Charlie's Cartoons   bespoke cartoons - modern gifts with a humorous twist  

August 28, 2011

Caricatures As Graduation Gifts

Graduations are a time to show how proud you are of your children, friends, relatives, or anyone else who has recently finished, or is about to finish, university. If you’re hoping to give someone a unique graduation gift, why not consider caricatures?

Custom caricatures are a fun way of giving a unique gift that anyone will love. Whatever the age or personality of the recipient, the occasion of a university graduation deserves to be recognized with a gift. And a unique, fun gift is always better.

Why not send us some photos of the recipient so that we can draw a cartoon caricature that can be framed and hung in a place of honour. All you need to do is contact us by clicking on Order Your Cartoon. Just fill in the information fields, tell us something about the subject of the photos, and we can get started generating some ideas.

Once we have some ideas based on what you’ve told us, and on the photos you’ve sent, we’ll let you know what we have in mind. Caricatures from photos can be based both on what the person looks like as well as their personalities, hobbies, interests, etc.

After you have approved our ideas, we’ll get started on your drawing. It can take anywhere from three days (in an emergency) to three weeks to complete your drawing, depending on how busy we are. But we’re sure you’ll love the finished result.

Why not browse our portfolio of finished caricatures to get some ideas for your graduation gift?

August 23, 2011

Choosing Wedding anniversary gifts

What objects make good wedding anniversary gifts? Sort of depends whether it’s a big one or a small one … but then, is there such a  thing as a small anniversary nowadays? Time was when a couple would get married in their early twenties and then would wait a good fifty years or so for their “golden wedding” – depending on whether or not they both lived that long.

Today, there seems to be a material for every anniversary on the life-long calendar: silver wedding anniversary gifts, pearl wedding anniversary gifts, wood wedding, paper wedding, bacon wedding – hang on, I may be making them up now. But my point stands: people are celebrating anniversaries more often. Probably because relationships are lasting less long.

Though this seems blindingly obvious, it’s impossible not to notice the underlying cynicism of such a proposition: it’s as though we now go into relationships thinking: Hey, this probably isn’t going to last that long – better squeeze in as many anniversaries as we can!

Still, this is NOT the line with which we approach most of our customers at Charlie’s Cartoons… If I was to point out my ideological and practical doubts about the institution of marriage to every customer who breezed my way I probably wouldn’t be selling that many wedding anniversary gifts now would I!

The fact is, wedding anniversary gifts do bring pleasure. Just as the event itself does – whether there was a gift or not. These are opportunities to stop and look back. Stop looking at now, and at the immediate future, and turn briefly to the past to weigh up the richness of experiences accumulated together.

August 21, 2011

Make Someone Smile This Christmas

Do you love making people laugh? Maybe you’re the one who always gives novelty gifts and funny presents? If so, you’re probably a kid at heart. And most likely people love the gifts you give because they’re fun and unusual. So, why not make the people you care about smile this Christmas with personalised caricature gifts?

A fun way to order your cartoon caricature gifts is to send us some photos of family or friends in their favourite holiday outfits. Perhaps you have photos of siblings or cousins playing in the snow? Or maybe you want a family portrait by the Christmas tree? We can do personalised caricatures from any photo you want to send us.

Caricature cartoons can feature one person, or more than one person. We do group custom caricatures too, so feel free to send any photos, even if they feature multiple people. You can use the contact form (under Order Your Cartoon) to send us as many as four different photos for us to use.

All you need to do is tell us a little bit about the people you want in the drawings so that we can make your caricature gifts fit the personalities and styles of the people you are giving them to.

If you need more help deciding what you want, or you still aren’t sure how things work, please feel free to get in touch with us about our caricature cartoons. We’d love to help you create gifts that will make someone laugh this Christmas.

August 17, 2011

Anniversary gifts

Filed under: caricatures — Tags: , , — Charlie Anson @ 3:01 pm

Customers are always coming up to me a few days before a key anniversary asking for urgent anniversary gifts! Sometimes as close as two days away from the actual event, you get them on the phone, desperate for an original, personal solution, hoping that we have room in the schedule to fit in an emergency commission. And usually, of course, we say yes.

Naturally anniversary gifts are high-stake projects… they’re joyous occasions to celebrate, but equally the slightest faux-pas in representing the two protagonists of the cartoon can lead to a diplomatic disaster. Taking the mickey out of a partner’s habit or tick in a cartoon can be interpreted as affectionate knowledge or as insensitive lampooning. It’s always a fine line with anniversary gifts.

