How To Create Caricatures with GIMP

How To Create Caricatures with GIMP 1024 602 Nick Saporito

In today’s tutorial I’ll be demonstrating how to create simple caricatures, with an oil painting sort of appeal, using GIMP. In order to follow along with this tutorial you’ll need to download and install a plugin called G’MIC, which can be downloaded here: G’MIC.

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The following is a brief overview of the steps taken to achieve this effect. For complete step-by-step instructions with voice narration, please watch the video tutorial at the top of the page.

Creating Caricatures with GIMP

Before we get started, we’ll need a photo to apply this effect to. If you’d like to follow along with what I’m doing, you can download the example photo by clicking the link below, otherwise you can use any other photo you’d like.

Original photo

Click the image to be taken to the download page

The first thing we’re going to do is separate the subject from the background using the Paths tool (or any other cropping method you’d like.) We’re going to do so in such a way that the head and body are both on separate layers.

Step 1

Next, we’re going to scale down the size of the body so that it appears as if the caricature has an unusually large head.

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Step 2

Then we’re going to use the Warp tool to help accentuate some of the subject’s contrasting features. For example, on this photo I focused on enlarging the lips, chin and sunglasses, and shrinking the forehead, neck and shoulders. This will require some fine tweaking and some manual intuitiveness.

Step 3

Finally, we’re going to apply a series filters — noise reduction, unsharp mask, and the Smooth filter in G’MIC — in order to achieve the final painting-like effect. You may have to apply these filters more than once depending on your photo. For this example, applying them twice seemed to do the trick.

Step 4

And with that our caricature is complete!

Finished caricature effect

If you have any questions just leave a comment below. As always, thanks for watching!


Get Started with GIMP!

Want to learn more about how GIMP works? Check out The GIMP Series – a comprehensive collection of over 60 videos where I go over all of the major tools, features and function in GIMP and explain what they do, how they work, and why they’re useful.


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Nick Saporito

Designer, content creator, and the founder of — an educational media platform for learning about graphic design.

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