I love doing live art events. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from doing live custom watercolor sketches and calligraphy events, it’s that the beauty and the value of the art is capturing the moment right there and then. The smiles, aw’s and ah’s and amazements as guests receive their portraits leaves the artist with a wonderful feeling. The reactions you get are immediate. Doing live art really challenges your artistic muscles to act fast, you make a mistake, you improvise a fix – art doesn’t get any more custom than that.
Live art is great for events like weddings, showers, corporate events like brand activations, client appreciation etc. Not only will your guests get to walk home with a one and party favor but live art is also a live entertainment.
As the beginner I was, the thought of having a lot of people surrounding me, watching me while I work was quite intimidating. So, here are 4 ways to help you prepare for onsite live art events so you can perform at your best:
So, here are 4 ways to help you prepare for onsite live art events so you can perform at your best:
1. Choose your medium
Whether it’s watercolor, brush calligraphy, ink marker art, whatever it may be, choose a single medium to start with and focus on honing your craft is very important. You also want to choose a medium you’d want to work with for a long time and one that you know you can finish a quality piece in a short time frame – like minutes short. Remember for live events, your service is only a few hours, so choosing a medium that is forgiving, that can give you an appealing aesthetic in simple strokes is super helpful in pumping out the most pieces you can in your hours of service.
2. Define your style
It is so important to have your own style in whatever work you do, and that is especially true with art. While it’s great to look at other artists’ work and be inspired by it, it is important to develop a style that is uniquely yours. So, it is important to know when you need to stop browsing online and just simply work “offline” - just you, your pen(s) and paper. Have fun with what you’re working with; find your style and fall in love with it. If you’re just at the start of your style search, it’s okay to look at what others are doing, but once you’ve explored their style, don’t just modify their style but rather take you’ve learned and create your own style. Change it up to make it yours. Remember there is no right or wrong, perfect or imperfect. Aesthetics is very personal. You want your art to attract the right type of clients, not necessarily have clients define your style.
3. Practice with a timer
Once you have a style you absolutely love, it’s time to practice – and I mean a whole of practice. Before you begin, set a purpose and a goal. For example, if I’m doing live watercolor portraits for a wedding, I assumed the majority of the wedding guests will come as a pair – at minimal, therefore I will need to finish a portrait of 2 in the quickest time without sacrificing the quality. I also want to paint as many guests as I can get, so the majority of people can walk home with a portrait. So to practice, I set a goal to finish a portrait of 2 people in 3 minutes. Then I collected photos of dressed-up couples, as if they were attending a wedding, set up my timer to 3 minutes and away I paint. In the early stages, you will most likely end up with unfinished artworks but it’s okay, keep doing it until you can achieve a quality piece in the desired timeframe.
4. Role play
It’s time to break out of your shell and put everything you’ve done above into action. If you’ve never done it before, the thought of people watching you work can be nerve wracking, especially if you’re used to working behind the scenes. To get a taste of what it’s like during the day of your on-site event, you can set up your work table the way it would be and ask some friends or families over to watch you perform. By doing this, you learn to get comfortable working under pressure because trust me, at the actual event, you will have line ups, kids hovering over your table, people trying to talk to you, it can cause quite the scene - in a good way.
I hope these 4 ways help you get started with your live art journey!