So how do we navigate these difficult waters in so little time? Well, the answer is communication. Constant contact with the customer to discuss the composition, adjust details, run drafts by them etc. We feel what the customer wants to say and develop their vision, but they still have to fine tune these anniversary gifts. After all, they know the subject, and all we have is an email and some photos!

Then it’s all about getting the anniversary gifts there on time! Usually, a date is planned months in advance, the restaurant table is booked, and all that’s left is for the anniversary gifts to be slotted in for the final picture to be perfect. Often we work around the clock and over weekends so that the anniversary gifts are ready and arrive, paint and ink still drying under the mount and glass, to be presented to a glowing partner!

August 16, 2011

Wedding Anniversary Gifts

Filed under: Wedding Caricatures — Tags: , , — Charlie Anson @ 3:15 pm

The funny thing about wedding anniversary gifts is the different shapes and sizes the various candidates come in. Well – not literally – I wouldn’t want to take the mickey out of my customers for their various shapes and sizes… Rather, by this I mean the size of the occasion, the length of the marriage, the intention behind the wedding anniversary gifts themselves.

Sometimes you get the “green” ones – young wives wanting to give their husband of one year their “paper” wedding gifts, now that the storm of the first year of house building and baby making has been weathered with success! Usually, the highlight to reflect back on at that stage is the wedding itself, so we frequently get the wedding photos for this type of wedding anniversary gifts, and are asked to recreate the big day in “cartoon” style.

Then you get the ten-year-anniversary (whatever that one’s called – is it bronze already?), usually depicted as idyllic family scenes, eight to six year olds running around, climbing over the parents now fully integrated into the routine and habits of family life. These wedding anniversary gifts depict the in-jokes and rituals built around life with a new brood: favourite garden hobbies, cartoon characters, the garden trampoline – all of these feature in a rush of colourful chaos.

Then you get the oldies – sorry to put it bluntly my grey haired friends, but that’s you label. Thirty year, fourty, even fifty year wedding anniversary gifts are commissioned from us which show the two partners settled and satisfied, the kids having flown the nest and taken on lives of their own. Activities here are usually of the cooking and gardening variety, with the young upwardly mobile professional kids lending the wedding anniversary gifts their more dynamic side.

August 15, 2011

Family Caricatures For A Going Away Gift

Filed under: family caricatures — Tags: , , , — Charlie Anson @ 10:11 am

Do you know someone who is moving away? Perhaps someone you know is emigrating or is going to serve in the Army. Or maybe a friend or relative is going away to college. Why not send them off with funny family caricatures as a going away gift?

Caricature portraits are a great keepsake, and a wonderful way for someone to remember his or her loved ones back home. Choose some funny family photos or even some more formal shots to create great cartoons and caricatures that your loved one will treasure all the time they are away from home.

If you need ideas, why not send us a few different photos and ask us for some input? Or, browse our portfolio to see some of the caricature cartoons we’ve done for people in the past. Our professional, high quality drawings will be sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

And because we base our caricature on photos that you provide, you’ll never see another piece of art like it. Your gift will be truly unique, and something to be treasured.

When you’re ready to order, just click the “Order Your Cartoon” tab on the top right hand site of the web site. Then all you need to do is give us a few ideas for the caricatures you want, fill in the contact information, and attach up to four personal photos for us to review.

Why not get started today on the perfect gift to bring a smile to the face of someone you love?

August 14, 2011

Choosing Anniversary gifts

Filed under: caricature gifts — Tags: , , , — Charlie Anson @ 12:57 pm

The point I made about anniversaries being about looking back in order to contemplate the value created by being together – through experiences, kids, the lot – brings me to my next point: if looking back is what these occasions are for, why not get anniversary gifts which precisely serve this purpose?

Rather than being the expensive cherries on the cake, booze and three course meal, your anniversary gifts could be retrospective summaries of a relationship. This is what Charlie’s Cartoons are.

So what else might you get as anniversary gifts? A pet, perhaps? Hmm, tough to make that one a surprise… Such an important anniversary gifts decision is bound to be preceded by long chats about what animals you like, how much time you can both commit, what you’re allergic to and so on. It would be a pretty gutsy move to turn up with a puppy in a box.

But then most anniversary gifts: a tie, a watch, etc  etc, are so bland that you almost feel that you have to “spend your way out of the problem” – i.e. if I spend £300 on my anniversary gifts, then they’re bound to be appreciated. It’s a simple case of economics: cost to me, benefit to you.

Might seem a bit cynical, but if we’re honest, most anniversary gifts are viewed in the perspective of some sort of transaction. This is an event where presents will be given both ways. Unlike birthdays where it’s about an individual, or Christmas where it’s about a group, this is about a two-person exchange.

