Let’s face it, I’m not a sketch artist, no disrespect meant to my peers who work on beach sidewalks or Disneyland portraying tourists faces. Artists must stick together. However, I find it interesting when I’m compared to one of these artists. My intention here is to distinguish between the two talents.
Work at Biola’s faces studio is highly controlled; a portrait takes up ten days to complete not a matter of minutes as is common for the aforementioned profession. How could I even execute a portrait out in the elements? I tried it a long time ago and it was an absolute disaster. For one thing, I was afraid of losing my canvas in a sudden gust of wind, talk less of getting a disqualifying crease in it. Then there’s the air, laden with moisture, which would warp my canvas, not to mention the brightness of the sun which reflected off the white surface and blinded me!
My portraits are created with graphite/pencil as opposed to larger charcoal sticks. Consider the head of a pencil, it’s a smaller tool capable of capturing incredible detail. It’s also more permanent compared to charcoal which tends to flake off a surface. My portraits last for generations remaining unchanged.
The biggest difference and the one that disturbs me the most is the way I find myself competing against “sketch artist perception” in potential clients and defending the reason for the price difference. Of course, it’s obvious to me. My portraits take much longer before they are presented to clients (who inevitably end up expressing deep emotion, because of the captured persona they feel). Our friends who sketch, on the other hand, provide a quick service and charge a price reflective of it. Not us.
The next time you bump into a sidewalk artist, stop to mindfully consider the difference.