Sunday, December 30, 2007

70th Surprise Birthday Party - Seekonk, MA

Today I drew at Frank's 70th birthday bash at
the Johnson & Wales Inn. I drew close to 50 people,
as did my caricaturist friend, J4, who I contracted
to work along with me. We were caricaturing machines!

It was a huge hit. We drew non-stop for 3 hours.
Everyone loved it. Lots of laughter...people showing
off their drawings to each other...

It was a big Italian family event. I drew teeny babies
and a set of 90 year old sisters with big white bouffant
hairdo's! (Neither of them had ever been drawn before!)

I was in the zone the whole time. That's a
good thing - it means I'm focused and having fun
capturing good likenesses.

The majority of the crowd was over age 55,
so every face had character (okay, wrinkles) which
always makes caricaturing a pleasure! We received
lots of compliments for our work and lots of people
took my card and kept saying, "This is a great idea!"

Special thanks to Maria for inviting us to draw
at her dad's party! We had fun!

70th Surprise Birthday Party - Seekonk, MA

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stella's Restaurant, Boston - Valet Parking Company, Holiday Event

This couple laughed pretty hard when I revealed
their caricature, but make no mistake - they take their
sexiness seriously! She was Spanish - didn't
speak any English...and he was 'Mr. Cool' the whole
time. These are the things that make them unique
as a couple, so that's what I try to capture on paper.

I'm always amazed at the variety of companies I get
to draw for. This event was for a successful Valet
Parking company. As I wrapped for the night,
a bunch of official looking guys in Red Sox jackets carted
in the 2 World Series trophies from 2004 and
2007! I guess the Red Sox let people rent the trophies
for photo opportunities!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hilton Woburn, MA - Staff Holiday Event

I like drawing group shots. It makes caricaturing
easier. How, you ask?


An apple looks red until you hold it up
next to a stop sign. Then it looks purple.
It's the same with faces.

When you compare one face to another,
it's like a helpful guide - a tool you can use - that
helps you to see how to draw each individual face.

When I start drawing a group, my thoughts sound like this:

"Oh, the guy on the left has eyes that are kind of spread
apart, compared to the guy in the middle whose eyes
look like dots..."


I've drawn at the Hilton's staff holiday event for over 12 years!
Great bunch of folks.

NEW: I have enabled comments, so I'd love to hear
your thoughts...Thanks!

Hilton Woburn, MA - Employee Holiday Event

This little girl just kind of stared at me
like that the whole time I drew her.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Company Event - Chelmsford, MA

She was lovely and very easy to draw.
My eyes easily latched onto the
way her head breaks down into simple
shapes. Her bangs are one piece of the
puzzle. Her ear is a hoop, her earing a loop,
her pony-tail /bun is round...Her eyes look
black against her blonde hair and skin...
I used a fine point pen to draw the thin,
wispy angel-hairs (click to enlarge).
Those are the little touches that make the
drawing 'feel' like the person.

Company Event - Chelmsford, MA

It's hard to tell from the way this man's
head is angled in the photo, but his hair
really is styled like this. I drew his body
flying sideways as if his hair were dragging
him. I added a cape and clouds just because.

Company Event - Chelmsford, MA

This guy had that "Tom Selleck" good looking
man thing going for him, so I tried to accentuate it
by drawing his strong jawline.

Get Ready...The Party Is About To Begin!

I try to arrive early at my gigs whenever
possible. Usually between a half hour
and fifteen minutes before I'm supposed
to start drawing. It wasn't always so.

There's nothing worse than getting caught
in traffic jam on your way to an event. Rushing
into the function room with a minute to spare
is stressful, and obviously, makes the client
wonder where the heck their entertainment is.

So I always leave extra early for the job.
And I have rituals too, similar to those of a baseball
player stepping up to the plate. He usually fidgets with his batting
gloves, spits in the dirt, and taps home plate twice with his bat.
I don't spit, but I do have to mentally and physically prepare
so I can perform well.

Here's my ritual before I start drawing at parties:

My table and chairs must be ready.
I ask the client to pre-arrange my seating in advance. I need
1 table and 3 chairs, set up next to an outlet, far from DJ speakers.
Sometimes when I arrive there are only 2 chairs. Sometimes they
seat me next to a loud generator or amplifier. These things
make me go "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr."
As long as there's time to resolve the issue, I'm okay again.

I need to have a full stomach.
If I'm hungry I can't concentrate. That's why I always eat before a gig.
After I eat I must have a piece of chocolate.
This is critical for drawing excellence.

I need to have a beverage at my table.
Drawing makes me thirsty. I usually sit for at least
1.5 hours before I take a break. So I must have liquid -
water or soda. Coffee is a nice pick-me-up in the home-stretch.

Altoids are the secret power-pellets that give me
enduring caricaturing power.

Yup, if I'm drawing for 3 hours or more, I take an
Advil before I start. This keeps my arm from
getting sore.

I meditate for a minute
I really do - it helps melt away the racing thoughts
of my own life and gets me on purpose, which is to serve
the client and make great drawings for everyone.

My tools must be sharp.
I must have fresh pens, plenty of paper, bags,
and a lamp that works. If any of these supplies are low
I feel a little uneasy.