Differences in how much each person invests in their anniversary gifts will be glaringly obvious. The only thing that can blur the edges of this cynical perspective is getting personal with your anniversary gifts. Making them personalised.

August 10, 2011

Cartoon Caricatures As Anniversary Gifts

Filed under: caricature gifts — Tags: , , — Charlie Anson @ 10:10 am

Are you looking for a great anniversary gift? Whether the couple you have in mind has been married five years or fifty, wedding caricatures make the perfect gift for celebrating their anniversary.

Caricatures make a great gift for a wedding anniversary because they  bring back memories of the couple’s special day, and will probably even make them laugh. Cartoon caricatures are also a great gift because it’s more than likely that no one else will give them the same thing.

Look through some of their wedding photos to get ideas. Who are the key “characters” who should be included in the drawing? Friends? Children? Group caricatures are just as much fun as a cartoon of the bridal couple alone.

Wedding caricatures can include anyone you want from the flower girl and bridesmaids to the parents of the bride. Just be sure to indicate who you want in the drawing when you send us your photos and ideas.

Once you’ve decided on some photos, send them to us along with some thoughts and memories about the couple. You may want to include things like: how long they have been married, their wedding colours and theme, their hobbies and occupations, where they spent their honeymoon, etc.

When we’ve put your ideas together with our own, we’ll let you know what we have in mind. If you like what we describe, then we’ll get started creating the caricature from photos and the other info you’ve given us. And you’ll be well on your way to the perfect anniversary gift, and certainly one that won’t soon be forgotten. Who knows—it might even become a treasured family heirloom some day.

August 9, 2011

Leaving gifts

Filed under: caricature gifts — Tags: , , — Charlie Anson @ 3:13 pm

When someone leaves the office to move on to another job, or to retire, it’s always the same headache: What leaving gifts would be most appropriate for such an occasion? Generic ideas such as a tie, a watch or a voucher for a spa weekend are easy to purchase, but lack the personal feel.

So you’re faced with the question: How could I look into more personal ideas for leaving gifts, without taking too much time out of my busy working week. Of course, ideally, most of us would like to hand over a photo album compiling memories of all the best moments spent together in all those years together at the office.

But let’s be honest: are you really going to spend five hours of your precious weekend hours doing an arts and crafts session, when reports need to be finished, the garden table needs fixing and the mother in law needs a visit? Leaving gifts don’t usually figure highly on the priority list.

Yet without great leaving gifts, once a chapter of your professional life has passed, what is left to commemorate and celebrate the environment that took up 80% of your time over all those years?

It’s worth making leaving gifts personal. But it’s also key that those personal leaving gifts shouldn’t eat up all of your time. The solution? Outsource the creativity! Hand over the personal knowledge and information to a company that can turn it all into the most personal of leaving gifts! Charlie’s Cartoons is such a place: personal, yet efficient. The process won’t take up much of your time, but it will look like you’ve spent an age!

August 5, 2011

Choosing Leaving gifts

Filed under: Leaving gifts — Tags: , , , , — Charlie Anson @ 12:50 pm

When I last surveyed my customers to find out how much they’d be happy to spend on leaving gifts for colleagues – provided those colleagues were very, very important and appreciated and liked, mind – the answer came in at around £5 to £10 per person. Oops, I thought. I’ve set out to create leaving gifts with an average retail price of around £120, and aimed them squarely at the corporate market I’m now surveying, and turns out I’m ten times too expensive. Time to close up shop.

Thankfully, another logic prevailed: Team logic. We’ve worked as a team, so we’ll buy as a team. Indeed, in most companies, leaving gifts are bought together, by a group for an individual. So people chip in. £5 or £10 usually. Make that twelve people, and you’ve got yourself a Charlie’s Cartoon!

After being reassured by this, another point came to light which actually appeared to be to my advantage. For £5 or £10 a head, our customers are getting a pretty big bang for their buck. Along with their fiver, everyone in the office can chip in an opinion or an anecdote which makes the leaving gifts that much more personalised, and then see the fruit of their contribution later on when they see the finished caricature cartoons.

Plus everyone can have a copy of these leaving gifts. If you’re not the person the cartoon was made for you’re not likely to put a copy of it up on your wall, but it’ll usually find its way to the bottom of a drawer or folder to be found years later. And when you do find these leaving gifts again, they bring back even more memories than a photo. Remember when so and so did this, then that happened? It’s all in these leaving gifts. Charlie’s Cartoons sum those years right up.

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