Holding a fundraising event and need entertainment? Remember that entertainers are WORKERS just like the caterers, waiting staff and bar staff and expect to get paid, so unless every other worker at your event is prepared to donate £350 each, please do not ask your Caricaturist to do so. Raising money by using my skills is simply not cost effective and here is an explanation why:

  • Scenario 1 – Hire your Carix and drawings are FREE. Punters will love it, all have fun and maximum numbers drawn (around 40 in 3 hours).  Cash raised is £0 – Carix fee £350 = deficit £350
  • Scenario 2 – Hire your Carix and ask for donations. Punters are put off and those who do feel fleeced, so give £5 each. Fewer are drawn (around 25 in 3 hours). Cash raised is £125 – Carix fee £350 = deficit £225
  • Scenario 3 – Ask Carix to charge and give you 10%. Minimum charge would be £10 each, punters are put off, so even fewer drawn (around 15 in 3 hours). Cash raised is £150 – Carix fee £135 = profit £15 
  • Scenario 4 – Ask Carix to charge and give you 10%. Minimum charge suggested by you of £5 each, punters are put off, so fewer drawn (around 25 in 3 hours). Cash raised is £125 – Carix fee £112.50 = profit £12.50

Very few Caricature Artists would be willing to offer their services at the prospect of £112.50 weekly wage and so most will refuse all but the first scenario. Caricaturists are not insured to collect cash at live events and so would need a member of staff to follow them and take donations, this alone is enough to deter most punters as experience has taught me over 26 years.

So please please please think twice before hoping to make a profit from your walkabout entertainer. Have a raffle, an auction or a quizz, maybe even include a donation in your ticket prices, but do not put the burden of fund raising on an already pressured artist. Caricature Artists are there to entertain your guests, not pester them for cash.

Caricature resources: iToons digitalWeddingsArtist directory

Hiring a Caricaturist – Time is Money

When you hire a party caricaturist, you hire them for their time and not by the drawing or on a productivity basis.  There is a simple reason for this; productivity conditions are out of the Artists’ control and so no guarantees of time spent drawing or productivity can be made. You hire me for my time, from the moment I leave home, to the moment I leave your event. 

Example 1: Time On Site – I was once hired for a Golf day in Liverpool, the client stated he wanted just 2 hours drawing time, so I quoted for this. Turns out I was expected to start at 8am before they tee’d off, drawing for one hour, then the second hour was as they returned from their golf round after 4pm! That means I was on site for 8 hours of my time, not to mention the 2 hour drive each way, making for a 12 hour day, but the client only wanted to pay for 2 hours!!

Example 2: Drawing Time – I was hired for a large dinner event (ball) for 3 hours. The client made the mistake of booking me during the meal while other entertainment was going on. As a matter of professional etiquette, I cannot draw while punters are eating, during speeches or awards, during the raffle or table games of ‘Heads & Tails’ etc.  On this occasion the lights were dimmed between every course, as a team of Ballroom dancers showed off their skills. As a result my productivity suffered, despite my best efforts.

Remember that once an Artist is at your event, drawing or not, they cannot attend another event and so you must pay for their time, even while resting. For exhibitions with long days on site, you would normally hire a caricaturist for upto 6 hours on site, which includes lunch break and hourly breaks. This does not mean 6 hours of solid drawing, we are not machines or photo-booths and such extended periods of extreme concentration are utterly exhausting. Would you expect a live band to play for 6 solid hours or a Comedian to tell jokes for 6 solid hours or even a Speaker to make a 6 hour address??

Please remember this when hiring your caricaturist. They will do their utmost to draw as many willing punters as they can within the allotted time, but they will be entitled to breaks, food, refreshments and consideration.

Caricature resources: iToons digitalWeddingsArtist directory

Spot On Tips – Exhibiting?

Exhibition caricaturist for hire

When exhibiting at trade shows or conferences, a Caricaturist can be an invaluable asset to your marketing! People love caricatures and a good caricaturist provides an excellent attraction, together with marketing opportunities such as product branding, not to mention pitching sales to those captivated by the artwork.

