Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kevin Rudd - Digital Caricature

And now for something completely different.

I used to do a little bit of caricature during my time as a commercial illustrator but nothing too fancy. I haven't done any for a very long time, until this week.

Last night I tried doing a self-portrait caricature, with mixed results (according to my family). So tonight I had a go at our Prime Minister (update: ex-Prime Minister), Kevin Rudd.

politics kevin rudd caricature
(Kevin Rudd caricature - digital. 800x1000px. © 2010, Andy Dolphin)

This was done entirely in Photoshop. It's an interesting way to work and I might do a few more of these for fun. Maybe I'll work my way through parliament.


I couldn't go to bed without doing a caricature of Rudd's parliamentary opponent so here's one of the Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.

politics tony abbott caricature
(Tony Abbott caricature - digital. 800x1000px. © 2010, Andy Dolphin)


  1. Howdy. I really enjoy your caricatures. I am a collector of Trading cards and often thought about producing my own set of cards. Most photos are subject to copyright so there is some difficulty getting to use these. I thought that I could commission an artist to draw some caricatures for me. Is this the sort of thing that you might be interested in? If someone commissions you to draw some caricatures for them, then ownership and copyright would belong to the person commissioning the work wouldn't it?
    Justin McCullough

  2. Thanks for your comments Justin.

    Caricature is something I just decided to have a crack at this year, for a bit of fun.

    The legalities of copyright are complex. As I understand it (and it's been a while since I've needed to worry about it) you would need to have a clear agreement with the artist as to what rights you are buying. The artist may agree to give you full reproduction rights or may agree to a lesser fee for limited rights.

    With a limited rights agreement (for making trading cards, for example) you would not then be free to produce a book or website from the same images - but you could renegotiate such usage later. How you do it is ultimately between you and the artist.

    A new or less-notable artist is more likely to sell you full rights in return for the exposure they'll potentially gain. A better-known artist could make your final product more valuable.

    There is another issue you need to consider though - an individual's right to publicity. In short this means that a celebrity (or anyone perhaps) has the sole right to earn income off their image. Selling caricatures is effectively redirecting some of that income to someone else. I don't know if this applies to public figures like politicians.

    You can read more about that issue at Tom Richmond's blog.

  3. Hi Andy,
    Peter McAllister is my name; I'm a journalism lecturer on the Gold Coast. I'd like to use two of your fantastic caricatures as an illustration on a slide to present to my students in a lecture. My understanding is that this fits within the fair use definition, but I thought I'd do you the courtesy of asking and if you have any objections I won't use them. Could you please let me know by return comment?

  4. Hi Peter. You're right, to my knowledge, about fair use ("fair dealing"? in Oz) but thanks for asking.

    I'm happy for you to use the images and just ask that you leave the signature on them.

  5. Hi Andy, Similar to Peter, I'd love to use 2 of your great caricatures as illustrations on an invite I am sending out to my contacts in the outplacement industry. I of course would leave the signature on them. If you have any objections, I of course will not use them. I would be grateful if you could let me know by return comment. Thanks!!

  6. HI Anonymous,

    Sorry for the delay, I've been away and only just caught up with blog comments.

    If your use is commercial, I'd need to know more before deciding on permission. You can email me at to discuss it privately.

    Thanks for asking. Rest assured, I'm pretty easy going with stuff on the blog but it's not always 100% free.