A Thornton man’s designs on a career in cartoons is paying off as his drawings are now in demand.
Artist Chris Knapman has found a niche as a caricaturist after years of struggling to make his art pay.
And with a regular spot at a Leeds nightclub and work at weddings and corporate events, the 51-year-old dad of two said he is being drawn toward working full time doing the humorous drawings.
Chris, who went to Millfield High and studies fine art at Blackpool and the Fylde College, said: “I had drawn a lot of caricatures over the years but they were mainly studio based from photographs. Drawing live was a whole new ball game
“It was a tough learning curve, I had to ditch my natural sketching style for a confident black-line in marker.”
Despite being a graduate with a 2:1 in Illustration, Chris said that having to sketch quickly and capture a likeness in front of a live audience was nerve-racking.
He said: “It was a confidence thing, but I had seen how popular caricature work was at weddings so I put myself out there and did it.
“My artwork give couples a chance to offer their guests a personalised memento of their special day that they can take home as a keepsake, which is proving to be very popular.”
Chris, who has son Ben, 16, and daughter Charlotte, three, with partner Sarah Carrick, works as an interviewer for the Office of National Statistics, as making a living as an artist is not always easy.
He worked with the Prince’s Trust after graduating meeting singer Phil Collins who got him a work placement with graphics firm Icon in London. However, the early 90s recession meant they had to let him go.
Now with advice from Blackpool Council's Get Started team, he has set up his website www.caricaturewithattitude.me and is aiming to grow his business with a range of caricature styles from the quick on the draw cartoons done live to more studied caricatures the likes of which have been commissioned for websites, advertising campaigns and personalised gifts to mark special occasions.
Chris explained: "I was asked to caricature President Trump for the packaging for an American novelty retail company. His hair reminded the company managing director of candy floss and a marketing campaign was built around it which was branded as the 'Cotton Candy Comb-over!' The mind boggles, but it was a fun project to work on."