You are wondering how I do templates for parties!
I will show you. I begin with a blank sheet of paper 11 inches by 8 1/2 inches 67 lbs card stock paper. It is durable and won't
rip easily.

And you never thought you could learn caricatures online, just follow along.

Please remember templates are made for me to speed my time doing a caricature "at the party." Most people won't mind waiting a few minutes but 5 minutes or more per caricature, I think they'll pass it up for a lusciously tasty ice cream and cake than to wait in a long line, at a party nonetheless.

Where was I my apologies for going on a tangent, oh yes, first thing I think about is making sure I make ample space where I can draw someone's face. After all templates are made for those who want to be Aquaman, right!? This particular template will take me about 1.25 minutes or fewer to do a party guest. Why? Because, the hair portion is already rendered in.

Go look above I'll wait. OK, done? Did you see it?

I use a #2 pencil or lighter. It is just so that I can get an idea how it's going to turn out. This is just the layout phase to make sure the right body parts will fit in the given format (space) with the visual message that this is. "Aquaman," the picture you see above. I will put in his Triton he carries in his right hand. Cross my fingers here we go.



I first keep a keen eye on the area where I draw the individual person when this becomes a completed template.  Then I place the shoulders and hair above and below that space.
See the hair in Aquaman’s photo I lightly render it where “I think” his hair should be. I try to give the hair some “body” and flair. .

I lightly render in where I feel the body should be, all the time
I visualize how the placement of the chest and shoulders will look. Changes of Aquaman’s pose will certainly come during this stage for I’m feeling it out where everything will be place, making it interesting to look at.

Like a gardener deciding how and where certain plants will be placed to make the garden as a whole look pleasing to the eye. I do the same in this stage as I visualize without any certainty
how this template will turn out.

the planning stage

Now, I am starting to get a feel of how I like it to look, notice how I moved the biceps more to your right and changed his hands from open to fist.

I am constantly changing direction depending on how I feel. Like I said this is not science folks, it's all "feely-touch." Now you know why
people like me seems weird, It is really my imagination going wild. Hee hee hee.

Notice his chest is out in the previous drawing, I changed it so I can make him holding his Triton. So I erased his chest and lowered it a bit and realigned his abs accordingly. See it is not like speech writing and you read what is said. You are in the forefront with your mind's eye paving the way to make a visual statement.

I now "got it" Aquaman is coming to life. This template is now a living and breathing body with a sense of direction.

now that the design of aquaman is set, we now render- This is where it takes hours to do.

I begin to render it in with my darker drawing pencil. I will give you the things you need but for now just follow along.

See how I start to give depth and definition to the body by shading in light and dark values in the body with my pencil.

Aquaman seems to have a textured clothing note the shoulders and arms, needs work.

From here on out it’s pretty much the rendering of the body that will take time. This drawing will take me about 2 hours to complete.

Next the finer details.

We now have a new template- Aquaman

Aquaman is turning out to be somebody to be reckon with.  By the way, do you see his left side and with his hand in a fist?

Well I needed a fist I can draw. I asked my friend to make a fist so I can photo shoot it on my iPhone. Just in case you didn’t know that’s how I got that fist.  Some things you can’t make up.  You need reference material such as my friends fist.

That rat wanted royalties I said I’ll buy him a Big Mac! He took it! I make friends who are lousy negotiators. Please don’t tell anybody I said that, thank you!

OK, Aquaman is getting somewhere. He’s looking really alive! 

A new template fresh off the
drawing table with my version of Aquaman! Yaay!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. This is an amazing example of how people with some drawing skill should start a portrait out. While I have always wondered how to acquire these skills, these seem like more advanced skills.

    How does one legitimately acquire the skills to progress to making portraits of this quality? Please assume I am an absolute beginner.

    1. Hi Ernest that is a great question and I will try to convince you that it is possible. I assume you have never tried it out, correct!? I mean drawing anything. There is that old saying, “Hey Frank you have talent but me, I can’t draw a straight line!”  How many times I heard that before. Most people you and I call a beginner have no idea what they’re up against. They are up against themselves. Yep, that is correct. They believe that they can’t do it.

      Brainwash is a powerful thing. Nobody needs to do it to them but they have the awesome ability to convince themselves it is true.  If you read through my “About Frank” I thought because I have talent ( or so I thought I believed in my head) I am above anybody.  Doing caricatures over the years convinced me I have to acquire the skills.  Do you know what “acquire” means to me?  Ernest it means drop everything I thought I knew, y’know like erase and start from scratch and to really observe what the person looks like.  Ok if that doesn’t sound right to you lets look at a drawing with a magnifying glass, howsdat. Take that thing and look at any drawing I did. Tell me what you see, I can make a guess, it will look ‘scribble-scrabble” nothing to admire over.

      You can do it too!  Does not take a talented person to do that. I bet you can do it too!  Try it just take a pencil and just scratch over a blank paper any which way. Does that take talent? Nope but you do need something so very important.

