NCN Convention Video Preview

November 9th, 2007 | Posted in General

I’ve mentioned the National Caricaturist Network‘s annual convention here a few times… it really is a one of a kind event. In 2006 a documentary crew did some filming at the con in Orlando and is in the process of putting together a video program of it. Here is the “trailer” for the film:

Sketch Monkeys Trailer

I have a few problems with the direction of the documentary, not the least of which is the title. “Sketch Monkeys??”. ..sounds like we are a circus act.

They also seem to be focusing a bit much on the negative side of things… and the crude and tasteless kinds of drawings that a small percentage of NCN artists seem to enjoy doing… that is typical of TV but is not typical of what you see at these conventions. Yes, the artists go crazy and do what they can’t get away with when drawing the general public, but most don’t need to resort to blue material to get attention. The art really is the focus at this yearly gathering.

I hope the final result paints the convention is the light in which it deserves, that being a gathering of very talented people to celebrate a unique art form.


  1. SteveH says:

    I agree Tom, it seems to pick up on the tacky side of caricature and while that is a part of the whole element to caricature there are many very talented artists who produce wonderful art. Caricature also makes people very happy and produces a lot of very positive emotions and thats the reason why I am in the business, to make them smile and leave them wanting more!

  2. tooned says:

    Orlando was my first Con.Had a great time.Met Tom just briefly which was a high lite.I like this film,but would have loved to have seen some of the International members interviewed.The NCN is now a growing International organization.It needs to be marketed as such.As for the last comment on the trailer.Probably not needed.

  3. eric says:

    Thanks for posting this. Hey, about 3/4 of the way through a sculpture flashes on the screen – looks like you as Batman?

  4. Matt. says:

    Roughly how many people go to this each year?

  5. Tom says:

    Roughly how many people go to this each year?

    That varies. In 2006 they had over 200 competing artists, last year there were less.

    Hey, about 3/4 of the way through a sculpture flashes on the screen – looks like you as Batman?

    Yes, that was done by Minneosta artist Heather Bren, a gift for my 40th birthday. She entered it in the studio competition. It’s a bobblehead! You can see pics of it in my “Me Gallery”.

    I agree that the NCN should promote it’s international ties as much as possible, the international artists are great supporters of the NCN, and incur a lot of expense to attend the convention and yet are a big presence there and growing.

  6. Joe Bluhm says:

    I too hope that the director paints a fair picture of the gathering and artists present. I think that for the sake of entertainment she is using the controversial element of caricaturists and their perception, as well as “war stories” to connect with the public through their own idea of what a “live caricature” is, and I feel she is doing it well in a few ways, but the title and some comments used are definitely not representative of the group.

    My biggest hope for this is that she shows how intensely focuses most of the members are, in their craft and in their discipline. There are so many great artists practicing one of the most challenging art forms, and that is quite important to this group. Once again, this documentary may not be FOR the artists in the group, so an outside perspective could also be a great tool for “critique” and improvement, through the current leaders of the NCN.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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