November 24, 2011
Photographs are by far the easiest and most common way of preserving a special memory so it can be treasured forever and also shared with friends. Despite the fact that digital cameras are now carried by anyone who uses a smartphone, sometimes the best and funniest moments are impossible to capture on film. They might be unexpected and gone in an instant, like the sighting of golden eagle on a mountain walk, or happen in places where photography is tricky – in the water or at a concert, for example.
While we usually create caricatures from photo sources, there is a lot more to a great cartoon than just reproducing a single image. We can bring in elements from multiple photos or (with a little help from you) draw something that perfectly represents that wonderful moment you didn’t quite manage to capture on film. It might be your loved one catching a perfect wave on the local surf beach or a holiday sunset that the photos just didn’t do justice to – whatever memories you want preserved, we can help.
A caricature cartoon can reflect a single moment in time or it can sum up a year or a decade. It’s hard to find a single photograph that captures all the ups and downs of an entire career, for example, but pen and ink can do a superb job. By building a caricature from photo sources and from descriptions and discussions, we can make sure you get something that brings to mind all those precious moments every time you see it.
November 14, 2011
All too often, portrait photography looks staged and awkward. Kids can be particularly tricky to capture properly because they’re not usually big fans of wearing their Sunday best, sitting still, and following precise directions for a prolonged period of time. They’d much prefer to be depicted doing fun things, like baking a chocolate cake or playing football in the park. The best pictures of individuals are always taken when they’re concentrating on doing what they love.
Most families have a range of hobbies and getting everyone and their favourite things into a single frame is a pretty difficult task. Unless you come to us, of course. Caricatures from photos can be created from just a couple of images or a group of different and diverse photographs. If you want just one picture that shows all your loved ones at their very best it’s a great option.
Cartoon caricatures can show every member of the family as an individual, yet make sure they’re all together as a unit too. They provide a wonderful way of celebrating every person’s quirks, strengths, and personal joys, but also showing that the whole group is loving and cohesive despite those differences.
If you struggle to find a photograph that really shows each and every person in your family happy and laughing, consider letting Charlie draw you a caricature from a photo or a handful of photos. We’ll work with you to come up with a design that you’ll all love, and one that will show friends and visitors exactly what your fantastic family is really like.
November 9, 2011
Most of our caricatures from photo collections end up as treasured possessions, decorating a home or an office, but some are intended for other purposes. Like many excellent artists in this area Charlie does provide cartoons for newspapers – after all, most of the history of caricature as an art form does revolve around the printing press. But that’s not all.
More recently, caricatures have moved from print media to the web. There are many reasons a person or a company might choose to illustrate their website with cartoons rather than photos. First and foremost, it makes the site stand out from the competition (something that is never easy to do) and helps people remember it. There might be hundreds of well-designed websites all offering the same thing but very few will have funny, personalised, and eye-catching cartoons.
We can create caricatures from photos of your employees, photos of your wares, or even of your building or office. They can be used on business cards, on the staff pages of your website, and on internal documents and reports. Presentations with personal, specially created cartoon graphics really have what it takes to get people’s attention and hold it.
If you’d like to see some of Charlie’s work being used on the web, take a look at the portfolio pages. A selection of works is listed there, with links to real web pages used by real businesses. You never know, there might be some ideas in there that will help you spice up your corporate image!
November 1, 2011
A caricature cartoon can be so many different things. Each one captures something different and makes a unique statement- and that can be anything you want it to be. Here are just a few ways people have used Charlie’s art:
1. Wedding anniversary gifts. We can make a single caricature from photos taken over the course of a whole year, recording and celebrating all the great things that have happened to a couple.
2. Retirement presents. What better way to applaud years of service than with an affectionate, cheerful cartoon? A photo of a person sitting at a desk can’t show just how much they meant to the company but a hand-drawn, lovingly crafted picture can.
3. Business cards. If you want people to be interested in your business cards they need to be different. With a personalised image drawn by Charlie your card can be engaging and memorable.
