Doris Xu and her animated, untraditional caricature portraits pop up at this month’s State Fair

Doris Xu spends her free time nose deep in her sketchbook, doodling cartoon characters and anything else that fills her mind. She says being born in China and living in Japan as a child made her love animated art, which she now uses to bring smiles to others through her own caricatures.

Xu has spent the last seven years turning caricature art into her side hustle. She remembers taking her first cartoon drawing class during the summer when she was about 12 or 13 years old. She draws from her love for animated and realism art to make her exaggerated portraits resemble those sitting across from her at parties, corporate events or community happenings.

Catch her this month at the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair (Oct. 26-Nov. 5), where she’ll be drawing caricatures for her third year in a row.

She anticipates long lines, back and hand cramps and countless dried-up sharpies. But she says it’s all worth it when she sees the smiles, laughs and priceless expressions on her models once she reveals the paper portraits to them.

Below, Xu shares, in her own words, her caricature philosophy. Find her on Instagram at @lamunedx.

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“Caricature is like an exaggerated cartoon version of people, and I was actually very good at drawing cartoons to begin with. I like seeing people’s expressions and the differences in people. So it was definitely my thing, but I didn’t get into caricature until college. Around then, I started doing caricature gigs everywhere around town. That’s when I started to get better, practice more characters and see actual human faces (in my drawings).

The first thing I see when I start drawing caricatures is how their face is shaped. Then I go toward the eyes. Some people have lazy eyes. Some people have big beautiful eyes. I draw the eye from left to right and then the eyebrows. An eyebrow really changes a person. Eye wrinkles are actually very distinct too, and some people have dimples. Then there are big lips or small lips and big noses or small noses. I try to make it as close as possible to what I see (but) maybe a little bit bigger or more exaggerated.

It’s not traditional caricature art, where they really exaggerate people and sometimes make people very hideous. I am not at that point to be able to do that. But I want to eventually change up my faces. I do like my current work, as it’s more realistic. It’s more like a portrait than an actual caricature. But, eventually, I want to have a point where I say, ‘Do you want a funny face, or do you want a cute face?’”


Quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity. This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of 225 magazine.