Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kids vs. Caricaturist

Being a caricaturist, I encounter lots of personalities.  Most people love what I do, a few don't.  Usually the ones who don't get it are the women who still want to be young and thin but no longer are, or the teenage girls who want to be the same person the older women want to be, but for different reasons! But kids are usually not a problem for me.  However, for some reason, I've had a recent run of "kids say the darnedest things" moments!

Last night I drew a caricature of three kids, the youngest, Jack, is six. He looked at the picture after I was done and said "I don't want to look like that!" I felt he was being hard on my drawing skills, so I said, "Sorry, I thought that was how you looked." He said "No, I wanted to look like THIS!" and he screwed up his face to show me a goofy expression. ....guess I didn't draw funny enough for his taste!  Even if Jack wasn't 100% satisfied, I'm happy to say that his mother was. His two sisters also thought I did a great job as well.

I had another complaint over the weekend as well. This time from an eight year old boy. I was at a wedding reception, and my set up was next to the "kids table". I eventually drew all eight of the kids seated there during the course of the evening,  All of them were teenagers, and they all had a good laugh at their own and cousins' caricatures. The only one who didn't "get it" was the youngest one at the table. This kid was just your regular 8 year old blond haired blue-eyed kid with nothing really outstanding to caricature. No bucked teeth or cowlick... just your average kid and the resulting drawing was pretty "normal" by most standards, but for some reason he reacted to it by saying "it's horrible!" and then wouldn't show it to anyone.  No one could understand why he didn't like it, but for some reason he didn't. But it was okay, in the end the hostess showered me with compliments and tipped me well, and most importantly, the bride and groom loved the drawing I did of them. Even the older women and teenage girls loved me. Go figure...

The most common question that kids ask me is "are YOU an ARTIST?" They say it with a bit of awe as if they were asking a really tall person if he is a basketball player or a guy with a hose if he is a fireman. I usually say "yes, isn't that COOL?", but sometimes I mess with them and say "no, I'm a plumber" just to entertain myself with the confused expression I get. But then I confess that yes, I am an artist. They always seem to react with an "I knew it!" expression on their faces, as if the seven-foot guy in the high-tops just HAD to be a basketball player, and the guy with the easel and the fancy pens just HAS to be a real life artist!

The other night at the ballpark a kid came up to me and asked me for my autograph. He even had a Sharpie pen on him. Never mind that I have 50 pens to his one... but he offered me the Sharpie and asked for my autograph. However, he didn't have anything to sign!  I said "where do you want my autograph? On your shirt?" He offered me his chest, but I grabbed one of my own pens and signed the back of my business card and gave that to him instead. Maybe he will have his parents hire me for a birthday party someday... we'll see.  I don't know if he was just goofing around or not, but he seemed serious. You never know these days... kids after a certain age seem to have no qualms about tweaking adults.

My last "kid story" is from a picnic I did for a Head Start program in one of the more poor parts of town. I only mention that it's a poor part of town because it seems that in such areas, the moms really try hard to make their children stand out and be unique, so they start their kids off in life with a unique name. This one woman had five kids and each kid had a name more strange than the last. I wish I had taken photos of all the caricatures I did for that family, but this one stood out the most. Now I usually ask the spelling of just about every name, even the easy ones... but this one really threw me! Poor kid... Meet Malachi. Well, that's how you pronounce his name, but check the "Scrabble Rack Special" spelling:

As usual, comments welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the old tv show "Joannie and Chaliexkiy"!