I did a blog post before where I made an attempt at describing what might be the relationship between exaggeration, likeness, and distortion using math notation. It was as follows.
Distortion = Exaggeration - Likeness
either that or..
Distortion = Exaggeration ÷ Likeness
I also said that, personally, I don't see any use for the word "distortion" in a discussion about caricatures, but the equations were a way for making sense of how distortion could possibly be a meaningful term if amount of exaggeration is seen as being distinctly different from amount of likeness(which is not quite how I see it). But I hadn't thought about this:
If... amount of distortion = amount of exaggeration - amount of likeness
then... amount of likeness + amount of distortion = amount of exaggeration
and this makes it perfectly clear to me how useless that equation is. And the division one doesn't make much sense either. Soooooooo.
I was thinking about this. I do like "distortion" as a very general sort of word to talk about the kind of action that might be exaggeration or might be not, might be deliberate or might be not, might be successful or might be not. I always have to make a long convoluted sentence when I want to express this concept, and anyway, you know, so many times when the word "distortion" is used for caricatures it has the word "just" in front of it. So hear me out now. I think I got it figured out somewhat.
So all this time...exaggeration was a type of distortion all along. And when people say "just distortion" That means it's all distortion...but some distortion is a specialized kind of distortion called "exaggeration."
So looking at "amount of distortion = amount of exaggeration - amount of likeness" again, this would have distortion as a type of exaggeration, but it's the other way around is what I'm saying. So what's a good word for "any deviation from exact representation of something." I got a good word for that. How bout "distortion." But I hardly ever hear anybody use a sentence like "That's a fantastic caricature. Most of the distortions are exaggerationary." Nobody ever says that. And nore should they.