This morning I had a quick conversation about live sketching events with a fellow illustrator through Instagram, so I thought perhaps other illustrators will have similar questions about how it all works.
As a disclaimer, I’m not going to discuss pricing here because it likely varies from city to city and depends on the client budget as well. If you’d like to know about my going rate please send me an email and I’ll gladly discuss it with you.
Live sketching is increasing in popularity around cities all over the world because it’s a fun and unique addition to events, gatherings, weddings and more. Sometimes people compare live sketches to caricatures, but I don’t personally like that term very much because it refers to big headed portraits (which are super cool but that’s not what I do). It seems to be really popular with fashion illustrators specifically to be invited to sketch at local events. Although live sketching is not the main focus of my business, it has been a great income stream for me and a great way to meet new people and make new connections.
When I get asked to sketch at an event, I usually offer the client to have digital sketches or on paper either with watercolour or black and white (my signature) with markers. Every illustrator has their own sketching style for events, since they’re quick 5-minute drawings it tends to bring out the illustrator’s style much more because there’s no room for overthinking.
It doesn’t stop there, however. Sometimes brands and companies will hire us to draw on perfume bottles with special markers, I’ve even hand painted purses for an event with Neutrogena (super fun by the way!).
Recently, thanks to the suggestion by Stephanie Anne (another local fashion illustrator who is moving to Brazil!) I also purchased a Canon Selphy printer which allows us to print the digital illustrations on photo paper so the guests have a physical copy to take home, as well as a digital copy for social media if they would like one. If you choose this route, make sure you charge for the cost of paper and ink on top of your hourly rate.
I typically suggest digital illustrations for corporate-type events, or marketing events because it allows us to more easily create a template to work from which can incorporate logos, hashtags and other imagery that represents a brand. When it comes to weddings, I’ve noticed that digital illustrations have picked up a bit, but typically people prefer to have illustrations done on paper. I like to offer them the option of having their names and the date printed on the sheets so people can frame them afterwards. The only downside of traditional sketches for weddings is that the couple can’t get a copy of all the drawings afterwards.
When it comes to being at the event, if it is a large event and you are worried about a lineup, you can ask the company or organizer to find a staff member to help you manage the line. I think it’s best to avoid trying to take photos of people who don’t want to stand around and wait, but sometimes that is a time-saving option. Just make sure you show them that you’ve deleted the photo after.
In all, live sketching events are a great way for illustrators to make some bonus cash quickly and provide great entertainment to any type of event.
If you have any further questions please comment below or contact me here.