When a client gives me a lot of instructions, it's sort of like working out a puzzle. This client, for instance, gave me some unusual instructions for his Marriage Proposal. I could feel that he was definitely excited, happy, full of Love for his Lady. But the things he wanted were not trite fill-in-the-blanks for Romance. I wanted to see his excitement from His point of view. Not tell him what he Should be wanting.
Before he flew in from England, he ordered his Proposal Caricature ~ planning on proposing at the Falconer Statue in Central Park. He gave me the following instructions for his Picture:
It's be be Fun. Romantic. Stand-out-ish. To resemble Them And NYC. Across the bottom, it's to say:
New York City
27th December 2014
He's to be wearing Velvet Slippers (very important). No Socks. White Shirt. Bright Pink or Purple Sweater tied over his shoulders as in the reference photo. He wants them wearing what they normally wear. That would be sexy clothes for his Lady. Note her Eyebrows. AND
AND he wants me to Include The Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building AND
AND King Kong!
Whew ~ No short order. How to do this? How to do this? Should I show them in a Bubble? Clear and protected, with a dark smashing scary city around them? No. That's not the City he would be experiencing. They're flying in from England, and staying at a quite upscale hotel. Expecting a sparkling good time. Here's what I came up with:
based on these Reference Pictures:
But then, Oh. Change in plans. They will not be here for the Proposal afterall. Client asked if I could email him the picture. So he would get it printed up in UK in time to propose on NYE.
Took me a bit to figure out what he was talking about. UK ~ that's United Kingdom. And NYE ~ that's umm, maybe I'll look it up later. I photographed the Caricature, sent it to myself in an email, downloaded it onto my Desktop, and Imported it into PhotoShop from the Desktop. So I could crop the background of my Studio off the photo.....
But then, when I opened his email to 'Reply' with the picture, I realized Oh. NYE. That's New Year's Eve! Uhoh ~ I'd better contact him. Because he had had me write December 27 in Ink.
We decided that I could just make the change on the emailed version. By doing it in PhotoShop.
On my New Computer. I had been given a much needed new Computer for my Birthday. It's a sleek new Mac. Much different than the PC I had been using. At the time that I had to handle this client's change in plans, I wasn't yet completely comfortable with my MAC. At the bare hint of a touch, pictures became transparent and the windows combined with each other. I had to do my own 'on the job training', so to say.
I flipped around the options, and I found a place where I could change stuff. Hmmm, I'll change this, I'll change that, I'll set it up this way best...... Success ~ I can now keep the pictures in separate windows in PhotoShop on my Mac.
But now what. My activities must have affected the Computer's ability to import pictures from my Printer into PhotoShop. I had written 31 on a separate piece of paper, planning on Moving it into place on the Caricature, and just covering up the New York City part. But it did not pop up in PhotoShop when I 'Import Picture from Device'. And it didn't show up in Documents, Downloads, or Desktop either.
I spent Hours trying to figure out how to Import Pictures from my Printer (Scanner). My client expects the picture to be emailed right away. It was finished on time. All I had to do was email it to him.
What to do ~ What to do for my heart-filled Client ~
Aha! I hadn't yet done much with PhotoShop on my new Mac yet. But I quickly figured out how to add Text and affect it. Here's what I finally came up with:
It has a different 'flavour', but it was extra work that I was doing. Not part of our official Agreement. I figured out how to Import the Pictures later ~ on my own time. For now, this represents the experience. And isn't that what Art is supposed to do anyway?
Done. But then I had no job for December 27, 2014. A very busy time of year, but I had previously turned down a Couple of requests because I was committed to the arrangements I had made to handle this Studio Caricature in person. So, kinda time off. I ended up sitting in Starbucks with my IPad and my Client's reference pictures. I decided to Surprise him with a free Bonus picture. To help him deal with his feelings about his Girlfriend's changed plans. And to perfect' my Party Style Digital Caricatures at the same time.
I worked in Layers.