When hiring an exhibition caricaturist I would recommend that the client considers exactly how to use said artist;

  1. As a static attraction or added benefit to existing customers
  2. As a roving attraction, Front Of House to pull in new punters

A caricaturist works best if given a prominent space, with seating, room for a queue and adequate signage, then the punters will be flocking to see what the fuss is about. If using a digital caricaturist, then a plasma screen is essential (ideally in portrait format), otherwise a ‘Rogues Gallery’ wall is a good idea to show previous clients. Essential tools to attract customers:


If you wish the artist to be FOH, then this should be made clear, with detailed parameters to use in attracting punters (ie; target market?). Sometimes caricaturists can be best used by roving around the exhibition, drawing random punters, but using your branded paper as advertising (this is not always allowed however, so check first). Please note that 5 hours on foot can be exhausting and you may be charged a suppliment to cover the extra work involved. It is my opinion that the client’s FOH staff should be doing the canvassing, as they will be better trained, so make sure you put them to good use.

If you do hire a caricaturist, but not make space for them, not advertsie them, not encourage any punters for them, you will be wasting a vital marketing tool, so be prepared and work with your artist for maximum success; remember they’re a member of your team too! Good luck at your exhibition.

XL exhibition caricatures

Caricature resources: iToons digitalWeddingsArtist directory

Spot On Tips – How Many Guests?!?

When organising an event, one of the basic rules to get right is the guest to entertainer ratio. One Magician in a crowded ballroom of 1500 guests won’t even be noticed and there’s nothing worse than a Caricaturist suffering a hail of complaints upon leaving, after having drawn just 20% of the guests.

Quite simply; one Caricaturist or entertainer can cover around 60 guests in 2 hours, upto 90 guests in 3 hours. This is calculated by taking the average number drawn (one every 4-5 minutes) and doubling it, as the subject will show at least one other person; so TWO entertained! Most caricaturists will produce upto 15 drawings an hour, which entertain at least 30 punters.  Therefore if you have an event with 120 guests and only two hours to fill with entertainment, I recommend TWO close up entertainers (Carix/Magix), not just one poor blighter, who will be shouted at and grabbed at with every turn.

  • 1 Carix: 2 hours = 60 guests
  • 1 Carix: 3 hours = 90 guests
  • Most events have a 50% take-up, the rest like to watch, however student events have a 99% take-up. So if you have a student ball with 150 guests who ALL have to be drawn, I recommend hiring THREE caricaturists for 3 hours to ensure no complaints!

I was recently hired to attend an event with around 150 drunk guests, for just two hours (including a break for speeches) which was a foolish proposition. I drew a maximum of 30 punters; two per table over fifteen tables, though some tables hogged my time and insisted on more drawings, thus giving other tables instant reason to complain. This was a no-win situation for me, as I would never keep all 15 tables happy and sure enough when my time was up, I faced a barrage of abuse from people who missed out on drawings and entertainment. Quite simply my client had woefully under estimated their entertainment needs and I was left to take the brunt.

This is an unfair situation, so please help avoid disgruntled guests by hiring the correct amount of entertainers for your event.

Time to Go…

We all hate to see the end of a good thing, but spare a thought for your hard working caricaturist at the end of a booking.

Following a spate of horror stories forwarded to me by colleagues (and having had to deal with similar situations myself), I thought it was time to hi-light the problem of drunk punters at the end of the night. I recently had a colleague close to tears, after a drunk punter confronted him at the end of a performance, demanding to be drawn, then later complained to the client. This lead to the client filing a complaint and making libellous accusations on public forums, which all could have been avoided if all parties concerned had simply observed the following points:

  • Every performance must finish at some (agreed) point and many artists adhere to the timetable in order to make a second booking in good time. Caricaturists will usually shorten the queue in the last 30 minutes, so not to disappoint later arrivals or those who may miss out.
  • Your artist will aim to please the client and often offer flexibility on the day in order to keep people smiling. The last thing they want is a confrontation or complaint, it is their living after all.
  • Your caricaturist will remain professional, polite and sober at all times (unless you have hired a low budget option of course), though some of your guests may not.
  • The later the performance, the more chance there is that some of the guests will become drunk and less patient, especially when having to queue to be drawn or fed. These guests may take their rejection from a queue as rudeness and react with aggression.
  • Remember, any punter who claims they have been “waiting all night” can not possibly have been there longer than the caricaturist.  In 3 hours a good caricaturist will draw through a queue of 40+ people, so most people waiting from the moment of the artist’s arrival will be drawn.
  • It is the client’s responsibility to put forward those who simply HAVE to be drawn, otherwise your caricaturist will do their best to draw all in the queue, no matter who.
  • Not everyone will be drawn, no caricaturist will promise this and in a group of 100 people, maybe 45 will be lucky in an average evening performance. This may lead to a few disgruntled punters, but a lot more happy ones.