But if everything is in place, which it usually is, I feel great
and can really give 100% for the party people.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Company Holiday Event

3 things jumped out at me about this
gentleman's face:

1. His squinty-eyed smile
2. Extreme Dimples
3. His nose is shaped like an arrow pointing

I should add, I saw lots of 'space' in his face.
You have to 'draw' that too.

Sure, he's wearing a Santa hat, but his
Christmas spirit radiates through his eyes.
You have to be brave and draw two little black
streaks for eyes in order to capture his smiley,
Santa-hat wearin' personality on paper.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Private Holiday Party

I drew this in about 5 minutes tonight at a
house party. The woman on the left, Stephanie,
definitely had 'sass' and it was important that
I drew her hair covering her eye like it does in reality.
The logical side of my brain said, "No, you should
draw her with two eyes because even though you
can't see both, you know she has two." But
you can't listen to that voice; you have to draw
what you see.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Westin Waterfront, Boston- Arrowstreet Holiday Party

This family was so much fun to draw. I drew
the kids first, and once they were done they
swung around to watch me draw mom and dad.
They were laughing the whole time.
This is the 7th or 8th year in a row that I've
drawn at Arrowstreet's holiday party, courtesy
of my agent, Diane Barry. Arrowstreet is an
architecture firm. They designed the new
Westin in Boston's seaport district. It's got
vast, wide open spaces. Really awesome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hyatt, Boston - Emerson College Holiday Party

This is the 4th year in a row that I've drawn at
Emerson's faculty holiday event. People have me
draw their kids every year. They tell me they
have all my pictures framed in their homes.
Year after year, they add another caricature to
the collection. It's really touching!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ritz, Boston - Holiday party for St. Francis House

I try to capture someone's personality and essence,
not just their physical likeness.

The moment someone sits, I sense their personality
style and try to draw that too. That's what makes
the caricature 'feel' like the person.
But, you might ask, isn't essence invisible? How can
you draw it?

It comes through in the eyes. The mouth.
The general expression. These are physical things
I can see in the form of lines, shapes, spaces...
But also...

Does the person start talking to me excitedly?
Are they laughing or giggling? Smirking?
If so, I draw them that way.

Or do they just sit quietly, poker-faced?
I try not to force a non-smiler to smile because
it's not in their nature. My goal is to capture
their nature, so I draw them straight-faced.

Endy is the woman in the picture above. She
had a quiet, graceful presence. An easy smile.
You can imagine my surprise when she said,
"I like to shoot pool."

What happens to the eyes when someone smiles?
Do they morph into little black rainbows?
Or, like Endy's, do they stay wide open and
alert? (hence, draw little round circles.)

All it takes is one eyebrow drawn at
the wrong angle, and you've botched the essence.
It took me years to learn how to draw
without thinking.

Ritz, Boston - Holiday Party for St. Francis House

"Can you draw my chain?"

I get requests like this a lot. People
want me to add those little things
they feel proud of. Jeremy has a great
face - lots of freckles. I had to strike
a balance between drawing just
enough freckles and not one more,
because I sensed that he might be
sensitive about them. I did draw
his necklace on his teeny cartoon
body. He smiled when I gave him the

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Cambridge police holiday party

This little guy sat down and said,
"Draw me fixing cars!"

Cambridge police holiday party

I was nearly blinded by the cuteness.

Cambridge police holiday party

Today I drew 40 kids in 3 hours.

You really have to become Zen Buddhist Caricaturist
at a gig like this. Balloons are popping, babies are
squirming, Christmas carols are blaring, and the
line is long. So what's the secret? How do I do it?
Three things:

1. I make one drawing at a time, the best I can.
(The best I can in 4 minutes anyway.)
Everybody deserves a good one.

2. I try to remember that for the child sitting in front
of me this is a big event.

And finally...

3. I keep a large mug of spiked egg nog
next to my drawing board at all times.

Kidding. (Just coffee and chocolate ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

12/8 Sweet 16 party

It's always fun to draw 3 generations of one
family in a single picture. That's Jolyn, on the
right, who hired me for her daughter's Sweet 16
party. She kept my business card on her
refrigerator for 3 years, planning to book
me for the event. She was a super client to
work for. Treated me wonderfully. They loved
the caricatures!

12/8 - company holiday party- RI

Sometimes I'll be at a party and a guy who looks
like this dude will approach my table. That's
when I sort of inwardly pump my fist and go "Yes!"

He's what we in the caricature biz call a
"caricaturist's dream". He's got strong features
that my eyes can easily lock onto. The large nose,
the dark, sunken eyes, the five o'clock shadow,
the spikey black hair. By God, it's all there.
Plus, he was really tall, so I played that up by
drawing him 'higher' than her.

In the drawing she's saying, "How's the weather up
there?", to which he responds, "Grmff".

Not sure why I wrote that. Seemed like
something he might say.

Friday, December 7, 2007

12/7 dinner party

She was fun to draw. Why? Because her head
is made up of what I'd call 'swoopy' lines. Her
hair has those swoopy, curly waves, her nose
and smile lines are sort of swoopy...even
her turtleneck sweater is swoopy.

These are the things I think when I look at people.

12/7- dinner party

I love drawing British people, because they
always tell me I'm "Brilliant!"

Dinner party 12/7 - 7:45pm