The people were great. All the hubbub. And they just put on their smiles and enjoyed the Party. Enjoyed their Family Fun Stuff.
But I had to ignore some of my feelings. I felt squashed into the hubbub. I felt like I was trying to entertain active children on the freeway. I wish I always had the say as to where I should set up, but all I can really say is that "I design the Pictures. But my clients design the Party."
My client was lovely. The guests were friendly and appreciative. But they had no idea about the space needed to take full advantage of the Caricature Entertainment. It's like serving a dinner party, and pushing all the tables together so there is no space allocated for chairs. Or or creating a library by pushing all the shelves together, and leaving no room to walk between them. People know basically how a dinner-table looks. They know that they'll need space around the table for the chairs. And people probably know that a big library needs an organized system for finding the books. But some people have unrealistic ideas about what a good Caricaturist does to Entertain at a Party. I drew a quick picture of where I was told to draw at this Party:
My client had planned for me to draw at a long booth-type table. Oh. I cannot see the Caricature if the subject is 2-feet in front of me. Hold your hand an inch in front of your face and count the fingers. Then you might understand about seeing the forest from the trees. So I asked for a chair to set in front of the table for me. Had to stay tucked in tight though, because that was right in front of a doorway from which the waiters and guests would be walking. So that meant that I couldn't use my easel. And I couldn't draw actively. With big movements. That's part of the Show ~ part of keeping people's attention. But this Set Up didn't allow for that. I can only do what I can do. I imagine that my client had some quaint idea about an Artist having a tet-a-tet in a dark corner of a little French cafe? That's not the atmosphere for a Big Party. Whether it be a Communion, a Reunion, a Sweet 16, a Bar Mitzvah, an Office-Party..... The Entertainer is supposed to be seen by many people. And the Guests have to be able move gracefully and quickly in and out of their spot. Not a quiet moment with one person, not speaking with hushed tones and slowly building up a sketch.
So, I continue. When I sat in the front of the table, the Art Supplies taking up room on one side of me, the Guests then had to slide in to to get all the way to the other end of the table. Wearing fancy dresses. And there was a traffic-jam each time after I managed to communicate to the child that she had to come out of the booth to let the next person in to the booth. One Guest being coerced to slide Out of the seat so the next Guest(s) could slide in to the seat. They both needed the same space, so it was awkward. And there was no way for me to control how very long that table was. So with the loud music and the loooong table, it was very difficult to communicate with the children who didn't know what to do, the children who didn't turn their faces to me while I was drawing them. Because of the untenable Set Up.
There was, though, one good point about this Set Up. There was plenty of room behind me where the people were able to watch the drawing happen while they waited their turn to be seen. They Enjoyed it, and were quick to take their turn. But Oh, then they had to climb out or over each other while the previous guest was coming Out of the booth.
Still, handling the traffic in and out of the long benches, and hoping for glimpses of the children's faces - Oh - It was not the best use of the the Artist's Performance. I feel happy that the people were having fun, I feel happy that they were open to Enjoying what was set up for them. But it could have been so much nicer for them. If I only was allowed to walk around the room and choose the best place to set up some Chairs. I don't use a table.
A while back, I had drawn a picture of my favorite Set Up. I'll post it again here:
Here are some of the Caricatures from this Party that had me Set Up at a Booth near a Doorway. I was smiling as I connected with the People. But I felt like it could have been better for them.
The Caricatures look good. But who knows if I could have drawn even better ~ I'm not a machine. Of course I am going to be affected by what's going on around me. I wasn't in my regular 'Zone' because I had to keep stopping to organize how one person could slide all the way out of the seat and the next one slide in.
You can click on some pictures in this blog to see them larger.
To Hire Caricature Artist Alison Gelbman: