Funny Face #1: Bill Maher

Be it funny faces, caricaturing, or party drawing, if you want to draw money-making
likenesses it's paramount you learn to laser-in on each facial feature for tiny
distinctions. See if you can't lock on to these subtle and not so
subtle variations in comedian Bill Maher's face.

Today's funny face / caricature is of former "Politically Incorrect" talk show host and comedian Bill Maher. Has he got a caricaturable face or what? We'll get right to it and run rapidly through the different highlights: I think what's most characteristic of Mr. Maher is the nose, the mouth and the flaming red hair. In that order. (Course it's hard to tell he's got red hair in a pencil.) That's what grabbed me any way. More details....reference the realistic drawing below for these specific findings.)

OK, you asked for it, you got it -- there's 22,000 requests a month for "funny faces" out there on the Internet. Here's our contribution: Funny Face #1 Bill Maher. What follows is posted with permission by our sponsoring site


Realistic drawing of Bill Maher

The Shape of the Head:

The Head is broadest at the top and the nose is broadest at the bottom which makes
for an interesting contrast. Mr. Maher has a "light bulb" shaped head. His "foofed up"hair accentuates that look even more.

The Nose

The nose as - just mentioned - is broadest at it's base (remember the root of the nose is up there at the level of the eyes, the base down there just above the upper lip
). More than being just broad at the base, Mr. M's nose fans out like a yard rake (I don't mean that disresepctfully at all - just a visual analogy).

The Mouth 

The mouth is interesting in the way it tilts just a bit of to the side - the asymmetry
is evident when he talks too. This is a neat find in a subject: asymmetry that is.
The lower lip is full, and by adding shadows and highlights in the right spots make
it jump out. Also notice the sharp curve of the lower border of the upper lip - I
thought this little accent was a key to getting his look. It's got a sharp point right at
"Cupid's Bow" - that's the very center lobe of the lip.

The Eyes

I left the eyes farther down the list but they're mentionable in that he has very
black pupils that jump off in contrast against the light eye brows - which are
on the thin side and are light in color.

The Neck

Not a lot of detail, but be aware at how in men the Adam's apple always has
a distinct shadow shape attached to it. Also notice that giving a "pencil neck"
look accentuates the narrowing trend from wide at that top of the head to
the thinning neck. I think it starts to get pretty hilarious. (Well that's just my
opinion any way...I laughed after I drew it. :-)
More funny faces

Link for original pictures:

Don't stop here! Scroll right past this illustration for further exaggeration...

Realistic drawing and first exaggeration


Well I'm especially pleased with the final funny face / caricature of Mr. Maher. Funny
thing though, I included the original two along side the final with the attached
picture and the sizing make the first caricature (not the original), and the final
look like the same picture. The final in reality is a full 11 inches tall. The first
caricature is all but 5 inches tall and when you see them side by side the final
looks so much more exaggerated it's not funny. In this view you can't tell at all!
Interesting piece of research, eh?

In the final (all pencil by the way), I exaggerated the nose - it travels almost
cheek to cheek now - pointed the chin, widened the hair and forehead, overall
kept with the light bulb shape direction we saw in the original.

Your assignment

Go down each and every named feature in the list just below and compare each feature
by width and height, by proportion, by areas of shadow and highlight, etc. Ask for example
"how much room is left between the cheek and the side of the nose in the and final and
how does this compare to the first exaggeration?" Or "In the final how many eye widths
wide is the head across the widest part of the forehead and how does this compare to the
other exaggerations?" Then go to the next feature in the list belwo comparing and
contrasting all the different sizes and dimensions of each section.

Here's a quick list of parts, features, and subfeatures of the face
(yes it may seem like a lot but each time you zoom in on the "features
within the features"
your drawing prowress and ability to zoom in on
what makes funny faces and caricatures believable will take off):

forehead wrinkles
the bony brow
the eye brows
the "glabella" (that bony area between your
eyebrows and just above your nose)

the "infra-ocular folds" (the "bags" under the eyes)
the nasal root
the nose
the philtrum (the groove between the upper lip and the know, where your nose
runs when you get a runy nose! :-)

The upper lip
Cupid's bow
the highlight on the upper and lower lip
the upper and lower lip
the cheekbones
the ears
the dimples
the jaw bone
the chin
the neck
the Adams apple
the sternocleidomastoid muscles (the two long muscles that form a "V"
        and meet in at the little groove at the top of the sternum)
the ears...

...does that kinda get you started? OK! Jump on in. (Any of these leave you scratching your head? I hate to keep plugging this book, but you can see examples of all this anatomy and find out a whole bunch more about what makes funny faces in an instant in a search within the e-Sourcebook -- available at of course. And you could also "Google" it)


Jeff K.

Realistic drawing, first exaggeration and the big final exaggeration

Click here for more funny faces


Like these lessons?

Like these lessons so far? Here's an affordable, 1000+ page electronic book that covers all the basic's of drawing and how to draw faces and caricatures in much more depth - and with all sorts of exercises. You can find it at