Located in Green Brook, NJ

Party caricatures: frequently asked questions

Do you draw babies/wiggly kids/kids with special needs?

Of course! I draw all ages and types of people. Don’t worry if your little one is not a perfect poser. I have been doing this for over 20 years; all I need is the quickest glimpse of the face in my preferred position. I can draw a smile on a serious kid – though I recommend that we don’t! – or even a crying baby. Sleeping babies draw up just beautifully! I have drawn entire events full of kids and/or adults with special needs, some of them with very unique facial features. I really enjoy working with people with special needs.

If all else fails, I can draw from an snapshot on your phone, though I really prefer drawing them in real life if at all possible.

Do you draw wrinkles, pimples, braces, scars, double chins, etc?

My goal is to draw a picture that both looks like the person and is pleasing to the eye. I don’t want to make fun of people or hurt anyone’s feelings. I just love all faces; I honestly think everyone is just so beautifully unique and I find great joy in capturing that.

Also, keep in mind that I’m drawing all this as quickly as I can. Part of that is making a decision as to whether or not a certain feature helps me capture likeness. Pimples and most surface wrinkles don’t make the cut. Double chins usually don’t either… there are other ways to hint at a fuller lower face. Deeper lines may be important to capturing a likeness; expression is sometimes very important in a senior’s face, and if I miss the expression, I miss the likeness. But I usually draw these lines lightly, so the overall look of them is there but not screaming at you.

Freckles and beauty marks go in, so much personality there! But I don’t have time to draw every single freckle; I just do a quick smattering on the cheeks and nose and move on. Braces go in, unless someone is very self-conscious and asks me to leave them out. Whatever, they’re coming off eventually anyway. I usually don’t have time to draw individual teeth and gums; I just draw the overall grill shape and keep going. Scars and things like strabismus are trickier… I usually quietly ask. Some people embrace these things, some people hate them and I won’t know unless I ask. Again, if I do draw them, I hint at them.

Is there a deposit?

Yes, I do need a deposit and a signed contract to hold the date. I accept Paypal, Venmo and check.

Are you vaccinated against covid?

Yes, I’ve had something like 5 shots by now because I am at high-risk for complications. I wear a KN95 mask as well because I have a LOT of gigs and if I get sick, I have to find coverage. Which is a pain in the neck during this post-pandemic party explosion!

What if I don’t want to remove my mask?

Totally fine. I can draw the mask in, it comes out very cute. You can also keep your mask on while I draw the rest of your face, and pull it up or down briefly when I need to draw your nose, mouth and jawline. You’ll be able to hold your breath if you want to. I only need the quickest glimpse to draw each feature.

I heard that caricature artists choose the most important feature and exaggerate it. Do you do that?

No. This is an over-simplified version of what caricature artists do. There is just as much likeness to be gained in the placement of each feature – where they go on the face – as there is in the shape of each feature. There’s also much likeness gained from how heavy each marker line is. Delicate, light features must be drawn that way or the likeness will be lost.

Can I have my drawing paper printed?

Sure! I was a graphic designer for many years and can design something beautiful for the paper. Most people just have me place a line of text, and sometimes a clip art, which I then have printed on the paper. But I can put anything on there; I can do borders, photos, caricatures of the guests of honor, and print it on all the sheets so your guests never forget your party.

Of course, you can save by designing and printing your own. Just send me the file so I can make sure it won’t interfere with the drawings.

What about gender?

Let’s have the conversation. If you want to be drawn as a certain gender, please tell me. I want to draw YOUR truth as YOU define it!

If have any uncertainties, I draw what I see and ask the person whether they want eyelashes. In cartoons, we are used to eyelashes being drawn on women and not drawn on men, so whatever they feel want, I roll with it!

Can you draw couples or groups on the same paper?

Sure. In fact, most couples go together. I can also do group caricatures. Just keep in mind that the more people I squeeze onto a page, the smaller I have to draw the faces. Details will be lost. The other thing is that there will be only one drawing for multiple people to share. Which may be a problem for kids in separate rooms or people who don’t live with each other.

Do you write the person’s name?

If the music isn’t too loud, yes, I do.

If it is too loud, though, I really can’t. I need to be able to hear the name and its spelling clearly, and if I can’t hear what people are saying, I run the risk of ruining a person’s drawing by writing the name wrong. Even if that doesn’t happen, I’ll be constantly asking people to repeat themselves, or write the name so I can see, and it slows me down. If you like loud music, but really want names on the pictures, please pass out name tags.

What size is the drawing paper?

It’s usually 11×17″, aka “ledger-sized.” If you’d like to buy a frame for it, most drawings can be cropped to fit into a 11×14″ frame, which is a more available size. Measure first so you don’t cut off anything important.

What media do you use? Does it smudge?

I use high-quality brush markers for the black lines, and usually soft pastel for the shading. If it’s in color, that’s also done in soft pastel.

I have tried all types of media, everything from colored pencil to cónte to Crayola crayons. Nothing looks anywhere near as soft and beautiful as chalk pastels! But, yes, sometimes it can smear a little. If this happens, don’t worry… you can clean it up by carefully erasing with a good-quality eraser. The color can then be sealed by spraying with artist’s fixative or aerosol hair spray. Yes, hair spray! Both these things are entirely too stinky to offer right there at an event, so I send guests home with a clear, protective plastic sleeve.

Do the drawings come with bags?

Yes. They are flat, clear plastic sleeves and do a good job of protecting the drawings from smudges, smears and spills. If you want something a little sturdier, you can look into getting tubes, manila envelopes, or something similar. Just be aware that people like to show off their drawings, and taking them in and out of the tube or envelope may cause damage or smudging. Some people have me bag the drawings and slide them into a double mat. That works well, but it can be cost-prohibitive.

some of your b&w sketches are shaded and some aren’t. why?

Like any artist, I’m always evolving. For the last couple of years, I’ve been adding some quick shading. It only takes a minute, but it adds so much life and dimension to the drawings. Also, for those with darker skin, now I can shade that in to more fully capture their likeness.