Spot on caricatures

THIS BLOG IS A PROFESSIONAL’S EYE VIEW OF THE WORLD OF CARICATURING.  IF YOU’RE SIMPLY LOOKING TO HIRE A CARICATURIST, PLEASE CLICK THE LINK ABOVE.

Robbie Savage caricature

cheap caricaturists

Other caricature resources:  https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

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I love my job; the laughter, the people, the travel, the entertaining, the artwork and wanted to share my passion with you, by relaying my experiences and opinions from a 20+ year life as an artist/entertainer.  I hope this Blog enlightens you, while displaying my Passion,  Honesty and Integrity.

I am above-all honest, some would say too honest, which can raise some eyebrows, but I stand by my honesty and am not in the habit of writing lies. Perhaps some would rather I simply did not write…

I believe in standing up for my beliefs and my passions. In the Caricature industry in particular, where (in the UK) there is no regulation, I am proud to take a stance against charlatans and monopolies who would damage my industry. I alone have stood up against the three largest online Agencies in the UK, who dominate my industry and control our prices, only I have spoken out against them. I no longer patronise them or support their undercutting businesses in any way, how many other caricaturists can say the same?

I am a perfectionist, which leads me to be a critic, which in turn makes me few friends, but I will not suffer fools gladly and certainly will not pretend to respect them just to maintain the status quo. A talentless singer gains no respect from the music/entertainment industry, so why should a talentless caricaturist be given any?

I do not tolerate racists, sexists, bigots, blaggers, back-stabbers, undercutters, amateurs or charlatans. I may not be allowed to name them, but I will not befriend or condone them. 

This is my public stance.

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sub 5 club crop

Just created a Facebook group for live caricature artists who can produce lightning drawings in five minutes or less  “Sub-5 Club”.

In the UK especially, we have an established tradition of quick draw caricaturists, trained to draw in a hurry, while standing up, at busy live events and they are truly talented eccentrics on the whole. But these social butterflies are often over shadowed by the thriving American booth (retail) caricature market, setting trends for protracted full colour artwork, a trend which is creeping over to the UK.

I am a member of and even moderate several international Facebook groups and pages, dedicated to caricatures, but most seem to concentrate on hyper realism and highly finished studio or US booth style caricatures. I found this unfair when posting spot on caricatures, drawn live in under 4 minutes, which seemed to go un-noticed, in favour of other full colour, more time consuming caricatures. There simply should be no comparison. Therefore a dedicated group seemed the obvious solution.

The group has been widely welcomed and we already have 150+ members, many of whom are posting daily photos of their fast work. That said, I have already had to deal with the odd digital artist or booth artist, bent on posting glossy full colour creations and hoping to slip under my radar! Much as I admire the full colour work, there are already dedicated group pages where these can be displayed and full colour caricatures rarely take less than five minutes!!

Please check out the group page and support it, to help keep this tradition and skill alive.

SUB-5 CLUB

Other caricature resources:  https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

A recent ISCA post by Dave Stephens:

Without likeness, there is no value in a caricature. But profit?
Yeah, you can make a profit without likeness. But do you really want to?”

A common (and valid) complaint concerning Caricatures is that some artists repeat eyes, mouths, noses and even head shapes instead of accurately capturing the unique aspects of their subject – this approach (or deficit) is called “Cookie Cutter Caricatures.”

This is my take on the reasons for the “cookie cutter” habit:
50% of cookie cutter artists have an inability to “see.”
25% of cookie cutter artists have an inability to care.
25% of cookie cutter artists fear giving offense (a bravery deficit)…

To break it down further, Tom Richmond said something like, “Anyone can be taught to draw, but nobody can be taught to SEE…” In my opinion, artists that “cookie cut” because they have difficulty ‘seeing’ and understanding the intricacies of shape, size and arrangement of the face might explain 50% of ‘cutting’ caricature artists… Just a guess.

This article refers to the common practice of duplicating facial features, without gaining a likeness and it has caused a storm within the ISCA community.

The practice is common among artists and frowned upon by both caricaturists and public alike, leading to cries of “He/she’s drawing the same nose… looks nothing like me!” often rightly so. I think Dave sums it up pretty well in his argument, the bulk of which I agree with and Tom Richmond goes further in his article here;

https://www.tomrichmond.com/2018/09/14/generic-caricature/

But who are we as professional caricaturists to judge the techniques of other artists? My answer to that is simple – if Joe Public can spot a ‘Cookie Cutter’ and judge them, why shouldn’t I? Why should I defer commenting on a poor likeness or a formulaic rendering, when the paying customer may be complaining or raising an eyebrow? True to say that many of these formulaic artists are very successful and popular among the retail end of our industry, because they cater for the lowest denomination, the least discerning of punters and hope not to be rumbled. All power to them, as there is a place in every market for mass production techniques for the mass consumer, but I personally prefer catering for the more discerning consumer, who looks for a likeness. This way I pleasantly surprise Joe Public, who constantly exclaim “Wow – that actually looks like me, spot on!”

