Drawing at NASA!

So, my buddy Sage calls me up and asks if I’ll come to where he works to draw at his company picnic. They can’t pay me but it’ll be cool to hang out and I can bring the family. There were only about 50 people expected so it would be pretty laid back. Ordinarily I’d probably say no (It’s an hour away and I do have a lot of office work to catch up on and have gotten virtually nothing accomplished this week) but I haven’t seen Sage in a while and in fact might actually be a pretty cool gig. See, Sage works for NASA.

I didn’t know it but he invited his wife and some other cool people we hadn’t seen in awhile too. It was great seeing everybody again and catching up. Another big surprise was that Sage led us on a tour of the facilities!

He told me once he was in maintenance and HVAC systems. So naturally my dumb ass imagines him pushing a broom and fixing air conditioners… Not so much… Uh, Sage maintains the vacuum and exhaust systems for where they test rocket propulsion systems and payload deployment systems for rockets!

We started out by watching some hobby rockets go off in a field on base, which was some 1600 acres in Lorain with a really cool history of a weapons manufacturing facility in WWI. Then we saw the vacuum chamber which has 2 5′ thick concrete doors and a suspension system under the floor to keep it from imploding! After lunch, (which went fast and I only got to draw about 25 people) Sage showed us the rocket testing facility which was a giant sheltered hole in the ground that the rocket is bolted onto and the exhaust is expressed underneath the floor into a 250′ deep chasm, cooled, analyzed and sucked out. It was pretty amazing.

Thank you so much, Sage, for asking us to join you and giving us the tour!

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Something Fun and Different Entertainment

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So I’ve been hinting around at a big project that has been taking up a lot of my time. Well, I started an entertainment agency. It’s called Something Fun and Different. The agency specializes in unique interactive art novelties and unique variety acts. If you’re looking for entertainment and want something you’ve never seen before that is artistic and probably a little bit silly- please give us a holler!

Speed Sketchers Caricatures is a group of specialized speed artists that I have put together and am training to do exactly what I do at gigs, nationwide. This is kind of a big deal for me because I am the only one who does what I do. I have (thankfully) been in demand and have one dedicated back up artist, but sometimes my schedule is just too much for me. I have chosen artists regionally so that everyones time gets used efficiently. (and nobody spends 3 full days traveling to and from a single gig because it’s so far out of the way) We can draw together at some gigs and cover for each other. Also important to note is that the more people that can do speed sketches, the higher the demand for them will be!

Apart from Speed Sketchers, I am also representing digital caricature artists as well as traditional caricature artists. Other artistic novelties of note are silhouette cutout artists, henna, face painting, balloon sculptors, an origami artist, live scene painters, portrait artists, giant mural painters and customized color by number projects! I am also pleased to represent an amazing journalistic photographer, a variety of original singer/songwriter KICK ASS musical acts, a speaker/artist presenter and a world famous magician who holds several world records.

The website is here: http://www.somethingfunanddifferent.com if you are interested in checking it out…. Facebook page is here: http://www.facebook.com/somethingfunanddifferent. New website is already in the works now that I have some additional promotional materials from some of the performers.

It’s going to be a big year! Wish me luck!!

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Interesting NY Times article interviewing one of the Chinese caricature ‘bosses’ in Times Square.

Times Square Artists

My thoughts: Retail caricatures may be free speech but should not be exempt from vendor licensing or paying local sales taxes. Let alone by undocumented immigrants. Reading between the lines of this article, seeing them first hand and knowing how things work for NYC artists who have tried to set up in Times Square, I can tell you – something fishy is going on…

If you try to set up and are NOT Chinese the cops will actually chase you away. The artwork in their displays are snagged from the internet and are done by caricature illustrator friends of mine who are fellow ISCA members (yes, we have a large group and it’s fun sometimes when the someone from our group snaps a photo of their signs and we all know who’s work is on the sign. One of the artists even cheekily confronted one of the Chinese artists when they saw their own illustration on a sign. …no speaka engrish! Lol)

I hear about these artists almost everywhere I’ve been. They sell a caricature for $5-$10 or more, (some good some bad. Honestly some do good work) but then a lady comes over and tries to sell you a matte, plastic sleeve or frame for $20 or something. She’s pretty aggressive! Again, I have seen her in action.

My advise if you are in NYC and want to get some artwork done? Go to Central Park and get one from one of the artists there. They are as good or better artists than the Chinese artists, probably American, probably from NYC and you will probably have a much better experience. I know some of those artists and if they have signs depicting caricatures, they use their own work. They probably have a sketchbook, some business cards, a website and some fine art they can show you as well, and they might even be able to draw your guests at your nieces birthday party!

