Friends (10)

Pete Wagner

Freelance Caricature Artist & Cartoonist

Location:Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Phone: 612-886-2345
2 Skills
My favorite thing is to draw caricatures live at events with black Crayola marker, fast and raw, funny and fun. For this site, most visitors are not looking for entertainers or performance artists, but if you want to look into my website for that sort of thing, please visit
Even for freelance print and wall-hanging work, I like to draw in a loose, relaxed style most of the time, without the pretention of elaborate airbrushing or excessive detail. "Less is more," said Mies van der Rohe. A cartoon, by definition, is oversimplified, symbolic, iconic--not detailed or realistic. That goes for caricature, too, which is a form of cartooning. ("A cartoon of a real person.") I generally prefer to use a line that has a human touch rather than super-slick, uptight, overly polished lines that look like they were drawn by a machine or a draftsman using T-squares and compasses.
With caricature, likeness is everything. Caricaturing is about capturing the essence, and overdone drawing and painting styles just get in the way. Many art directors look for eye candy only, and fail to realize how much more impact a true caricature has than a jazzed up, heavily shaded illustration which borrows from the art form. It is harder, not easier, to keep it simple and make it work. Just because a few of us make it LOOK easy, doesn't mean it is. If you are using a non-caricaturist (serious illustrator) to draw what they call caricatures, chances are you are missing the opportunity to really wow your readers/viewers.
Equally important to simplicity and likeness is that a true caricature should be FUNNY, not merely mildly amusing or even moderately humorous. It should get a rise out of the viewer, specifically a laugh. I was the only caricaturist in Bob Staake's caricature book whose work was described as "on the brink of hilarity."
Proof of my success at drawing effective caricatures and cartoons:
Over 35 years experience as staff editorial cartoonist for several large alternative weekly and daily newspapers, college newspapers and live television news shows. Earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Multimedia Design in 2004 at the University of Minnesota. Taught for-credit cartooning, drawing, design theory, computer graphics and other courses at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, University of Minnesota and other colleges and universities. Won numerous awards for cartooning including six consecutive Society of Professional Journalists juried out of state. (Please note: I never enter contests in which the judges might personally know the contestants. I find them to be purely political, an indicator of schmoozing ability more than artistic merit. The caricaturists society has a "Golden Nosey" award which my partner and I refer to as the "Brown Nosey" award. Every contest I have entered was judged by out-of-state juries who did not have any likelihood of knowing the contestants, and recused themselves if they happened to. To me, this is the only kind of award that matters.) Published in Time magazine, Washington Post and syndicated for 10 years to more than 300 papers. My work has been shown in galleries and museums including the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York. Was represented by Speedboat Gallery in Saint Paul, same gallery that showed Frank Gaard. Animations have been shown at major film festivals including international festivals in Europe. Websites:,,
Skills (2) Rating
Caricature Art