When you draw people live at parties, certain habits creep into your routine… Ways to keep the subject entertained during that brief two or three minutes they are in your chair and ways to get things to go your way and get that drawing done quickly and effectively. Meaning, you hope to keep that person happy and comfortable during their posing for you, in part because, hey, if THEY relax and enjoy the moment, that helps YOU to relax and enjoy as well. Right? Hey, it works for me and has for a long, long time…
One of the first things you learn is a bit of social engineering — sorry, that sounds manipulative and cold, but really it’s just learning how to have a brief and fun conversation with almost anybody. That’s the trick. ALMOST anyone. You want them to talk to you in order to have them LOOK at you. See?
There are times, too, when it is a small challenge to keep that person interested for even a Two Minute drawing, but that can usually be managed. Young children are likely the hardest, since their social skills are still being learned, and the usual questions wear out pretty quickly: How old are you? What grade are you in now? Are you driving yet?
And the old standby question: Whatcha gonna do what ya Grow Up??
I know. Lame, lame questions, right? But, hey, if I do NOT ask anything the child will get distracted immediately and look everywhere except in my direction. And I need that pose to get the drawing done, ya know?
My point, at last is this — a very fun moment at a recent party. I was drawing an adorable little girl, five years old, very intelligent with beautiful big dark eyes and shoulder-length black hair. Just a little doll, and way way self-assured for her age.
Toward the end of her sketch I asked, “So, what do you want to do when you grow up?”
She looked me right in the eye and answered immediately and with absolute certainty.
“Every job in the whole wide world,” she said calmly.
Everybody laughed, watching the drawing being done.
Not her. She meant it! Great kid, one would conclude, and likely going to make her parents proud for a long time to come.