Live Caricature Gig

November 8th, 2012 | Posted in General

I’ve been working a convention live caricature gig here in Minneapolis the past few days… wrapping that up today. I very rarely do this anymore, but this one was in my backyard and paid a good rate so I took it on (I am able to charge a bit more by billing myself as a MAD Magazine artist, that adds a bit of notoriety to the equation). The company I am doing it for are very nice and fun people, and I’m bringing in crowds for them which is the whole idea. Here are some pics they took of me.

That said, I am not sure I really enjoy doing this kind of thing anymore. On one hand it’s nice to be doing the spontaneous drawing thing, with no deadlines involved. I show up. I draw. I go home when my scheduled time is up. On the other hand, when I do the inevitable clunker of a drawing I cringe a bit more than I used to. That might be a function of my just not doing live work much anymore, as good live work is something you need to keep doing regularly to stay sharp at. I think it’s more that my eye has been accustomed to seeing results I spent more time working on from reference that isn’t talking on their cell phone, eating a corndog or in general not looking at me for even a split second.

Then again, I do have some fun once I get there and get into the drawing.

However, I think two live gigs in the last 2 plus months is enough for a wile. A long while.


  1. Tom Siler says:

    It’s a completely different animal, really! I just saw Bob Dylan play live and I thought about how often he must cringe if he listens to playbacks of his live concerts. I think it’s important to keep doing both. . .stay true to your roots!

  2. Tom Faraci says:

    Still, good to hear even the best have to deal with the inevitable clunkers. All part of the fun of drawing live.

  3. The thing I find attractive about ‘live’ caricaturing is the ‘easy money’. Not all the drawings are ‘keepers’ and many times (based on the subject….i’e. woman where you better NOT exaggerate) I know when they sit down it will be a safe one. There have even been times when I see someone walking around the area not in line for a caricature but an inspiring subject with a ton of activity (usually piercings and whacky hair/facial hair, etc.) and I tell the people in line I need a ‘fix’ and I’ll run over and personally ask that individual if I can draw them and do it NOW. I’ll explain my ‘inspiration’ and let them cut the line and draw them and then be okay for an hour or so, (I always bring along my digital camera). But the key is the money. I may have a commissioned project where the pay equals the overall pay for the ‘live’ gig and inevitably the ‘no brainer’ of the ‘live’ gig coupled with no pressure and reworking is easier money then the commissioned project. It’s all about the CASH!

  4. Lee Fortuna says:

    Tom do you find a lot of people wanting you to sign copy’s of Mad mag’s while doing these live events? Or your time is limited and it’s an in & out type of thing?

  5. Dan says:

    Sorry Tom. I don’t believe you did a clunker. I was drawing caricatures at Red Robin for their open house and the first lady up was a little on the heavy side and had no defining bone structure so I ended up with a potato in a wig. She said, “Where are my eye lashes?!” I added them but it didn’t help. Now THAT was a clunker!

  6. micheal garisek says:

    Animal caging, interesting assignment, love your presentation


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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