4. Corporate art. Offices don’t have to be boring and nor do business websites. Charlie works with companies that want to promote a friendly, helpful image and a reputation for thinking outside the box.
5. Welcoming family portraits. Caricatures from photos are great for adding a touch of warmth to a home. Visitors seeing an image of a happy, friendly family will be put at their ease and friends will be delighted and amused.
6. Stag gifts. A cartoon can be the perfect way to commemorate the end of bachelorhood. A group portrait of all the groom’s friends will make sure they’re not forgotten as he settles into marital bliss.
October 22, 2011
So what have been the highlights of the business so far? We’ve been making cartoon caricatures at Charlie’s Cartoons now for almost two years, and it’s true that the day to day process is pretty exhausting. Some of it is exciting and creative, some of it repetitive, like in any industry. But I suppose the main thing that lets us have fun is the fact that we have to be immersed, very quickly, into other people’s lives. Good cartoon caricatures require intimate knowledge of people .
One definite highlight has to be when the secretary to Francis Baron, the former chairman of the Rugby Football Union, invited me to Twickenham to discuss producing a caricature of the England team, and of Francis himself. Now most cartoon caricatures require us to enjoy getting acquainted with people from photos and emails. For this caricature, I was actually invited to come and see the England versus Barbarians match, just to get a feel of the stadium! Anyway, I hope the feel was conveyed in the cartoon… because it was one of the best cartoon caricatures I’ve had the pleasure of doing, and one of the most immersive creative processes I’ve ever enjoyed.
Once the match was over, it was time to knuckle down and get to work. The problem was: I do most of my cartoon caricatures with watercolour on paper… and this one had to be done with oil paint on canvas! Added to which, the only oil paint I had were the primary colours: red, yellow, blue. Oh, and some green thrown in too. Not the easiest cartoon caricatures experience – but we got there in the end.
October 20, 2011
This is a little known phenomenon, but predominantly, anniversaries come up in the winter months. Maybe it’s the Christmas spirit, or maybe it’s the feeling of a new start at the New Year, but whatever it is, make sure you have got your spouse the perfect gift! Anniversary gifts can be high end, and often expensive. But when you think about it, what says ‘I love you’ more, some expensive piece of welded metal, or a hilarious, personal cartoon caricature?!
Well obviously here at Charlie’s Cartoons, we believe it is our drawings. As all of our drawings are done by photographs, you can be sure to fully capture the traits of your spouse. You can decide to personalise your cartoon caricature any which way you want. Whether you are more of a romantic soul, and looking for a caricature from photos with a meaningful sentiment to it, or more of a joker, we have the perfect solutions for you.
We really can tailor your caricature from a photo however you want it. We can incorporate iconic places, or even your pets! The process for this could also not be made simpler. All you need to do is contact our professional team, and send a few photographs through. Once we are happy with the photographs, you get to specify exactly what you want the cartoon caricature to look like – what you want included, and what you don’t want included. With different sizes available, we are sure to fully customise your cartoon caricature however you want it.
Kids’ caricatures are pretty tricky to make… Parents have a very subjective view of what makes their little boy or girl unique, and they are also very protective of the particular aspects, features, etc which make the child recognisable. On the other hand, children often don’t have that many obvious distinctive features out of which caricatures can be made. With their angelic little faces, what is there to exaggerate?
The answer is not to exaggerate anything, apart from emphasising that cute, big-eyed and big-forehead character that has been a staple for infant and child representation in painting and cartooning. But you can’t go generic when you draw caricatures. You can’t afford to just churn out a carbon copy little cherub every time someone wants a cartoon of their baby.
It’s a very delicate operation: First, to make the caricatures specific enough, context is key. Do they have a favourite place, a favourite toy, favourite clothes? Anything that is instantly recognisable to the customer, and to the child herself! Then, you have to identify the most infinitesimal defining features and render them ever so subtly, so as not to upset that cheruby look that parents will be looking for in their caricature.