As a caricaturist and entertainer I have to regularly deal with drunk, aggressive and violent punters at the end of every performance, despite my having been a roaring success all night and finishing at an agreed time. I always deal with such confrontations in a polite and professional manner, usually leaving smiles behind me. However I should have the right to finish my work in safety and without fear of reprisal or complaint.

With this in mind, I ask all those hiring a caricaturist for their event to spare a thought for the hard working artist, as they pack their pens away at the end of a night and perhaps give them a hand diffusing the punters who missed out on a free drawing that night. Maybe give them the benefit of the doubt the next time a punter moans about not having been drawn.

Its just a bit of fun after all….

Spot On Tips – Let Me Entertain You!

I am an artist but also a professional entertainer and I take a lot of joy from interacting with guests and subjects while drawing and showing off my skills. Indeed I pride myself on being witty and charming, thus adding an extra dimension to the performance and creating a buzz. I offer an entertainment SERVICE, not just a PRODUCT as you might find at a Them Park or Pier, which is why you pay a premium for me, so please let me entertain your guests to the best of my ability, which can be done by following these points:

  • Introduce me properly, as the UK’s celebrity caricaturist, GQ illustrator and professional entertainer. Help build up a buzz. Perhaps mention my many TV appearances?
  • Show my caricatures off, do not whisk the drawings away, put them in your room, tare them up or otherwise hide them. Please encourage guests to pass the caricatures round, create a buzz and raise some laughter!
  • Do not ask me to work at the same time as the speeches, disco or band, as it kills all chances of banter or laughter which is essential to my  performance.
  • Please note that I cannot draw guests whilst they are eating food (ie; during dinner courses) but table hop between courses, which is mor polite and practical.
  • Please chat and interact with me, as I am not a drawing machine and love nothing better than a good banter!

It breaks my heart when I leave a venue after an evening of battling against a Disco, not having chatted with any guests, with no drawings floating around, while wondering if I wowed them. This may be good enough for some amateures, many of whom sit at an easel in a corner, but its not good enough for me. I am a walkabout entertainer, not unlike a Magician or Comedian, so please treat me as such and your party will go with a swing.

Spot On Tips – Fancy Dress

So you’re having a party and have come up with lots of fun ideas to liven up the night? ‘Fancy Dress’ someone suggested, while another suggested ‘Hire a caricaturist’! Both are fabulous ideas and will liven up proceedings, however the logistics do not work well together.  Quite simply; how can a caricaturist draw a likeness of someone who is in disguise?  Is this Stan from HR or Mr Smethers MD??

Bat Man caricature

It is every caricaturists’ mission to draw the best likeness they possibly can and raise laughs, but when Ken from Accounts is dressed as a middle aged, overweight Cap’n Jack Sparrow, then a likeness of either is highly unlikely. This can be soul destroying for a caricaturist, who will hear people complaining about the terrible likenesses all evening, through no fault of his own.

In short, please reconsider if you are planning both Fancy Dress and Caricatures at your event or at least pre-warn the artist, who can come prepared, possibly with predrawn character bodies?

Spot On Tips – Digital caricatures

Spot On Tips – Digital caricatures

Its the latest thing; Digital drawn caricatures! With the flooding of the digital tablet market comes the flood of requests for digital caricatures, on Samsung, on iPad or on Cintiq. Full colour and emailed to your clients, what a great idea! But you’re having a dinner party?? Unless you have a Tech team on hand, think again.

The main draw back with digital is the lack of product at the end, a bit like a long drawn out joke without a punchline. The artist stands in a dark dining room or bar, glaring at a 10″ screen, fiddling with effects and layers, while diners ignore them and after 10 minutes, they are asked for an email address and they don’t see the artwork until the following day, sober. A colleague of mine summed up the experience brilliantly; “I felt like I was taking a survey in the corner, while diners ignored me!”

Digital caricatures are a static medium, in other words they are best at an exhibition stand, plugged into a plasma screen and a printer, to draw punters to your product. As each drawing takes at least 10 minutes, it captivates the passing punters as it unravels on the big screen. The result can be printed out or emailed at your leisure.