      I will give you the biggest secret that a person so portrayed as an artist have and won’t admit it that it is the truth and not talent.

      Are you ready Ernest?

      They have eyes. Yup, simple ain’t it. They have eyes. I think you have it too! Go check! If you can see yourself in the mirror you got what it takes. I don’t mean to sound sarcastic but it’s true. People on the outside don’t look. Once, I believe, they can actually “SEE” a whole new world will exist. This revelation for them can move mountains. Yep, God given eyes!  I say use it and you will be amazed what you can do.

      I better stop Ernest, if still not convinced I’m sorry as they say, “You can lead a horse to water but if he sees mud, it ain’t gonna drink.”  Sorry I have a problem with sayings.  But anyways I’m saying this is acquired skill and others say talent. I am proof it is acquired. But that’s my opinion and I will leave it at that.

      Thanks Ernest, never had anybody ask such a deep question. I thank you for that! You made my day my dear friend!   Have an awesome weekend!


  2. I’ve been a huge fan of this type of artwork for as long as I can remember.

    I took a free cartoonist class when I was 8 or 9 and loved learning how to illustrate different styles.

    This step by step makes it look easy but I know how hard it really is to perfect the craft. (Not to mention the time it takes to really get the steps down until it becomes second nature.)

    I’ll bookmark this page and come back to it later when I get the itch to try my hand at some sketching!

    Thanks for a great post, your drawings are super cool!

    1. Thank you Dom, I appreciate your comments. Yes, it is true practice is needed. I cannot say enough about it, the mention are posted everywhere on my website. I do know you have that desire. That’s the flame Dom that I had with me from the first time I saw an man draw a tourist here in Hawaii. 

      The easy appearance of his craft made me want to try it.  After near 40 years I have to say I’m still learning this skill. I do believe if given the know-how from me I with certainty can get you on the right direction.

      Thank you again my friend and thanks for the compliment.

      Frank Uratani

  3. Wow! You seemed to be really talented! I would really like to begin diving into the world of design and art. I have casually began drawing on my free time but really struggle to get a good result. Do you think this is a talent issue or does it just take practice. Do you have any resources that you recommend for someone trying to become an artist?

    1. JD, thank you for the compliment. I’m here to argue that talent has nothing to do with it. After 30 years in this profession I do believe it’s a skill. The only thing I can say that helped me to be skilled to the point people pay me to perform is this one important point. 

      I believed I was talented. This belief help me to continue this journey.

      But the reality for me was not talent like most people think. I had to learn how to draw various types of people and gender. Women (most) don’t look like men and they don’t look like children and of course they don’t look like babies.  All this requires a set of skills needed and to acquire any skill is to “practice.”

      There is no mystery to it and so where was I ohh yes JD you can do it. 

      You just need to believe in yourself and don’t listen to people who will tell you you’re not artistic enough.

      And of course you have me. Trust me when I say this, I will be in your ear. You will hear me say it’s a myth.

      And after ohh a hundred practices you will certainly fool yourself with the results if you follow my instructions.

      Thank you JD, great questions.


  4. Great article. A few years back i also had the desire to learn how to draw. I used to buy a few books that would get me started but in the end i gave up because i felt that i didn’t had what it takes. Maybe i gave up too early, who knows. But when i see the process and how you create your drawings it really amazes even when i know the general process more or less. Keep up the good work!!

    1. Stratos, I’ll give you another secret my friend that I did not mention before and that I developed this idea one party I had a long line of people say about 20 or more and the “pivot dot” concept just came to me.  Guess I noticed my fingers began to place the pencil lead above the eye and for some reason I knew TADAAAHHHH I could actually see the face on the paper.  I knew just how far up,down, left or right I had to go to make a almost identical drawing of what I saw.  

      Stratos I knew at that moment I had something at technique to speed up the process of my drawing skills. You could call it an “AAHHH HAAA” moment.

      Thanks for triggering me to share this with you pal!

  5. Hi Frank. I am loving your drawings. You make the process clear and doable.

    1. Thank you Tom, I am honored and humbled you like it. If you think you wanna try it do it on your own time.
      You don’t need to be a member, just get yourself a pencil and paper and practice the eyes and brows. After a while
      I promise you will get good at this. At first, maybe it’ll be awkward, that comes with the territory. Not to worry
      but do this. Later work on the other areas. But please focus your attention to the eyes and brows for now.

      Do only that for a month! I’m not kidding Tom. After a while you will almost see the person you’re drawing on paper.
      Sort of scary, because you have gotten the true likeness. Yep Tom it’s all in the eyes my friend!

      Goodluck my brother!


  6. Hi Frank

    I have two words for you. Totally Awesome. Thanks so much for your superhero gift. I have reserved a place for it on my living room wall. Remain blessed

    1. Thank you Anthony, you made my day pal.


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