Creating Caricatures in Wood


Creating Caricatures in Wood

Doug Wallace creates amusing intarsia caricatures.

Doug Wallace creates amusing intarsia caricatures.

Artist designs humorous portraits of famous faces

Doug Wallace of Fort Worth, Texas, began transforming images of celebrities into 3-D intarsia portraits in 2004. His work is on display in the James Stewart Museum and the Comedy Shrine, as well as the homes of various celebrities he immortalized in wood.

After retiring early, Doug found intarsia an inexpensive and challenging hobby. He quickly grew bored with traditional wildlife intarsia patterns and decided to create his own designs.

“I found that I could take a coloring book image, such as a Toy Story character, and replicate it in intarsia,” Doug said. “I usually gave them to one of my grandchildren to hang in their rooms.”

Doug, an avid fan of old-time radio, classic movies, music, and sports, turned to these sources for inspiration for his intarsia.

Initially, his patterns required only a few cuts and a few different types of wood. Doug quickly progressed to more detailed caricatures. He uses several photographs of the subject as reference material to create patterns with more detail.

“I was unable to find some of my favorite characters in caricature or to capture a favorite pose or representation of someone,” Doug said, “so I learned how to design an intarsia pattern from photographs.

“Two-dimensional photographs do not always depict the details necessary to properly represent a pose,” Doug added. “So, I re-enact the pose in front of a mirror to determine facial expressions and body parts, such as the shape and position of Humphrey Bogart’s hand when holding a cigarette. These details are drawn into the pattern.”

After he creates a draft pattern by hand, Doug scans the design into his computer for further refinement. The digital pattern can be reproduced easily.

After filling his walls with his caricature portraits, Doug started selling his work on eBay. He quickly realized there is a market for his work and started attending art and craft shows and musical festivals. His pieces sold, and he started receiving requests from customers for their favorite celebrity or custom orders to depict their loved ones based on a photograph.

“I found that naturally colored wood was limited or unavailable,” Doug explained. “So I evoked artist privileges and added colors to the wood, but I use naturally colored wood as much as possible.”

Doug researches which musicians will be performing at upcoming festivals and creates a custom intarsia portrait to present to the musician at the event.

“The response is worth the effort,” Doug said. “I bring along a photo of the portrait for them to sign. Not only does this help me avoid copyright infringement issues, but I usually make a friend as well.”

Doug has created caricature portraits for more than 500 people, and he adds more every year. For more of his work, visit his Website at

Intarsia Woodworking for Beginners | Intarsia Woodworing Projects | Intarsia – Artistry in Wood