Sunday Mailbag- Comic Con Commissions?

April 23rd, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: You charge only $30 for a pencil sketch caricature at your booth at comic con but they start at $150 on your website. What gives? Why can’t I email you a picture and have you do it for $30?

A: I get this one sometimes after I do a convention and people who see me there then email me and ask me to do one of the con prices commissions through the mail, which I will not do. The ones I do at comic cons are my live caricature style quick sketch caricatures like I do at theme parks. I take a little more time on them at the cons since I work from pictures as opposed to having people stand or sit, but essentially they are the same graphite and blending stomp quick draw technique. The studio pencil commissions I do with a crosshatch technique like I do my sketch o’the week with, and I spend a lot more time doing those. Thus the higher price.

The reason I only do the quick sketch ones at comic cons is because there I am set up and committed to the day drawing like that. For commissions by mail I have to put aside studio work I have going and do them. That’s a different dynamic and I won’t do that for the live drawing style or pricing. Plus, I usually turn down most commissions anyway because I have too many deadlines and work on the board.

Also, it’s kind of a unique thing to offer at a con. You can only get one of those types of drawings from me if you come and find me at one of the handful of conventions I do a year… or catch me drawing at one of my theme park operations. Then you can get one in black and white for $10 or so.

Thanks to several people for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


  1. Sean Platt says:

    Oh how many caricature artists (including myself) have to deal with this sort of thing often? Live caricature is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much faster. Totally get it, Tom.

  2. The Joy of Patron says:

    I’ll go as high as $165 for a 10-by-4-foot stained glass window rendition of me and my family. WITH crosshatching. No crosshatched glass, no deal. I’m going to need it by Thursday, but I’ll push it to Friday morning if you also have a 6-page MAD parody this week.

  3. alex in San Jose says:

    Hm! Now I’m beginning to understand (I work in electronics surplus) why a guy I knew would charge say, $20 each for some parts from his garage/barn but if we both went miles and miles away to a ham radio swapmeet, he’d only charge $15 for ’em. It was a hassle to dig the stuff out of his garage/barn, but if he’s going to a show, he digs a bunch of stuff out and he’s committed to sell it.

    Plus everyone knows, crosshatch is worth the money! I hate stumps! It goes back to when one of my sisters “improved” a drawing of mine … grrrrr.


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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