A Guy Walks Into A Bar -Continued…

STROLLING CARICATURES IN BARS… -THE SUBJECT AT HAND-. GETTING STARTED.

I WANT TO TEACH YOU ALL WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT STROLLING, aka, WALKAROUND BUSKING- the variety of venues available to do this in, tricks to help you improve your take once you have decided to give it a try, and the details of the successful methods that have worked with me and the artists that have worked with me in the past while doing this under my tutelage… SPECIFICALLY- busking creative performance entertainment (in my case caricatures) in bars.

Strolling busking is just what it sounds like and what I have described before, except you are roaming and barking at people and doing your thing without a net in large crowds of stupid people. It is “extreme busking”, “guerilla busking” or “Para-busking” because you are taking a huge risk doing it!! You are getting out there in front of God and everybody and having a blast, doing something fun and unique among other people who are having fun and still getting paid to do it! The “pitch” may be a bar, a restaurant, a mall, a cocktail party, a parking lot tailgate party, an outdoor concert, a street development promotion, a boardwalk, an intersection, a crowd of people, etc… mostly on private property, sometimes on public, most of the time when there is SOMETHING going on, but still totally fantastic… Strolling artists can go pretty much anywhere, any time and sometimes they get PAID FULL PRICE to work at a gig where they can also BUSK. Hows that for an incentive to do the best artwork you can??!!

Specifically this book is geared toward doing caricatures or quick sketch cartoons of people for tips but it may also be useful as a jumping off point for doing other novelty type “performances”, one on one, close up entertainment services where a creative souvenir is exchanged -including face/body painting, balloon twisting, hair wraps and henna tattoos (and FTR, I would love to hear what other types of performers it has successfully given aid to).

This manual may also be helpful to those full time gig entertainers who are already comfortable strolling in cafes and restaurants doing close up caricatures, magic, balloons, comedy, hypnosis, etc… to try to pick up extra gigs during the week. As is the case with most ingenious art forms, creativity breeds strange animals that are not easy to categorize. If this is the case of your particular act, let me say that this manual may be helpful if you A) have a minimum of props/tools that you need to perform your act and B) if your act is performed close up, one on one or smaller groups and C) you ask for an individual or group tip at the completion of the act and lastly D) if your act is appropriate and safe to perform in close quarters or large crowds of moving people on public or private property inside or out, day or night, adult or family friendly. Yup. This is a niche that covers a lot of territory, so put your thing down and give this opportunity a run for the money. I’ d love to hear how this info has been transformative to my readers. (and how it has effected your success in gathering loot)

There are definite tricks, hustles, dos and don’ts that are generally practiced by most buskers world wide. In this book I will describe in great detail how to maximize your freedom, income, time and fun while keeping safe and out of trouble in the USA! I hope you find it useful! Here goes!!

Drawing Some Kids Today At a Gig…

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Had a gig in Iowa today. Very busy. Near the end of the day when the line had gone down considerably I finally got to try out my new camera. The audio is messed up but the picture quality is way better than I had hoped for.

Thought for the day: Most people were taught how a line works when they were in kindergarten or earlier. When adults crowd in line it is beyond aggravating, especially when they throw a tantrum and cause a scene when you call them on it. This is nothing short of bullying and I will not tolerate it.

Observations of a young caricature artist…

When I was in grade school I was always drawing pictures of people, houses, pets, race cars, guns, motorcycles, vans, spaceships, dinosaurs, dragons, skulls, super heroes, ninjas,  etc… You name it! Nothing escaped my pencil. I used to carve things out of wood and build models out of paper. I had lots of ideas and inventions I was always drawing, building or writing about something. In class, I often got in trouble for drawing even though the teacher luckily encouraged me by telling me they liked it. It was something I loved to do and even better PEOPLE TOLD ME I WAS GOOD AT IT. In my opinion, people in general, teachers and parents specifically- seriously underestimate the power of positive reinforcement. (as well as the power of negative reinforcement…)

Early on they wanted to put me in LD classes because I had a hard time keeping still and paying attention in class. That lasted for about a week until my mother got wind of it. Luckily she asked them to put me in a regular classroom again. I suppose it was because I was disruptive somehow because of my attention disorder. They said I had a mild chemical imbalance. Knowing what I know now, I figure I could have maybe been slightly autistic or have had mild Asburgers too. I do not think this is uncommon at all. I think a lot of that went undiagnosed, especially back in the 70’s. It is difficult to say even now as it is still difficult to diagnose.

