, Tomokazu Tabata, and we'll investigate how he manages to draw drastic portraits without offending people.
My first reaction was that Asians must react negatively to caricatures that give them linear eyes. They don't think of themselves that way, and maybe they're insulted by it.
But Tomo, who's Asian himself, routinely draws linear eyes and Asian subjects love it. What gives? How come they accept it from him, and not from Aaron?
I thought about this all morning, then the answer hit me. People accept it from Tomo because his drawings are so doggone happy and cartoony. His desire is not to humiliate his subjects infront of a crowd, but to bring them into the cartoon world where everybody looks goofy. His purpose is to glorify cartooning.
Never pass up the opportunity to be drawn by a first-rate caricaturist. it's always worth the money.
A happy kid (above), with a happy portrait. I suspect that downright gloomy portraits would succeed too, provided the gloom was funny and cartoony. Portraits like that are also happy, just in a different way. It's Tomo's simplicity and directness that sells the picture.
That approach even works when you pile on a lot of detail (above). This picture was done by Sakiko Ushiodo.
I like them both for different reasons. Aaron's more grotesque than Tomo, but his best work is so outrageous that it elicits involuntary laughter, and that's the gold standard for caricature.