Thursday, May 7, 2009

Caricature Capers Part 1

When I graduated from "Cartooning School", I really didn't  have a plan as to where I would find employment in my chosen field. I naively assumed there were a boat-load of opportunities out there for the extremely talented cartoonist I thought I was at the time. A few visits to various art directors disabused me of this idea. My work just wasn't "good enough", and I didn't have any "experience" or a "reputation". No one would hire me to ply my trade. 

Most creative types would use this kind of situation to re-double their efforts to try to crack into the field. Not me. I curled up and began to envision a career in the fast food industry.

Then one day, I was strolling thru a local tourist trap. when I saw a caricature booth. Here was a group of "artists" doing humorous drawings of eager tourists for what appeared to be pretty good money. After watching the "caricaturists" for a few minutes, I thought, "hey, maybe I can do this, FOR MONEY!" The address for the owners of the booth was posted on the cart, so I contacted them and made an appointment to show off my "portfolio".

Not unsurprisingly, they wanted to  see some examples of my caricatures. This threw me for a bit of a loop, as I had never really done any caricatures before, outside of offensive cartoons of my teachers in high school (Miss Chang, if you're reading this, I DO apologize for that drawing!).

To prepare for my interview, I looked at as many examples of excellent caricaturists as I could find in those pre-internet days. Mainly, I looked at MAD magazine's Mort Drucker and Al Hirschfeld. I quickly realized those guys were waaaaaay too good for me to try to emulate. I ended up just drawing a few caricatures of celebrities from a copy of PEOPLE magazine. 

As it turned out, when I went for my interview, qualities such as "talent", "drawing ability", and, "getting a likeness", were not necessary. All they needed was a monkey who could hold a pen, and do somewhat acceptable drawings. After a quick "in house" test, that involved drawing the owner of the business (who had a big mustache and giant glasses, making him a no-brainer to draw), I was hired.

I was now a professional (meaning I got paid for drawing) CARTOONIST!

Next time: My First Day on the Job.

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Blogger Black Canary said...

It's funny, Bill. There are so many talented caricature artists out there, but there are also some very untalented ones who, I assume, just figure the customer won't know the difference. I've received a few of those in my time, and only paid for them because I felt bad for the artist.

I can see you are very talented, however, and I wish you much success.

I love the cartoon!

May 12, 2009 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

just linked this article on my Facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.
Caricature Booth

December 15, 2011 at 9:28 PM  

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