The reason I bring this up is because like many people with autism or asburgers, I was very interested in anomalies I would find in every day life and I saw relationships in things that other’s missed or were simply uninterested in. I was very observant, even as a kid, often to a fault. I wanted to see and touch things that I shouldn’t. My mom used to have to tell me to stop staring at people when I was very little and I often asked very personal questions that put people and my parents on the spot. I was unintentionally inclusive and socially awkward. I didn’t have many close friends growing up in the country in rural Ohio, but I wanted to socialize. It was hard because I grew up where I did and the things I noticed and asked about sometimes made people feel uncomfortable and as a consequence, I was sometimes treated differently or even cruelly. I was very competitive, was super strong and was interested in sports but knew nothing of the rules so I tended to avoid group games because I didn’t know how to play them and I would just seem clumsy, accidentally hurt someone or get in the way of the other kids.

Although squirmy and odd, I was a sweet kid who used to draw flowers and animals for my teachers, got decent grades and was a pretty good student for the most part- right up till the 4th grade. In 4th grade, my ADD or whatever made the teacher so uncomfortable that she put me in a corner and had a refrigerator box put around my desk so that I would not distract the rest of the class. She called it my office. This was a horrible thing to do to a child for many reasons, but at the time I didn’t think it was so bad sometimes. It gave me my own space to think and draw and get lost in my imagination. If I got bored in class I had the opportunity to look out the window or zone out on some project or another on my own and this kept me quiet and content for the most part for the rest of the school year. I had to see a school psychiatrist and I remember it being a very long, sad year for me. The box wasn’t helpful to me socially at all and I lost all interest in trying to be a good student.

I realize that (besides the “office”) most of this seems pretty common. It is. For me at the time it wasn’t of course. This was my perspective at the time. I thought I was different. People of influence encouraged my intellectual abilities, but I learned to keep those talents hidden as they were not helpful socially. This inclusiveness gave me the ability to see things objectively. I was an outsider, an observer. So I learned to enjoy playing quietly by myself and letting my imagination be my best friend, reading picture books to myself, learning about nature, observing and contemplating things in their natural state, noticing forms, textures, anatomy, positive and negative space, tangents, the color of lighting and the tones and shapes that shadows make at different times of the day, where they fall and how colors complimented one another. This further reinforced my relationship with my observational skills, imagination and creative abilities and has had an absolutely positive influence on the creative person I am today. These were the unintentional every day thoughts and influences on me as a young artist. …I think being hired to draw funny pictures of strangers at parties is about the most natural thing I could possibly do for a living!

Copyright Adam Pate, 2013

Howdy…

I’m Adam Pate. Drawing caricatures for tips in bars in college is what first motivated me to draw quickly. It didn’t take long to discover that drawing faster meant I could draw more people and more drawings of course, meant -MORE TIPS! Being a poor, starving artist, I needed money and stuff, so I decided to concentrate on trying to draw as fast as I possibly could. Improved speed meant more practice, which naturally led to better drawings. It meant I had more opportunities to challenge myself, improve my skills as an artist, invent new ways to draw the features of the people sitting for their caricatures and try new things. -and better drawings also meant BIGGER TIPS!- So there you go!! I’ve been constantly, decidedly, motivated to draw as fast and as well as I can for about 20 years. I do this while strolling through rowdy crowds of people in low lighting conditions. The kind of environment that most caricature artists have nightmares about… I am now proud to say that I am widely considered the fastest, friendliest and most versatile caricature artist in the world by my peers in the international caricature community. (Yes, there is one! We even have CONVENTIONS!!) That’s what I do, I’m good at it and for better or for worse, that’s who I am… I tell you this so you have a background to relate to the rest of this post.

They say every single person in the world knows at least 3 things that you’d like to know… This does not occur to most people. To most people I’m just some 40-something-artist-guy, but from time to time it occurs to me that one or two people might actually be interested in what I know and how I know it. In this blog, I will relate some helpful and educational tips for artists who want to improve their speed, skill (and income), some worthwhile news, and some fun and noteworthy war stories from clubs, gigs and other experiences I have had related to caricature art. I realize that the life and interests of the average caricature artist might sound dull to pretty much everybody on earth… But, I’m here to tell you people… – WE HAVE STORIES. Oh yes we do. We are a fun, spontaneous, surly, goofy, hedonistic, intense bunch of hustlers, characters and visionaries and we certainly see life a little differently than most people!

So, my CHALLENGE is to offer you -the reader- the kind of entertaining, educational and engaging content that will make you go “Hmmm”, occasionally cause your thoughts wander off dreamily, and might make you stay up at night insecurely obsessing  about the secret lives of us caricature artists… (and maybe even want to grow up to be one! Mwah ha ha ha!)

I’m hoping this blog will push me to write down and record the stories I have been collecting and telling people over the years and hopefully one day compile them into a book or two or three…