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Glencoe is a pretty posh suburb of Chicago.  This was a thirteen-year-old’s birthday party with only 5 friends invited.  The girls were so into the drawings, they laughed uproariously as they watched the drawing come to life on my paper and then when they saw the finished product they just lost it.  I was so swept up in the hilarity that I didn’t even get a picture of the funniest stuff.  Oh, well.  This reaction is what I work for and it was fabulous, as you can see. The younger brother was hovering and did finally get his drawing, but he was not on the girls’ wavelength to get the depth of the in-jokes operating here.

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I’ve done hundreds of summer parties & picnics. Sometimes I’m out in the open wearing a straw hat to keep cool or I’ve clamped an umbrella to my chair to keep the drawing paper from blinding me in direct sun.  Sometimes a big oak tree will provide shade. But the best is being set up in a tent.  There is something about a tent that elevates the mood of the whole gathering.  You might think it creates a ceremonial atmosphere, but just the opposite, it loosens everybody up.

This was an international pharmaceutical company. I have no idea what they specialize in or even where their headquarters are.  We were out, way North, in some clearing in a forest preserve. The tent was expansive, but not so huge as to feel “corporate.”

I loved the feeling in this event. You can tell by the drawings.  I experimented with poses and ways of letting the hair fall over one eye, for example.  You’ll find my favorite drawings in the larger format at the end of the gallery below. ——————

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you, Shanna. You really  got the humor in what I do.

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This is the end-of-summer picnic at a retirement community in Melrose Park, a SW suburb of Chicago.  I’ve done this event for years and have drawn some people several times, like T-Bone and Ron. Repeat performances don’t get boring, not at all. It’s great to be able to greet people by name and to be recognized with a smile.  The jazz ensemble is always excellent.  I love drawing the great age differences from really little to very advanced in years. And of course, the stylish pre-teens!——–

 

Thank  you, Brenda.————————————————

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When I draw at parties I always have my little Canon at my side. It handles well and is unobtrusive. When the drawing is finished I turn it around with my right hand for the “victims” to see. The little Canon is in my left hand. I quickly raise it and click the shutter. This maneuver has to go very fast because that precious reaction lasts only a fraction of a second. What makes it precious is that it is uncontrolled. It is, dare I say, a moment of truth. They throw their heads back, they drop their jaws, they howl. When that split-second of truth is over, they collect themselves and make nice for the camera.  Too late, I gotcha!

Here are some examples of the moment of truth from the Wedding in the Park (previous post).

 

 

 

 

 

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And now up to Dawson’s in Brownsburg for the retirement party of a General Surgeon & Chief Medical Officer at a teaching hospital nearby.  Medical types work very hard at, you know, life-and-death matters.  They need to laugh out loud every now and then. So, naturally, to make that happen the son found me.

The guest of honor’s alma mater was Butler and he’s still a devoted basketball fan. You can find him in the gallery below, dribbling crosscourt.

But I’m leading with some lab people, who came out funniest of the whole bunch, don’t you think?

Thank you, Michael.

  

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Yoshi’s is an elegant Japanese restaurant on Halsted near Belmont.  Friends of Frances gathered there for brunch to celebrate her 90th birthday. I couldn’t tell how old anybody was.  I certainly wouldn’t have guessed Frances was ninety.  I drew twenty of these energetic women in two hours.  That was a leisurely pace, for me, which gave me time to admire the décor, the choice of colors, the paintings on the wall and the lighting.

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Lincolnwood1

Ajun is a physical therapist with a kind, gentle manner that comes through in the Lincolnwood2first few minutes of anyone talking with him.  My job is to draw him funny. How can I do that?  Saying something that is obviously the opposite of what you mean is one way to be funny.  So I drew Ajun as assertive and tough, as in “you talkin’ to me!?”

He cracked up.  Everyone got the joke.

Lincolnwood Place is a retirement/assistant living community.  This was an afternoon party for the staff. I’ve done many staff parties in retirement and nursing homes and I’m always amazed at how energetic and cheerful these people are. I can’t imagine that work being easy.  They Lincolnwood3certainly deserved this afternoon of food, games, music and, ta-tah, my drawings.

Thank you, Lori!

As you can see, some people got into it and let their hair down.

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Lincolnwood4

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This gig came through GigMasters, who encourage clients to give feedback and an evaluation of the artist after the event.  Here’s what the Director of Human Resources wrote:

Katherine Hilden was without a doubt 10 STARS!!! She was the highlight of our employee picnic. She was hired as the character artist & the employees loved her. She is great at what she does, very respectful & talented. Very reasonably priced. We want to hire her for every single employee picnic in the future. Its Monday morning & the staff is still talking about how great Katherine was.

Thanks again, Lori!  I loved this party.

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