Posts Tagged ‘caricature artists’

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/ 

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i do this for a living

I do this for a living – so trust me, I know what I’m doing.

I do this for a living – so I will give you the best service your money can buy.

I do this for a living – so I’m guaranteed to turn up to your event, unlike other part timers.

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me for help or advice to get you started as my competition.

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me why I charge so much. Its my weekly wage!

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me to draw at your community event ‘because it will be good exposure’ without offering me a weekly wage.

I do this for a living – so please don’t email me random selfies, saying ‘I wonder what you’d do to my face?’ without paying me first.

I do this for a living – so please don’t ask me to donate a week’s wages for a charitable cause, by attending your charity event without pay.

I do this for a living – so don’t compare me to some random part time hobby artist you met in the pub, who busks for spare change or draws for pin money.

I do this for a living – so please let me go home when I’ve finished, without threatening violence because I won’t draw you for free.

I do this for a living – so have the decency to let me know if you have cancelled your booking, before I lose a week’s wages.

I do this for a living – that’s why I sit here writing these notes, to educate the public, so one day they may think twice before treating me like an amateur.

 

At the end of 2016 I decided to create a group and a website to promote full time professional caricaturists in the UK and I called the project ‘Pro-Carix’. A Facebook group was formed and later a website launched, in an effort to galvanize the most experienced artists in the UK, but it was met with mixed reactions. Basically it was hard to classify some as professionals worth membership and others as amateurs not worthy. I invited everyone I knew and let them sort themselves out. Some thought themselves ‘too good’ for the group and others proved themselves ‘not good enough’ and left. One scribbler in particular, notorious for bargain basement prices and low ethics, made a habit of letting clients down due to ‘family bereavement’, which came in to question only after he lost two fathers! I sent my condolences on FB and sure enough he left the group! Natural selection I guess. Another scribbler made a very public attack on me and told me to mind my own business how he traded. Fair point, but I will be sure to advise clients to steer clear of these charlatans.

The group is still running and we try our best to promote professional behaviour in the industry, with or without those who don’t want to play ball. Take a look at the website www.pro-carix.uk  and maybe search the FB group if you’re a pro and interested in joining and using the group resources?

Following the publication of my advice regarding underpricing and lowering the market value of Caricatures, I felt the need to point out the dangers of flooding the market with cheap artists.

New caricaturists are currently quoting clients ridiculously low fees for their services (and even charging ‘per person’), the net result of which is to lower the market value of all caricaturists in the eyes of the customer. The long-term result is far worse; Lower fees lead to more clients being able to afford to hire caricaturists, in turn the caricaturist will need to work twice as hard, just to earn a decent weekly wage. Pretty soon, every event will see cheap, crap caricaturists, scrawling their trade and becoming common-place. The end result being that no-one wants or respects caricaturists anymore, having grown tired of consistently crap, cliche’d renditions of caricatures being pedaled for pennies… Indeed hiring a caricaturist as a wedding gift will be as popular as giving a stick of seaside ROCK!! The mass influx of new artists, presumably prompted by the Recession, high unemployment and the idea of making an easy buck will magnify the above effect and possibly see the end of established artists and newbies alike

Please, please, please Newbies… SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE!!  All I have to do to compete is lower my fees and I would mop up the customer market, but we’d all lose out, so lets keep the fees at a respectable level, along with the levels of drawing and professionalism.

Update – December 2012

This year’s Christmas season is predictably bleak once again, though several dates have been flooded with enquiries and events are popping up all over. Reports are coming in of new artists at events and old agents not getting in touch. This is the effect of Flooding the Market! A recent web-crawl of Google showed several new caricaturist sites popping up and one particularly hideous Agency website listed around 50 artists, the top 20 of whom, I didn’t recognize!  Presumably this is the new influx of would-be artists, attracted by a flagging employment market and the promise of a good daily rate with a pen in hand.  The agents of course are lapping them up like sharks in a feeding frenzy! All that fresh meat, willing to work for what ever rate they’re told by the puppet-masters. Not one with a proper business plan or knowledge of their own market, many will flounder in the next year or so, but not before they’ve taken the work from established artists and re-enforced the artificially low fee scales, set by agents who (on the whole) don’t care about the survival of their artists.

I have secured 5 Xmas parties this year, compared to a previous 18, most via cherished agents, who know my worth and offer me proper rates. I thanks them, but must assume the other bookings have all been snapped up by the Supermarket sites. I can’t blame the public for wanting to cut costs, but its the Agents’ job to look after the Artists’ interests, not just grow fat off the feeding frenzy caused by inexperienced artists and budget conscious clients.