First Layer was an Underdrawing:
On top of that, I did the Linework:
Here it is when I deleted the Layer with the Underdrawing:
Then I put in the home-colors:
I liked that. It's my style. I might even prefer it at this point ~ before the shading and the highlights and the extra playing. Easy on the eyes. Peaceful. But the following picture does make more of a Statement about the situation. So I felt happy to send it to my Client. An Engagement Gift from his Artist in NY.
You can click on some pictures in this blog to see them larger.
To Hire Artist Alison Gelbman:
I'm more likely to get a request for a specific Theme at a Face Painting Party than at a Caricature Party. But I did get a request for ' Frozen ' for this weekend. My Client wrote:
We would like to hire your for the full duration of the party. There will be around 15 girls......I think for the sake of time, it's better not to ask what each child's hobby is and they can just get a Frozen-esque caricature (the theme of the party is Disney's Frozen--of course, right? LOL!)...so I was thinking maybe each caricature can have a little snowflake or some blue on it, and maybe with the child's first initial on the snowflake to make it more personal? Of course, I welcome any ideas you have.
I like to accommodate my customers whenever possible. But she wouldn't have known what all my concerns would be with such a request. Special requests not only affect the Time involved in creating each picture, but it also can affect the Supplies, the Space needed for the activity, and Legal considerations. For example, Frozen is copyrighted. An Artist is not allowed to sell Someone Else's copyrighted images. But, okay. She said "Frozen-esque", and frankly, I'm feeling a bit frozen-esque while typing here in my Studio in the middle of this January night. Wintery, sparkly, I can do that. I can even draw Princesses :-) But I am not allowed to draw Anna, Elsa, or Olaf.
But drawing a snowflake on each Caricature? At the event? For a small extra fee, I can come to an event with something already printed up onto each paper (black ink only, or the fee wouldn't be small anymore), but I didn't suggest that to this client. Because a black snowflake doesn't work. So I told her I''d see what I can come up with. Perhaps a swish of blue with some sparkles, or something.
Oh, that would be wonderful, she said. And then I started to work out the specifics. I check out my supplies and ideas ahead of time ~ Before showing up at an event. To make sure that my work would look right. It surprised me that this simple request took so much effort. Because I make glittery Mats all the time. Sometimes I'm even called Visualsparkles. You can see them at http://caricatureexpress.com/mats
First thing I did was to draw a little girl. Just a quick thing:
then, ummm, how to put on the glitter. I could use glue, paint it on or scrape it on, I could use glitter-glue, I could spray the whole page with spray-glue and then apply the glitter. Pouring? Sprinkling? Throwing? Pouffing? Painting?
I took out my can of Spray glue. It was all clogged. Tried to fix it with a paperclip:
Aghk. I got it all over my hands! It is soooo sticky. Can't function. How to get it off? Soap and water didn't work. I tried rubbing alcohol. Maybe that's a bit better.
But that wouldn't do at the Party. I can't spend 20 minutes washing my hands between each picture. And I wouldn't want to get the slightest bit of That stuff onto my Client's furniture/walls. Nope. This isn't the answer.
Next I scraped on some glue with a palette knife. I used white holographic glitter (on the snow and snowflake), but it barely showed up. Why bother? So I tried a glitter pouffer that very definitely had Blue glitter in it (on the dress). But oh, it looks like gray on the paper. I already knew that that was probably going to be a problem if I tried silver glitter. But I see that the Blue that came in this poufer would be a disappointment too:
Next I used Light Blue Glitter with the Palette knife. Applied to the hair. I see some potential here:
Here are the Supplies that I used for applying the Light Blue Glitter with the Palette knife. (also used a folded paper under the drawing board to collect the loose glitter). It's reasonably contained:
But let me try something else, too. Perhaps some drawings would look good with the glitter fanned out over a large area, but other drawings would look good with a different type of glitter application.
I guickly made up another picture, outlined the drawing with glue, and sprinkled on the glitter. It's sort of the same as using Glitter Glue. But I made it a little more complicated. Because
I didn't like it. Even though glitter is beautiful, I felt like the outline ruined my drawing.
