tell me more about Times Square artists

I mean the guys who make those really cool and a bit of caricaturish sketches of people on Times Square. So I have questions like:

  • how much does a typical sketch cost and how long does it take, and hence what is their hourly salary

  • how do they rate in terms of the level of expertise within the larger artist community? In other words, can any random, competent art school grad do this job well after a week of practice? Or should they be recognized as high profile experts that few can aspire to become?

  • in terms of required expertise, is their job harder, easier or equivalent to the regular drawing of portraits of people?

I havent seen the ones in times square, but I’m assuming that you mean the kind of craicature artist that you see in markets, plazas, fairs, etc.

Like this, right?

Usually around 20 dollars or so, maybe 30. It takes no more than 15 minutes.
People being drawn don’t want to sit for long periods of time.

Hourly salary is hard to determine and is based on demand, skill, etc.

They can go for long periods of time without any one sitting down for a portrait.

Theyre not good. Caricature artist are basically formulaic cartoonists. They have a basic repository of how to translate common features like lips of various shapes, chins, eyes into line drawings. However, they only do people from the front.

As actual artists and illustrators, they’re about as highly regarded as hot dog sellers are to the professional culinary community.

The random art school grad has more than enough skill to do this. You don’t need to go to art school to do this. In art school you see these ads for caricature artists occasionally so students can make some side cash with little time commitment. It’s typically not regarded as a serious career.

Much much easier.

The point of caricature art is the exaggerate and flanderize features of the subject. Portrait art that goes for accurate likeness is much more difficult.


I can tell you one thing: they won’t get the fuck out of my way.

Okay, but seriously, I don’t think they’re very expensive. Maybe $10-20, and sometimes you can talk them down if you’re good at that sort of thing. And they’re very fast, maybe 10-15 minutes. Most of them seem to be Asian females; I have no idea why. I have no idea about their level of expertise, but most of them seem to be old (like, verging on elderly), so I assume they know what they’re doing. Also, for a relatively low amount of money (in New York) I guess it’s a pretty cool thing to take home with you.