I believe the essence of caricature is to capture a likeness of a sitter, not simply to flatter or placate, that is the job of a portrait artist. The first step towards a likeness is observation, followed by opinion – you should draw what you THINK of the sitter, not just what you see or have been programmed to draw. Drawing from memory will never be as accurate as drawing from life, so open your eyes and look, then apply to your rendering, this way you will achieve a better likeness.

I see no point in merely slagging off ‘Cookie Cutters’ as it is a relative term, which could equally apply to me in some others’ eyes. Instead I try to dispel their myth and undo the harm they have done within our industry, by proving that good caricaturists do exist and that “YES – it is supposed to look like you!”

Other caricature resources:  https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

Always amazed at the different expectations from different venues and event organisers:  I attend some of the largest UK Tattoo Cons, free of charge, but the one largest in London wants £500 for a hall space! I attend many local wedding shows free of charge, also three very large wedding exhibitions in the Midlands only one of which offers me a discount, the other two demand £175-300!! The Alternative wedding show in Birmingham won’t even put me on their list while the biggest Alternative Fetish show at Olympia have just offered me a free pitch!! I could understand if I was a trader, selling goods, its a business afterall, but I work all day at my stand, entertaining visitors, which is a service they would usually pay me highly for. I offer the same excellent service and entertainment to all, but some are determined to squeeze the last penny out of the people who make their shows a better place! Have they never even considered a contra-deal?

Other caricature resources:  https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

I was entertaining a client (with 40 guests) last night, when a young chef ask me to draw all 4 chefs and when I refused* he went to his boss (venue landlady), who then went to my client and caused an awkward scene! By insisting I draw the staff, the client was put in a position which was both unprofessional and unfair. The client politely agreed to my drawing them, even though I pointed out it was at her cost and that 4 of her guests would therefore miss out. Later that evening I approached the first chef, who disappeared and was replaced by a burlier chef (presumably more threatening) who squared up and told me to shove my drawings “I won’t waste your time, you don’t waste ours!” was his response. This created an even more awkward scene as I was clearly now the villain of the venue! I thought it wisest not to be fed, even though I was promised a meal.

So the Landlady tries to scam my client out of £50 worth of drawings and because I disagree, I am the villain here? I had to wonder if the band had been asked to stop playing and instead entertain in the kitchen, would they have been chastised and unfed or would the client have simply not allowed it? Is my artform and time worth less than theirs and therefore free to all?? Quite the contrary!!!

*Basic professional etiquette says that if you’re being paid to do a job, you do not expect freebees from other staff unless offered and you do not stop working to enjoy the perks intended for guests!

Why do people, especially staff expect me to give them free artwork, with nothing in return?!

Other caricature resources:  https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

 

For those of you still unclear as to the difference between a cartoon and a caricature, below are two clear examples. One illustrates a simple amusing gag and the other captures its subject’s soul! See if you can guess which is which?

Image result for simple gag cartoon

Image result for jan op de beeck

Cartoons are merely a vehicle to put across a message or gag, with no skill needed. Caricatures however exhibit a rare talent to capture a likeness and hopefully some personality, so the gag is in the rendering, not the punchline. Are we clear now?

 

*Credits: Mark Ewbie and Jan Op De Beeck

Visit https://www.caricatures-uk.com/ for more caricatures

Always amazed at the difference an audience can make… worked a posh wedding at an upper class venue (black tie) where the guests thrust their kids at me and demanded to know why I was avoiding the creche. Indeed at the end I was intimidated by a burly father who demanded his ‘child in tears’ was drawn before I left! With 80 grown up guests to please, I hardly had time to manage the toddlers too. People ignored me, indeed even the bride wasn’t interested, so I left the wedding, having been threatened, not having drawn the bride and groom, feeling rather abused!
Next gig was a 2 hour drive away, so I was tight for time. It was a 50th house party in a very swanky residence. The birthday lady was happy and easy going, so I ploughed into the room demanding ‘ugly volunteers!’ which worked a treat!! People were amazed at my speed (fuelled by my drive) and I had no shortage of happy volunteers, who told me I was the hi-light of the evening. My drawings reflected their happiness and I stayed an extra half hour to keep them happy.
So why did one crowd find me brilliant, while another found me an annoyance?! I can only put it down to audience expectations. The bride it seems (or her guests) expected a kids’ entertainer, while the birthday girl expected a star attraction! I can happily do one but not the other.

Other caricature resources:  https://www.caricatures-uk.com – https://www.wedding-caricatures.co.uk – http://www.caricatures.live – https://www.itoons.uk/ 

production line

Image  —  Posted: July 2, 2018 in Caricatures, caricatures at parties, caricatures-and-cartoons, Christmas Parties, Digital caricatures, entertainers, entertainment, events, self employment, street entertainers, wedding entertainment
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