I knew I wasn't going to use it, but I decided to expand out with more glitter. I don't know why. I guess it's the Artist in me ~ I just wanted to See:
Okay ~ on with the focused work that is needed for my job. I liked the spread of light blue. I wanted to try it on other areas of a picture. So I made up another face from my imagination again. Hmmmm, how about a medium blue color stick. And a darker blue glitter ~ I tried dark blue glitter over a swipe of medium blue color:
That's awful. Just use the Light Blue for the upcoming Wintery Party.
and BTW, I was not working on my drawings because I try to study one thing at a time. Even that gets complicated enough. Still, I had to notice that thinking about the individual features separately did not make a good picture. To draw my next princesses, I actually looked at some Photographs of little girls:
That's a nice picture. And now, how about scraping glue All Over the Paper and just pouring the Glitter directly from the container:
Nope. That's not a good idea either. Egads. So I drew one more princess (based on a photo of a real little girl). Applied glue with palette knife over the blue swoosh And skirt. Simple. And good. Direct. That's why I like Caricatures. Short Stories. Just telling the story without a whole lot of hoopla.
BTW, did you notice what was going on with the Snowflakes in each of these practices? Another thing my Client would't have known to consider is that it takes time to draw a snowflake. Simple, anyone can do it, but you would be adding quite a bit of time to each picture if I'm to draw a few whole snowflakes on them.
On the first picture, I started with some basic snowflakes. A big one on top left of picture, and a few small hints of snowflakes on the other side of the 'face'. Then I decided to see about putting an initial in the snowflake, as my Client suggested. I used the letter 'A'. That was fun. And maybe there would be time to include it on most of the pictures. She is expecting only 15 girls.
So I tried the letter "B' on the picture with the dark black braid. "B" doesn't lend itself to sparkly snowflake as easily as an "A", but I like how I handled that. By closing up that snowflake a bit.
Then I tried the letter "C" near the bottom of the picture of the girl with the two yellow pigtails. I didn't like that snowflake much. I'll think about that some more before the event.
And I tried a "D" on the apron of the last picture. Not too good. But I'm feeling like I can pull it out a bit ~ give more 'motion', as the art teachers say, to the "D" before snowflaking it. I'll work on that idea. As well as going to the Art Supply Store for more glitters. I used up quite a bit of glitter on just these few pictures, and I don't want to go into my Glitter Tattoo Kit where I buy Expensive Glitters for when I do Freehand Glitter Tattoos on people's Bodies. Such high quality glitters are not needed for use on Paper.
And maybe I'll see even more ideas when I'm at the Art Supply Store:-)
Follow Up ~ written the day after I posted the previous message:
It was a good thing that I tried out my ideas here last night. Because it helped me know what to buy when I got to the Art Supply Store. I went to #ACMoore.
The salesgirl told me the same thing ~ I could either buy Spray Glitter or Glitter Glue or the Loose Glitter. I looked at what they had, and I chose 2 types. A Glitter Glue that was a Colorful White (if you know what I mean). And a Loose Glitter in the Prettiest Light Blue ever.
Then I came back to the Studio and drew a new Princess (based on a photo of a real little girl ~ I feel just finger-tied when it comes to making up people without models these days.
Then I added the White Glitter Glue to the eyes, dress, and mound of snow. I wish the glitter showed up better in the Photos. Because it's just so absolutely perfect. Ahhhh. I got it.
I had applied that Glitter Glue with my Finger. So I could swipe it over a large area. With no hard edges. It was fine! Even though I used the pointer finger of my Drawing Hand, I did not feel sticky. I was ready to continue working without stopping for a major hand-washing.
Next I decided to try the Glitter Glue in lines ~ squeezed directly from the bottle. Without spreading it out with my finger. I put a few lines of Glitter Glue into the hair:
That's not good.
