How I approach working is I choose my career path according to the lifestyle I want to live first, and the money I want to acquire second. This is radically different from how I approached my 20’s where I kept doing jobs where I could earn good money but rarely were any of those jobs fulfilling. Truthfully, most of them sucked.
When I started working in comics again after my daughter was born, most of my friends thought it was because I loved comics. They are partially right, I do love comics, but the joy of comics or my love for Marvel Comics is not why I went back. I went back because I wanted to work from home again and be around my daughter. And of course, the schedule and pay wasn’t bad either.
I estimated I earned about $30 an hour as a comic book colorist. Sometimes you can earn more but $30 an hour was my average.
In 2010 when I started drawing live caricatures, I was doing retail caricature (charging per face). A mediocre location combined with the fact that I had no idea what I was doing, I was earning about $15 an hour. The magic of caricature didn’t really hit me until I started doing live caricature at parties.
When I started live caricature, my rate was $75 per hour. Once I felt competent and was able to draw faster, I raised my rate to $100 per hour. With a little time, experience, and new marketing, my rate went to $150 per hour. Last year I started doing live digital caricatures and my rate is $200 per hour.
So in six years I went from earning $30 an hour as a full time comic book colorist to earning as much as $200 per hour for live digital caricature. Most of my caricature gigs are non-digital but trust me when I say, I’ll gladly settle for $150 per hour to draw on paper.
Have you ever thought about live caricature as an income source? The pay as you can see, can be very good. On the creative side, my art skills have grown like crazy. By doing live caricatures I’m able to capture facial likenesses with more accuracy, I draw faster, my anatomy and perspective has improved, and my design skills have heightened. I think every commercial artist should caricature live for a few months just to help your other art skills grow.
Soon I’m going to be offering my Kickass system to grow a caricature business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran of live caricature or if you’re a newbie. I’ll show you the system I used to go from a full time comic book artist who did caricature on the side to a full time caricature artist that now does comics on the side.
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