Live Caricatures at Valleyfair 2009

July 3rd, 2009 | Posted in General

I spent a rare day yesterday drawing live caricatures at my Valleyfair concessions. Here’s some pictures of our three locations at the park and some of the live ones I did.

The "Bumper Car" booth

The "High Roller" booth

The "Wild Thing" booth












  1. Monty says:

    I wonder if anyone realized that they were being offered such a rare treat as a Richmond original. Anybody recognize you?

    • Tom says:

      No, of course not. My live work is nowhere near as good as my reputation, such as it is, would suggest. I’ve long since switched my focus to studio work. Drawing great live caricature requires an artist constantly do it and I draw live so intermittently that my live work suffers. Symmetry problems, poor construction, etc.

      • Fiona says:

        I sure can’t see anything wrong with these ! What did you use for rendering, Tom ? Pastel ? Artstix ? Airbrush ? I can’t tell from the pics….

  2. Trevour says:

    Regardless Tom, it’s still always a treat to see your live stuff! It’s still a thousand times better than anything I could render. I’m drawing all over MN this summer so your posts definitely add a bit of inspiration for me (and others I’m sure!). Thanks for sharing!

  3. That is one fancy caricature stand! I have never seen one that nice. And that’s the best live work I’ve ever seen too. They are sooo lucky!

  4. Reggie Ferguson says:

    hey Tom?? I was looking at your facial tones on the I was wondering what facial tone do you mix,and shadow tone??Also i wanted to say that your a great artist and I visit your your site daily and when im a work i draw from the samples you have. And putting up those like caricature pics really help me,because im able to draw from them then see what i did wrong on mine. One day i hope to do accomplish some of the things you have and the Fasens talk highly of you.

    • Tom says:

      I use three different colors for a typical caucasian flesh tone. I use Media Com-Art airbrush paints. The base color is called “facial tone” or “facial orange” and is a mixture of 40% opaque iron yellow, 30% opaque burnt sienna and 30% opaque toludene red with a few drops of transparent royal blue added to cool it off a bit. Then I add straight toludene red in the areas needing to be warmer and redder. Finally I add “facial shadow” which is 70% opaque burnt sienna, 20% transparent violet and 10% opaque raw umber. I will then add ultramarine blue and/or green to the beard area of a man’s face if called for, and even in some shadow areas if I think they need deepening.

  5. reggie ferguson says:

    Thanks I will try it out.

  6. reggie ferguson says:

    I. Tryed. It and it worked, so what are the colors you use for light skinned,and then darker skin tones and does you shadow tone stay the same as it was for the flesh tone

  7. Joyce says:

    Thanks for sharing this post Tom, it was really useful to see how you turn the features of these “regular people” (i.e. non-celebrities) into caricatures!
    May I know what is the size of the paper you use?
    Also, how long does it take you or your artists to do a black and white caricature of one person, and how much longer to do a colour version?
    For the poses where your subjects are smiling, do you memorise their smiles and draw them from memory, or do you purposely ask them to smile when you need to capture their features?
    Do you carry on much of a conversation with your sitters? I’m still a beginner and find it really difficult to do that without losing concentration on the sketch.
    Sorry for the load of questions and thanks!


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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