Here's a recent stack of cartoon drawings I've made for fans and friends. Believe me, it's only a small sample because there are many more. It would appear when one's profile is high enough, requests like these are sure to follow. I've received requests for sketches from all over the world. And, while it's flattering to be the object of such attention it can also have a downside. Because an individual's request for a sketch seems like such a small thing, they tend to forget there are many others asking the same favor. Before you know it, the requests begin to pile up, and if not properly managed, they can be easily lost. Of course, these things happen inadvertently, but they can sometimes lead to hurt feelings.
Many professional cartoonists refuse to do drawings for fans. Unless it's a paid commission it's really not worth the trouble. Number one, it means setting aside regular work to fulfill a request and if the work isn't completed in a timely manner, that can be a problem. Of course, your art can also be used to raise money for a worthwhile cause. In such cases, I usually try to accommodate, but one can only do so much.
I've spoken with colleagues about this rather wacky attitude friends and fans seem to have. I think it's because most people fail to regard what artists do as real work. Creating art often appears effortless and it isn't taken seriously. While one would never request their doctor give a free examination or their plumber repair a pipe on their own time, the artist simply isn't given that consideration. It's a strange disconnect, but I guess it's understandable.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not here to beat up on the fans and friends who are often delighted to get an original sketch or painting. I'm pleased that a simple sketch can bring a smile to someone's face. However, please keep in mind there's no staff managing these requests and more often than not your letter is simply misplaced. It's not done on purpose, believe me. I tell my friends to take a note from my clients and simply continue to nag. It's not going to annoy me. I sometimes need constant nagging if you're going to get my attention.
So, if I owe you a sketch, I guess now you know what to do, right? Lately, this has spilled over onto my new book and I owe several autographed books to friends and fans who are still waiting for their copy. Don't worry, it'll get there. However, my staff (that's me) is somewhat overwhelmed.