A tricky Greta Thunberg caricature

Greta Thunberg caricature sous plat

DDB Athens commissioned me to draw a Greta Thunberg caricature for their green building campaign. Ι was to draw Greta shouting. As in, with her mouth wide open. Well, that was the tricky part.

Greta, as you may have noticed in every photo or footage of her, always keeps her mouth closed. Even when she smiles. So to draw her with her mouth open, I had to deal with the features change, as her face muscles strain to create expressions.

Not having a photo of Greta with her mouth open, I had to come up with solutions as I drew. The features I relied on to built a resemblance were her eyes and her plait.

first draft of Greta Thunberg caricature
The first draft was not quite there.

I initially drew her from above (see the draft image), as with a fisheye lens that magnifies the wide-open mouth. But the combination of the camera angle and the open mouth killed any chance of resemblance. And in the art of caricature, the No 1 rule is NEVER lose resemblance.

But why didn’t my first draft look like Greta? Well, seeing her for the first time with her mouth open didn’t help. Also, we are used to seeing her from the front, not from above.

So keeping the mouth open, I decided to lower the camera angle and draw a resolute pose of Greta Thunberg. I also had the plait coming in front of her. Next, I opted for dramatic lighting; luminous from the chest up, dark from the chest down. I also put a blue and a yellow backlight to make her pop.

Greta Thunberg caricature
My final Greta caricature

Although on a tight deadline, I had to also draw 3 different backgrounds; a living room, a party and a classroom. To make it in time, I drew them as if they were out of focus: big brush, no details. I made sure to put in all 3 backgrounds light sources that matched the lighting of Greta: cold light on the left, yellow on the right.

It wasn’t easy to do, but I am really happy with how my Greta Thunberg caricature came off. Many thanks to the Creative team, Ioana Archontaki & Athina Bali. And thank you, Greta. For everything.

Greta Thunberg caricature close up
Close up