Blog and Artwork updates of Singapore caricaturist, portrait artist and illustrator - Jit

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All copyright ownership resides with Portrait Workshop.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Caricature live sketching for Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)

A very bad timing event.
If I remembered correctly, it could be the worst I have encountered in my 13 years as a caricaturist for events.

First, the organiser called to make a booking - 1:30pm - 2:30pm and 3:30pm - 4:30pm.
First one at the SCB's branch at Scotts, and the second one at Suntec (new branch).
I stated my conditions - 50% downpayment as confirmation of booking, 50% balance upon completion of the sketching service.
They said they usually pay on credit terms.
I told them that will be another different rate, as I have to spend the time in keeping track of the outstanding payment.

Many problems for such payment on credit terms. When you asked those clients whether they have submitted the invoice after the event, most of them will said yes. When you check on the status, they will say in process of making payment. Usually I won't ask till when the invoice is due for payment, as most of them will give you the impression of - "Don't chase me anymore. My Finance Department is taking over now. Not my business now. My event and job are done!"

Then when the invoice is due for payment, or overdue, you check with them, and they will asked me whether did I submit the invoice? ......Whom do I submitted to? ......... Can you submit again? .......We will process it as soon as possible....... The boss is not in town to sign the cheque..... The accountant is on medical leave........ They have put the cheque on their table. They will check whether they have signed it........ They have posted out the cheque on xx date. You didn't receive? They will check with that person who is in-charge of the posting (Usually such cheque will be lost in the mail. And when I received it, the time stamp on the envelope was don't know how many days later,IE, the cheque was not posted out at all when they said they have posted)....

I get so many such 'reasons' that I rather earn less. Payment upon completion. Job done and I get payment. That's it. I can move on to the other job. One Man Show. How can I do so many things at one time, given that most of my time is needed for drawing.

Ok. Back to this job.
They opted for the former, but told me difficult for them to make a 50% deposit upfront.
Can they give me a letter of confirmation instead? They won't back out, given that they have reputation.
Told them this was the reason given by my clients who back out in the end, no matter what reputations they have. The reasons they gave me was that "sorry, my boss dropped the idea last minute...." etc.
I get such 'reasons' in my past 13 years of sketching, so much so that I only accept confirmation of booking with 50% downpayment upfront. If they refuse to pay, then I have the freedom to choose other clients who can make the downpayment. No downpayment, both parties can back out anytime. I think that's fair enough.
I have stated my conditions. They made the downpayment.
I confirmed the booking with them.

When it is near the event date, they change the timing to 12:40pm - 1pm, 1:30pm - 2pm at Scotts branch. 2:40pm - 3pm, 3:20pm - 4pm at Suntec branch.

I called the organiser, stating that this was not the timing agreed initially when they made a booking. If they split into 10 mins block in between, I have to be there for few hours. And that's not the rate I have quoted.
She said She will check and get back to me .

Till yesterday, she hasn't gotten back to me. I emailed her, stating we will stick to the initial time.

Her reply:-
"Everyone will be leaving by 2pm at Scotts. Can you take the ½ break as per suggested? Eg. 12:30-1:00pm, 1:30-2:00pm.
Would really appreciate if you could help me here.
Alternatively, we can have just 12:30-1pm. And I’ll pay you $100 for that?"

I told her if she can change the timing like that, I can change it too. This was not what was agreed in the first place?!
I have my work scheduled. My customers will be collecting from my shop at 12pm.
How can I reach there in 15 mins' time. The customers won't be at my shop right on the 12pm dot!
She said I am the most difficult vendors to work with.
I told her I have stated my usual conditions right before her booking. I didn't make things difficult for her. If she's not comfortable with the conditions, no point in bending all her rules to engage my service. I don't want a sour working relationship.
In fact, I am quite reluctant to take up the job in the first place, giving that I have to move to 2 places for 1 event. But since she's keen, and made an effort to place a 50% downpayment, I took up the job.

Finally, she sticks to the initial plan.
She's not happy, neither do I. But as a professional artist, I will keep my words and will be there.

At 1:10pm today (raining cats and dogs), I reached Scotts branch carpark entrance, and I received a call from her colleague. She asked me don't come to the Scotts branch. Told her I am at the carpark entrance.
She said she will ask her boss call me later. I drove in, looking for parking lot available. She called again, asked me to sketch for 30 mins here and then move to Suntec branch. Asked her whether is is confirmed? I shall see her, speak to her face to face to confirm. She said ok.
I parked my car. She called again. Asked me to go to Suntec now, no need to sketch at Scotts branch, and sketch for 2 hours at Suntec branch. All of their staff has gone to Suntec branch. Faint!!! I can't believe this.
Told her I will go there now. Please confirm and don't ask me to come when I reach there, and I will sketch for 2 hours there. She said OK.

Reached Suntec and most of the carparks were closed for "National Day Investiture 2007"
Made a big round, and finally found a parking lot in Marina Square. Sigh! Just my luck!

Finally reached. Met the client, asked her whether I will start from 2pm and ends at 4pm. She said yes. Hope all the hiccups ended here.

Saw this magician Derrick whom I have drawn for him and his wife wedding caricatures few years ago. He wanted to do a live sketching caricature, as it was different from sketching from photos. While sketching for him, he was talking to the guests, selling my service (thank you!) and he got a bit distracted.
I have to admit that I can't capture his essence well, because of the distraction.
This usually happened.

The big boss, can tell when most of the staff crowded around him and laughed to his jokes. He was distracted too.
Smiling occasionally. The problems usually started here.
And it will affect the overall outcome.... a lot.

She had her caricature sketched halfway in pencil, and let the big boss go first.
I think I guessed correctly.
(My wife later confirmed with me he was the big boss of SCB.)

Cannot hold her smile, but wanted to have a smiling caricature.
She was not the only one. Most of the guests I have sketched in all events are like that.
Luckily she had some unique features and I captured them in time when she smiled.

He said he loved his caricature. Thank you.

She has unique features, and requested to hold a gun in her caricature. I gave her 2 guns.
Asked me to draw her pretty, or else she will tell my wife (She knows her). Hahaha.... Turned out good also. I am satisfied with the outcome.
By the way, my wife worked in SCB also. Luckily the organiser doesn't know her. Anyway, I didn't make a fuss out of no reason. So, I don't care, and not afraid the organiser will hold it against her.
As a professional artist, I won't let that bad timing incident to affect my drawing. I am happily sketching these guests, putting that incident behind.

A smiley guy.

Tony. My wife knows him. Just a pity that I didn't capture his round face. He was distracted too.

I like to sketch his features. Gave him a full body, holding an umbrella which he brought along with.

Think this one was one of the best caricatures in this event.
Fast, close resemblance, and satisfied.

This one too.

My wife came home, said that her boss told her that everyone is talking about me. Luckily not about that bad timing incident, but on the popularity. As usual, within a limited time, there will always be people not getting their chance to be sketched. There's a limit on the number of people I can sketch in an hour too. I go for quality and not quantity. Even in terms of speed, I am at the average speed of the caricaturists in Singapore.

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