So I spread it out with my fingers. Ahhhh. Nice, THIS IS THE APPROACH I WILL BE USING:
But my Studies Continued. Maybe there's something more......While the White Glitter Glue was still wet, I decided to try the New Fabulous Light Blue Sprinkle Glitter right on top of it. Aghk! Picture Ruined. It looks like a sprinkled Black Pepper onto my picture. I feel so glad that I try out my ideas Before I'm at work. I want everything to look smooth when I'm at an Event. As though everything I do is just Right. Even if my Client had asked for something unique ~ Something that was not in my Samples on my Blog
Now I feel confident about handling this Client's Special Request. I will make time to go buy more of that White Glitter Glue. I will apply it with my Fingers.
I am a little concerned though that the wetness of the Glue does make the Paper curl. A little. I know ways to avoid that, but they would not be reasonable to use at the Party. (for example, I could soak and stretch the paper ~ the way I would prepare A paper for a major Water-Color Painting ~ that would take at least 30 hours of work plus 30 new drawing boards all of which would have to be Carried to the 2-hour Party. Or I could paint the Back of each curled Paper with water after it dries ~ to bend it back the other way ~ but when and where would I do that during/after the 2-hour Party? I get paid by the hour. I'm only expected to be in this Client's house for 2-hours.) Sooo..... a little curling of the Paper will happen. Because that is the nature of the supplies. Concerned only because it's unusual. But it can feel Lovely ~ Fine ~ Fluttery. Sometimes we just have to let things be the way they will be.
While I was at the Store, I was also attracted to some Holographic Star Stickers. Once again, the Photograph of it does not show it well. It's actually quite Beautiful:
I didn't want to spend the Big Stars on my Practices ~ I wanted to save them for the Party. So I put one little star near the top of the picture. Egads. It looked like the teacher gave me a Star, like an A+ or something. Not like it's Part of the Picture. So I tried a little star near the bottom of the picture ~ over by my signature. That wasn't good either. Perhaps it has to be the bigger ones? I tried one of the Bigger Stars near the top of the picture ~ Still did not take it's place as Part of the Picture.
But I do like these things. And what better to do with them than share them with some cute little girls? I'll feel happy to bring them along to the Party ~ just as a quick little extra Surprise. It feels Magical when I put the little Star on my adult hand. I imagine it would look better when I use the Large Star on a child's hand.
Or perhaps I will just put a little star on a child's Finger ~ for that 'Magic' touch. Oh it's Fun to Play:
I do feel ready to handle the extra request for this Client. Even though I still might try out some more ideas. Like, ummm, perhaps I'll try drawing the Outlines with Blue Markers.
BTW ~ Did you notice the extra shading on this successfully glittered picture? I had decided to add extras ~ like a simple swipe along the side of the face. Because I observed that on the simply drawn #FamilyGuy cartoon that I surfed by last night.
I like my new Supplies. I am looking forward to drawing at the upcoming event. I feel excited and happy about going to work because I prepare.
Subsequent Follow Up ~ Just in Time ~
Day of Frozen Party. Dressed, Packed, and Ready to Go. I packed up the car ~ then I left it warm up before driving. What to do while waiting ~ Oh, wouldn't this be a good idea to try out my idea of using a blue marker...... There's probably one in my packed Supplies, but I'll take one from my Studio, and see how it looks.
I wanted a beautiful Blue Marker. Dark Blue didn't feel like what my Client would be wanting. I already knew that Caricatures that are Outlined with the beautiful Hilighter Colors do not look good. So I found a more Solid Medium-Light-Blue Marker. Drew a quick Princess, and I felt very pleased with it. Just in time, I threw a couple of those Markers into the car after making sure that the ink from these markers would not spread when the wet Glitter-Glue is applied. (I just used a blue glitter-glue that I had here in the Studio. I wasn't going to start unpacking the car to get the Perfect Glitter Glue that I had chosen for the Party.) Success.
You can click on some pictures in this blog to see them larger.
To Hire Artist Alison Gelbman: