Excuse me here, a moment, whilst I toot my own horn...!This month sees 'Yours Truly' celebrate 5 years in business as a self employed professional caricaturist / cartoonist / illustrator (hey, call me what you want!). I launched my services and website to the world back in April 2007. Half a decade later I'm still going strong and busier than ever!
I have of course got a bit more experience under my belt than only 5 years though! I've been drawing things pretty much all my life from the moment I could hold a pencil. Since leaving college in '96 with an HND in illustration, all I knew was that I wanted to draw for a living, but I lacked direction and experience in those days I suppose. In the pre, mass-internet days, I never stopped drawing and sent artwork to tons of places, hoping to catch an editor or publishers eye. I got a million rejection letters, but rejection has always spurred me on to do better. All experiences and people you meet in life; positive and negative, shape you into the person you become, I think.
Undeterred, I carried on with the only thing I knew I wanted to do. A few years later between 2003 - '07 I also caricatured and cartooned with a collaborative group of artists in Glasgow. They will remain nameless on this blog. I had good and bad experiences within the group... I won't go into detail here about my ups and downs (let lying dogs, sleep, I say....), but those who are important and matter, already know my story anyway...
So in 2007, I left the Glasgow group and went solo. It was my 'Year Zero' as far as I was concerned. I wanted to do things my own way. I wanted to offer customers a 'one to one' friendly service....no managers / co-ordinators or any other kind of bawbag middle-men between myself and a client. I wanted to talk to clients directly. I wanted to try and make money with my work without having to pay someone else commission or any other fees which would leave me with peanuts. To try and forge some kind of path that was mine in this game.... So, determined to succeed or fail by my own hands and inspired by the creative, 'do-it-yourself' attitude of Punk, I set up my website as an artist under my own name with Artweb.com that April. I had commissions for 2 gift caricatures in my first week! I couldn't believe it! More commissions and work followed. I worked hard. Word got about and people noticed me, for which I remain eternally grateful.
I've came a long way since then....so what have I achieved in the last 5 years?
Well, I've steadily established myself as one of Scotland's leading live event caricaturists.... (which wasn't exactly hard to do, given the measly amount of decent caricaturists this country has produced. Seriously, there's a couple of good 'uns and sooooo many abysmal ones out there...it's true!). I have drawn and entertained guests at events all over the country and genuinely enjoyed every one of them.
My live event caricatures are very popular. Many end up being framed after the events (I hear that a lot). To date, I have never left any event, at the end of my booking time, without being asked by someone to: "Do just one more caricature?"
Other achievements....I debuted my first solo exhibition of celebrity caricatures in 2010 which was a delight to do and was incredibly well received. Since launching my website, I have built up a strong client base including individuals, companies, councils, banks, education authorities and many more. I have drawn tons of gift caricatures and wedding / party stationery for people with incredibly good humour and taste (I applaud you all!). Some clients have even approached me from overseas and many people have returned to me for commissions and event bookings time and time again. I've received emails from other budding caricaturists, from all over the country, citing my work as an inspiration and asking advice (a massive compliment as far as I'm concerned!). I've produced humorous illustrations for websites, magazines, charities, advertising campaigns and much more. Not bad going for someone once described as "Not a Businessman." (Not that I ever wanted to be one!)
I've even met and drawn a few celebrities along the way who have enjoyed my caricatures of them and have been very supportive of the work I do. I've also started this blog (who knew I'd ever get into blogging??) and future plans involve finally getting around to joining the International Society of Caricature Artists. (I'll keep you posted on how that goes). I love what I do for a living!
On a personal level, I also became a father to 2 beautiful kids (Tommy and Evie) within the last 5 years which in itself has been pretty life-changing as you can imagine! I've got the grey hair now to prove it! All in all, it's been quite a ride so far....a real blast and one hell of a learning experience. Again, not bad going so far for a dope like me!
Anyway, this month my gorgeous missus and me (The Lovely Irene) will be out celebrating my 5 years as a self employed purveyor of fine art with a drink or 3. I'd like to sincerely thank all of you who have commissioned work from me, complimented my work and also those who visited my exhibition in 2010. Also very special thanks to my wife, family and friends who have stuck by and encouraged me over the years. It's true what they say, if you are lucky enough to love what you do for a living, then it doesn't feel like work!
Here's to the next 5 years!
Thanks for reading. Have a great day and be inspired. Do it yourself! Up the revolution! Cheers!
Caricaturist / Cartoonist / Illustrator from Glasgow, Scotland.
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"Edd Travers is fab and I am honoured to be one of his caricatures. he is so talented and has captured me perfectly!"
- Lorraine Kelly. Sunday Post Newspaper. 10th of October 2010.