These days we are used to buying ready made items. We forget about the joy of getting thinks made by hand just for us. Original artwork is one of the things that comes from the imagination and skill of an artist. We don’t buy it off a rack of hundreds of pieces that all look the same. People have different tastes. Artists have different styles. People look different, so a portrait of a person will look different that a portrait of someone else. A portrait of that person by a different artist will differ from one by another artist. All this helps make life interesting. A caricature of a person has even more chance of variation and interest. This is due to the nature of caricature. A caricature is meant to be an interpretation of the physiognomy of the person. This calls for an artist that knows anatomy, can determine the reality of the face, and make creative variations to create a portrait with spirit. I have heard that there are computer programs that can create a caricature. I don’t think this is a job for a machine; it is job for a person. But the job starts the customer. When they decide to commission a caricature, they have made the first creative decision. Choosing the artist is the second. The other creative decisions are made by the artist as they create the cartoon-style portrait. Elements of the face drawing may be conservative, while others may have some whimsical distortion. This makes sense since a likeness must be maintained, yet a fanciful look may be desired. If the caricature request involves a little body engaged in an activity, the artist will be making lots of decisions; thinks like angle and pose of the figure, color, and background setting.

Don’t think that ordering a custom piece of art is expensive or difficult. It’s easy wit an e-commerce website like Just view samples, and choose how you want the picture. Basic options are head and shoulders, with activity body, black & white or color. Make a few notes to personalize the order; things like name, eye color and activity. You can make any specific suggestions as well. For instance… leave off his moustache, and give him a shirt that says, “Howdy”. Almost anything is possible. This is a custom art experience. You have the chance to provide input. If you buy a clock from Walmart, you can’t specify how you want the face, but you have a say in the face in the caricature. Then you can upload or email a photo for reference. The last step is paying with card or PayPal.

I’m the type of an artist that enjoys putting my talent to work for a particular purpose. Some artists create a painting and hope someone hangs it on a wall. That is a very noble endeavor. I enjoy the challenge of meeting a need and having a subject to portray. I meet this with creativity and skill, and work towards a result that will please the client and the artist.

Custom work has a history, and implies quality. Before the industrial revolution, in the late 1800’s, everything was custom-made. Manufacturing strides made it possible for mass quantities of identical items. Businesses appeared based on reselling items. This didn’t require expertise. On the other hand, I admire craftsmen because they have unique skills and experience. They use their minds and make thinks with their hands. Each item they make is a bit different, but may fall within the same style of the maker. This is true of artists as well as craftsmen. These people are experts in their fields. This is the opposite of some other professions. Take for instance a salesman; he could sell any product or service. Some would call him a generalist. If your business involves custom work, you can be proud.

Clients can benefit from a professional with experience and flexibility. [Example; Mildred Davenpoot has an unusual shaped body; thin here and thick there. Buying clothes off the rack doesn’t always work. Suzanne Nipnip is a tailor. She can create clothes based on an individual’s measurements. That’s where the term ‘tailor to…” comes from. [Examples; Marcus Bootberry bought ready-made kitchen cabinets, and they met his needs. Paul Pickleton had a logistical need for cabinets to wrap around corners. He also had an aesthetic desire for federal style molding with hearts placed in key areas.] A practitioner of custom carpentry was needed.

The bottom line is that custom caricature art makes for a unique gift. A one of a kind picture of someone will make the recipient feel special. They will also appreciate that you thought enough to arrange for such a personal present.