A punter remarked the other evening; “You draw for GQ and have been on TV? With talent like that you must be booked solid?!” With 22 years experience and a good reputation, I’da hoped so, but as I explained; some people aren’t shown an Artist’s pedigree, only their fee and Cheap is always Better isn’t it?….

A flooded caricaturist market does have one up-side; a recent enquirer was flabberghasted by the proliferation of websites and Agency lists. Not knowing where to begin, they simply chose the most professional looking and least confusing site and ended up booking me. Some are still prepared to be discerning… That gives me hope in the caricaturists’ version of Where’s Waldo?

Update – January 2013

Just lost one of my only bookings to a cheaper artist in Chester. Had a further two enquiries, which came to nothing, presumably for similar reasons. I cannot blame the clients for wanting to save money, though it is always a false economy, as cheaper artists have a tendency to disappoint their clients. Quite basically, the flood of new artists bumbling into my industry and charging bargain basement prices, will ruin the industry for everyone. As caricaturists become more common and less valued, we will all be forced to drop prices to match these idiots and many will be forced out of full time business. Its heart breaking to watch for an artist of 20+ years experience and reputation, who can do nothing to change the trend other than to Blog about it!

“HOW TO MAKE A LIVING….”

Just read with interest a colleague’s Blog, which gave helpful hints on how to become a professional caricaturist.  I found the read interesting and well informed, it offered good advice and followed a basic business model, which many new artists forget about. Nice to see a professional offering his advice. However I must question the logic of encouraging other caricaturists onto the market and helping them to take your work away! The basic business model given aimed at working 2 bookings per week, every week of the year (104 per anum) which is a realistic average. However, speaking as a veteran caricaturist, I have seen the market flood since I began in 1991, when there were around 30 Pro-Carix trading, at 2 bookings each week. Now there are more like 80 artists fighting for the same market, which is not growing, but shrinking! Imagine if another 10 artists are encouraged by the advice given (on the Blog in question) and they take the work from my colleague; making his business model unattainable, with just half the bookings available each year. That is sheer madness surely?! Recent full-time converts may be reveling in their new life choices and enjoying the Caricaturist community, but it is a fragile existence and should be shared with care.

In addition to this, the basic attraction of hiring a Caricaturist is in their unique skill, rare talent and novelty value. If everyone becomes a caricaturist, then everyone will own a caricature, thus no-one will want a caricature anymore. This was underlined last weekend at a wedding in Preston, where a guest remarked:

“I’m not getting a bloody caricature, had one in York and it was crap. You can’t move for bloody caricaturists up there, all over the town they are!”

Quite simply, caricaturists will soon become as commonplace as Magicians and no-one wants a Magician at their event anymore! I would seriously consider the bigger picture before I encouraged any new caricaturists onto the market!!

Update – 26 April 2013

The effects of a flooded market are starting to show. In recent chats with colleagues, most complain about how quiet the market is and how few jobs they currently have, some artists struggling to keep afloat and deeply worried.  They wonder why Agents are no longer calling and offering work and who exactly is getting all the jobs? Presumably Agents are now spoilt for choice and can ‘cherry-pick’ the cheapest artists for each job, as is their Modus Operandi, with no thought for those artists who have helped build their business.

By comparison I have had a recent flurry of work,  but none through Agents. I saw the flood coming a few years back and took precautions, by ploughing my time and efforts into promoting myself online, in order to become independent of Agents and their whims.

I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again; Agents should not have the power to control our industry, they enjoy  a one-sided relationship with their artists, where they wield the power of survival, but offer no loyalty in return. In hard times surely some signs of loyalty would help those established, yet struggling artists to survive…

Update – 18 June 2018

Currently suffering my worst year in business ever, not due to lack of interest, as I have dozens of enquiries from one agent, but they also send the same quote to all these new artists:

In order to provide a BETTER CHOICE for your event, also requested quotes from the following suppliers:
• John Valcas – Go to request
• David Hensley Caricature – Go to request 
• Drop Dead Caricatures – Go to request
• Groves Caricatures – Go to request
• MK Caricatures – Go to request
• Paul Baker – Caricatures – Go to request
• Cartoon Candy Caricatures – Go to request
• Ivo the Caricaturist – Go to request
• Silu Design Studio – Live Caricature – Go to request
• SAVAGE CARICATURES – Go to request
• Francesco Caricatures – Go to request
• Alex Caricatures – Go to request 

I have only met two of these artists and so the others are new to me. Proof that the market is already flooded, as predicted. Presumably they are all cheaper than me, as I rarely get a confirmed booking, despite my quality and reputation being immaculate.