Being a caricature artist really is a pretty interesting gig. I get to meet people from all over the world who travel to Arizona for meetings and conventions. One of my favorite parts about this job isn’t really the drawing, although that is part of the fun. It’s really the interactions I get to have with people as they sit for me to draw them. (I know, weird right?)
It’s fascinating for me to get to learn about other people and find out what makes them tick. I look at it as an opportunity to have conversations with a wide demographic of people about any topic I want to know about, from what line of work they’re in, to what they think about what’s going on around the world. I have learned so much about people over the years and I am so grateful for the wisdom and knowledge people have shared with me.
Keeping it real
There’s no way that every conversation I have with someone is going to be awesome or even remotely interesting. Some people just don’t enjoy talking, and other people are literally freaked out that I’m sitting there studying their face as I’m talking to them. To those people, I say: Remember… you asked for this. (And then I let out an evil laugh)
In this line of work, things can get pretty repetitive so sometimes I try and find ways to keep the conversation interesting by listening to people’s conversation around me as I’m drawing, and then find a way to work that into the conversation. It’s a great way to pull people in and get a whole group of people invested in the drawings I’m doing of their coworkers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been drawing at a corporate event and someone will say something that gives me a small insight into the person I’m drawing. These are like little gems if you can find a way to work them into your drawing somehow. Coworkers love giving each other a hard time and are usually not very shy about revealing each other’s quirks and insecurities. Take it and run with it my friend.
And then other times, it’s a pretty slow event, and the energy just isn’t in the room, and I honestly don’t feel like I have the mental energy to entertain everyone and draw every person’s face while holding a super deep intellectual conversation with them.
Put it on repeat
On nights like this, the conversation usually goes something like:
Me: “Hey there! I’m Jeremy. What’s your name and where are you from?”
Them: “Hi Jeremy, nice to meet you (insert: awkward handshake) Where am I from originally, or where do I live now?”
Me: “Yes. All of the above 🙂 ”
Them: “Well I was born in (_______), then we moved to (______) when I was (___) years old. Then I moved away and went away to college at (______). Now I live in (______). How about you? Where are you from?
Me: “Right here in Arizona all my life.”
Them: “Reeeeeeeeeallllly? Wow. That’s rare. I haven’t met many people who are from Arizona”.
Me: “I like to think I’m one of a kind.” (insert: stupid grin)
Them: “So how did you get into doing caricatures?”
Me: “My dad was a caricature artist so I was always around it growing up”
And that’s pretty much how it goes, over and over and over again…
But every now and then, I get that special person and we just seem to hit it off immediately and it’s really an amazing experience. (And then they’re gone)
Let’s be friends
I like to joke around and say that I’m really good at making friends, for about 5 minutes. But then they’re gone, and usually never to be seen or heard from again. (That’s one reason I like to take pictures of people holding their drawings. It’s fun to see their faces again and remember our conversations.) But the main reason is because I really want to see how badly I sucked at drawing that night, and hopefully I got a good sample or two that I can post on Social Media. (Thanks for the memories!)
I once heard a quote that stuck with me. It said, “It’s more important to be interested than it is to be interesting“. I’ve been thinking about that all day, and I love it.
Go have amazing conversations with people you’ve never met before and try to be genuinely interested in them. Notice how it changes the dynamic of your conversation for the better.
And if I’ve drawn you before (and you remember our conversation) I would love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me by email or leave a nice comment.
(Please see my previous post to read about my glamorous journey as a caricature artist)