Today I'd like to share some of the Shakespeare caricatures created by my art students at Laurel Tree Charter School. I think they are simply delightful and I am so proud of their work! I teach mixed age group classes with students from 4th grade up through high school.
We began by discussing exactly what caricature is and how it differs from a traditional cartoon. Then we all looked at a large, black and white portrait of Shakespeare and tried to find those features that we could exaggerate and still draw a picture that was recognizable as the Bard. The kids pointed out his enormous forehead, his fancy collar, the bags under his eyes, and his funny facial hair.
Some of the students were worried about drawing faces but I assured them that caricatures are supposed to be silly. After that brief instruction I turned them loose and wow! These kids absolutely shined! I love how each child put their own spin on his or her caricature and yet each portrait evokes the recognizable essence of Shakespeare's face. Remember there was no technical instruction on drawing faces. I gave them a picture to look at for reference and asked them to jump right in! Sometimes it is best to just encourage a leap of faith...
These portraits will eventually be attached to the cover of the students' Shakespeare journals. One group is studying A Midsummer Night's Dream and the other group is immersed in Macbeth. My job in the next couple of months is to lead these kids through art activities that complement and supplement their study of these plays. I think we're off to a stellar start!