Rare Live Caricatures

August 16th, 2012 | Posted in General

I don’t do this too often anymore, but last week I dusted off the lead-holder and airbrush and worked a shift at my live caricature operation at Valleyfair! theme park here in Minnesota. In fact, I think this was only the second time all summer I did live caricatures, the last time being a day I worked at my Six Flags New England park for a day way back in April… and a handful I did in black and white at the San Diego Comic-Con. I always have a pile of work needing to be done in the studio, so working these shifts never comes at a convenient time. However, once I get out there and shake the rust off, I always have a good time drawing live. Here are a couple of pictures I took of some of my drawings that day:

Live caricature is partly a thing of technical skill that does get rusty without constant practice. Your lines don’t snap and come together the way you want them to, nor the paint lay down with the same panache and sparkle without your “touch” being shiny and well-polished. So, it’s a bit frustrating when your end result is not what you know you are capable of when you are in practice. Still, it’s a fun challenge to get back on that horse every once and a while.


  1. Hannah Voss says:

    Dang! I had 48 people at the park on the 8th but you weren’t there so I drew their pictures instead. I think they were worth the money I got paid for them!

  2. Tell me about it. At one time, I was pulling 10-15 festivals a year until my third full time job got me.
    I keep 1-2 a year in my pocket to keep the ol hand working but it’s embarrassing when you realize how much rust accumulates and how fast.

  3. Mike says:

    Tom, when you do a charicature of two or more people, like the 4 in 1 you showed, whose house does it go to? You don’t make copies, do you? I know that’s not your problem…I was just wondering if you knew how they work it out.

    • Tom says:

      No idea. I know we will write a release to make personal copies on the back if we hear they intend to make copies. Copy centers are protective of artist copyright and most won’t allow that without a release. I usually ask them if they intend to make a copy, and then explain that and write the release.

      • Tom Siler says:

        I’m thinking about making a self-inking stamp regarding copy permission. Does anyone have any idea what the shortest possible legal sentence would be to grant permission to photocopy?
        e.g. “Anyone can copy this anyway, anyhow, anywhere”?

  4. suresh seenu says:

    fabulous.. Excellent resemblance and character …kudos!


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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