A couple of times, admittedly, we haven’t got our kids caricatures right the very first time. Parents have come back to us with details we hadn’t even spotted, or to say that the draft is simply too generic, it’s too safe… Fortunately, that’s what our draft check phase is for. To make sure our customers always get the caricatures they want, whether they’re of kids or grown-ups.
October 17, 2011
How do we make sure we get our caricatures from photos absolutely spot-on? Well, my view used to be that the subjective buck has to stop somewhere, and that I should simply have the final call on how the cartoonists arrive at their successful draft. I used to check the drafts of our caricatures from photos on my own, and not run them past the customer, trusting that my instinct was always right. Well guess what, I was wrong!
Sure, in most cases the caricatures from photos that were of good enough quality, if faithful to the original image and mixed together with enough entertaining fantasy on the part of the artist, would go down very well. And I would always let out a long “phiewph” at every happy response email that would come my way concerning the completed caricatures from photos.
But every so often we would get a bad surprise. “That’s not at all him!” the odd customer would say after seeing the final product. The truth was that my desire to make these caricatures from photos into wonderful surprises that customers could discover all in one go had outweighed practical reality. My vision and the vision of my associate cartoonists might be good. It might be artistic. But it might not be right. And after all, context and composition is all very well, but likeness is the single most important thing for caricatures from photos.
So since January 2011, we have run drafts of all our caricatures from photos past our customers before proceeding to the ink and paint stage. And the result? Nobody ever gets disappointed… and the surprise is still just as great!
October 15, 2011
Many cartoon caricature artists work simply with one picture in mind, and will drawn the same figure in the same context. However, here at Charlie’s Cartoons, we only draw our subject exactly how our customer wants them. So, whether your chosen subject likes football or shopping, there is always something for you. We offer many different styles of caricatures from photos as well, ranging from graduation gifts, to anniversary gifts, to more humorous and funny gifts.
Our range of caricatures is available to view on our website. We can tailor any cartoon caricature to however you want it. So, whether you are looking for your brother, for your father, or for a friend, we really can help you in every way. Most of our caricatures also have a humorous side to them, and they can also tell tales of a person’s life and past experience. We can incorporate any past experience into your caricature, and the more suggestions you give us, the more we get to play with.
The process for a caricature from photos is made simple by our experts. All you need to do is firstly contact us, just to gain further information on exactly what we can offer. The next step is generally sending a few photographs of your chosen subject to us. Now, these photographs are best when taken as a portrait, and possibly from different angles. Normally 2 or 3 photos will suffice. Once we have received these, as they say, the rest is history!
October 12, 2011
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More and more companies are turning to people like us for cartoon caricatures to use as their website mugshots, rather than photos. Maybe it’s because they think we’re more flattering, maybe it’s because photographers cost so much? (Well I know we’re not exactly cheap – but £300 for a headshot? Come on!) Maybe it’s just that cartoon caricatures can convey that dynamic glint in the eye that companies want to convey… And also, when you’ve had that swanky website designed to make your company look like the hottest on the block, cartoon caricatures can be the final touch that just makes you look like you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Then there are the style choices: Do you want your cartoon caricatures to be heads only, head and shoulders only, or full body? Full body cartoon caricatures are my favourite: they enable for an element of personality to be worked in: sportiness, geekiness, any personality facet – or else the caricature can convey a hobby, a particular profession, anything.
And then, what’s great for us is that companies require continuity… So to preserve the consistent style of the website, whenever people are fired or hired, cartoon caricatures are removed and replaced. Might seem like a harsh and slightly mercenary way to look at things, but it’s a great stream of caricature business for us!
We can also be a very cheap option for businesses. As a start up, we need to get our cartoon caricatures out there into the public eye, so I’m more than ready to strike deals: cheaper cartoon caricatures in exchange for references and clickable links on the page. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours!