7.03.2006

Cute vs. Crazy

I've drawn in 10 different theme parks now, and I'm seeing an array of artists, ages, skill levels, experience, styles, approaches, philosophies, customers, and tastes. It's amazing how guests of a Six Flags theme park will often fawn over a drawing that a Sea World guest would outright reject, even take as an insult.

I've also found that with the right attitude, swank and confidence, an artist can pull off whatever they want with a drawing, if you keep the entertainment going. "Selling" a caricature has little to do with the piece of art created in front of you (yes, I said ART), and far more to do with selling yourself. You could call it confidence, you could call it swagger or even arrogant enthusiasm...
whatever you tag it, the attitude you project to the subject of the drawing or onlookers/family is the attitude the drawing is expected to have - or at least as much insurance as you're giving yourself. If (as an artist) you're a safe driver, then you don't need full collision coverage, and if you're a risk-taking exaggerator, you may need more than the soft-spoken minimum liability plan. My new friend Gabe Hunt taught me a lot about attitude and enthusiasm while drawing and selling. I like to concentrate on the art more than the business, however there's so much more you can do when giving yourself padding - cusion of crazy, as I've observed with Gabe. Either way, different situations call for different tactics, but as much as you try to make the customers pleased and happy (if you draw live) - don't forget to take that one bold leap and do something that helps you grow as an artist. Rarely do the drawings that give growth go over well with a paying customer in a conservative cute theme-park, but don't forget why you're doing it.

Here are a couple drawings done at Sea World in San Diego, CA. The first was done early in the day - an extremely cute little baby hanging out with daddy. The same theme asked of a 3 year-old (or so) girl a few hours later, with a different approach. Now even though the first father laughed, thanked, smiled, and purchased the drawing, in true form he kindly returned for a refund. This was truly a sketch-book drawing where I learned a lot, grew a little, and didn't produce the nicest drawing, but I taught him a little, myself a little, and my co-workers a little.. which is worth far more to me and them than the $24.95 refund; whereas the latter was a quick card-trick, small illusion or fun joke that I've told 50 times. Great for them and it made me feel good, but only a passing memory that will wash off. They both have their strong points and positive results and both are important in drawing live.


The 2nd group framed the drawing with enthusiasm, and I'm sure it's hanging in the living room right now. I experimented with the first, failing in some rights, succeeding in others.

I'll have more here soon... to much to sort through, too many drawings and paintings, too little time. I'm thinking of giving up sleep altogether.



REJECT REJECT REJECT

12 comments:

G R I G O R said...

i added you on my blogger dude! =)

B said...

you rank as one of my favorites, you are really pushing it, man. i am just starting out following my dream too of drawing, doing some live stuff. what do you ise for color on the seaworld stuff? keep up the awsome work.

Joe Bluhm said...

Thanks, B. We use PRISMACOLOR Art Stixx - waxy colored pencils, in stick form. They're great for laying down color if you like touching the page.

The Gaber's Sketchblog said...

I didn't know we where friends? Thanks, but I thought we where just buddies. If you wanna be my friend you're gonna hafta kick down with more than just handjobs. Anyhoo thanks for saying my name...twice!!! Maybe I'll be famous too.

jert said...

less talk, more rock

Peter Sharp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter Sharp said...

then me and gabe are definately very deep friends.

Anonymous said...

you drew my coworkers at a sketch part during the few days you worked at great america, I couldn't go T_T i wanted to be drawn by you so bad~~~~

everyone is trying to steal the demo you did at Topgun stand, (oa a guy with beard) we're keeping a close watch on each other though. i hope you'll comeback sometime, we learned so much by watching you work.

Anonymous said...

oh.. and you inspired me to push for more exaggerations instead to doing cute sketches to sell frames.

William Appledorn said...

Joe-

This is some of the best advice for caricatures i've heard in a while. I work at Geauga lake now, and i just want you to know that i have learned the most from your sketches, even just the ones we have on the walls, and it has really helped me push the exaggeration in my pictures. Thanks

Peter Sharp said...

hey Joe, Id love it if you critiqued some of my blog sketches. any pointers or complaints would be greatly appreciated.

The Gaber's Sketchblog said...

Sorry, sorry, it was very impolite of me to say "handjobs" on your world famous blog. I apologize for any inconveniece this may of caused you. Whaaat I meant to say was, pelvic massage. It won't happen again, buddy.