We believe that our latest success story will put a smile on your face. We asked an award-winning caricaturist with a truly impressive portfolio to tell us more about his business.
A warm welcome to our latest Microbusiness of the Month Cartoons and Caricatures by Luke Warm (www.caricaturesbylukewarm.co.uk)
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
First off, thanks very much for the opportunity to be featured in this blog! I’ve been working professionally as a caricaturist since 1992 – 28 years. I started off in London mostly drawing cartoons and illustrations for national newspapers in the UK and Ireland including the Financial Times, Irish Times, Times Higher Education Supplement and Press Association amongst many others. In 2003 we did an escape to the country and have been based in North Devon since then. The Westcountry is an established wedding destination so my wedding related work – both caricatures drawn in advance of the Wedding day from photos and on the spot entertainment drawn at Receptions – has really picked up since then. I’ve also been lucky enough to win five Best Wedding Entertainment awards which has also helped raise the profile of my work.
Tell us more about what you can do in advance of a wedding
There are several ideas for caricatures drawn in advance of the day from photos.
Perhaps the most obvious use as a present for the bride and groom. These drawings have also often been used on Hen and Stag night T-shirts, Save the Date cards,..
.. Wedding Stationery (including beer and wine labels!) and Wedding Guestbooks (with guests signing on the mount).
Another idea has been group caricature of the wedding party – with numbered and signed copies as thank you presents for the Best Man, Bridesmaids, Ushers etc.
Yet another idea for the really organised wedding planner are place setting caricatures which make unforgettable wedding favours. These are also drawn in advance of the day from photographs with dip pen and brush in black acrylic ink and grey highlighter on postcard size Bristol board. I can include the name of each person but half the ice-breaking entertainment value is in trying work out where to sit. For a further fee I can also arrange to montage all the place settings into one large group (and arrange for copies as mementos) and reproduce them all in a Guest Book.
And this last drawing was for a 1st (Paper) Anniversary present – based on the wedding photos from the year before.
How many wedding guests are you able to draw at a Reception?
I always promote my on the spot drawing as entertainment, rather than drawings/minute, and the drawings are simpler than my studio work and in felt tip. Working on the spot it typically takes me 5-6 minutes to draw each person, so in a booking of 2.5 hours I’d expect to draw 25-30 people, in 3 hours 30-35 and in 4 hours 40-45. When I’m drawing one person are usually 4 or 5 others watching and being entertained and of course the drawings themselves then also circulate creating further buzz. I can work standing or sitting and can bring lights and banners to set up an informal caricature studio area.
When is the best time for you to draw at a wedding?
The time I always recommend as the best is to start immediately after the wedding ceremony – with the first drinks. At this time, as well as the drawings there is the maximum icebreaking effect which helps get the day off to the best possible start. Usually at this time close family and friends tend to be very occupied with photos while other guests may be less involved. At this time I work standing and move quickly round the party drawing people individually on A4 card. By the time the wedding breakfast starts there are usually 15-20 drawings circulating round the party. I usually then continue into the wedding breakfast and often help keep the greeting queue bubbling and cover any initial delay in table service. This is generally the first opportunity I have to draw the bride and groom together at the top table and I bring a small stool for this purpose. I can also keep the children entertained during the speeches.
The second time is later on at the start of the evening entertainment when I can provide a highly original lead into the disco and dancing. At this time I usually start by drawing standing but soon move to a seated caricature area I’ve set up earlier with lights and banners and then draw couples on A3. By this stage in the reception the guests are usually relaxed and happy to come to me to be drawn.
Though it is sometimes requested I never recommend the ‘lull’ between the end of the wedding breakfast and the evening entertainment as in my experience most guests – including smokers, restless kids, older folk – just want a break by then.
What insights about working at weddings could you share with our readers?
It’s always a privilege to be invited to be part of a couples special day. One of the delights of this part of my work is the huge range of people I meet. Over the years I’ve worked at almost every kind of event imaginable – from primary school fairs to Caribbean cruises – but there’s always a happy buzz at a wedding.
What is your top tip for anyone who wants to work in the wedding industry?
Keep communication clear and straightforward, manage expectations realistically and always behave professionally.
Visit www.caricaturesbylukewarm.co.uk to find out more about this business.