One of the best things about Hill City Bride is that we’re a family of vendors, readers, and writers. In the Vendor Spotlights, we get to learn a little more about a member of the Hill City Bride family. Meet Jed Mickle, of Caricatures by Jed, as he talks a little about himself and his art.
Jed has been drawing since childhood. Jed started doing caricatures as entertainment at events in 2004. Jed also loves drawing comics and writing songs. He lives in Lynchburg with his lovely wife Beth, their son Gryphon, and their dog Banjo.
(Little Jed, already getting started on his life-long career.)
I always wanted to make a living with my art, but didn’t know how to go about it and was busy just trying to work and pay the bills. When I lived in Williamsburg, my wife and I attended a small church in Charles City where the pastor’s wife, who runs Peace Hill Press, was impressed with my work. So in October 2003 I began illustrating the first of three books for Peace Hill Press for their Who in the World Was…? junior-level biography series.
Around that same time we moved back to Lynchburg, and I met Kyle Edgell, who introduced me to caricature entertainment. After I finished the biographies, I continued doing caricature entertainment at various events, making a modest living and using my spare time to develop my comic books. I’ve recently gotten back into doing commissioned illustration projects. I actually have a project coming out in a couple weeks, but its identity is still a secret!
My father, Steven Mickle, is a nationally renowned portrait artist, and he taught me a thing or two about drawing faces, and later shading and composition. My cousin Franz gave me a great overview of how to draw superheroes and the human figure. Kyle Edgell got me started in caricatures and I’ve looked over her shoulder quite a few times when she was drawing live in order to glean what I could from her. I’ve been to some of the International Society of Caricaturist Artists (ISCA) conventions and picked up things from the artists and the seminars.
I love writing songs and playing with my band, Miniature Giants. We play all originals, and my main goal is to get recordings that I’m happy with; mastering technology is not as intuitive for me as creating something. I have about seven albums’ worth of material written but very few songs recorded.
(Photo by PJ Sykes)
We also have some comics starring us as superheroes. Our drummer, Tommy Rogers, my wife and I had a great brainstorming session one time that resulted in those comics. You can read those here, and my other comics on my website. I’ll also be printing those and other comics soon to gear up for the HeroesCon I’ll be selling at in June.
When I do caricatures at events, I draw 12-15 people an hour. That’s with full bodies, hobbies, and names (black and white). For events with a large number of guests, I often like drawing head and shoulders, because I can draw at least 16-20 people an hour that way. I can also provide color but am usually asked to do black and white because it’s faster. Usually, I get pretty straightforward requests for caricatures, but every now and then, you get some off-the-wall ones, which are fun. One that stands out was a request for a bear on a unicycle on a tightrope (the subject wanted to be the bear). Ninjas on a narwhal was a good one, too.
People often ask me to ‘leave out the extra chin’ (which I generally do, anyway). People are often a little on guard about certain features, but every now and then, I get someone who enthusiastically wants me to tell it like it is. One such subject asked me to make sure I included all his acne, because he had a recent problem with breaking out. So you hear all kinds of things.
(A mural Jed painted, with his son Gryphon posing in front. The tail of the black dog on the left is the handle of the door.)
I often get asked ‘so what’s your real job?’ or ‘How did you get started doing this?’ Being published is exciting; it would probably be more exciting if I could forget the ‘big picture’ long enough to celebrate the milestones along the way. The big picture, I guess, is publishing the comics I’ve created, but, of course, an artist can learn things from every project. Sometimes, the commissioned work is the work you learn from the most. These projects can demand things you might not otherwise demand of yourself, and you can’t help coming out a better artist for it.
Thank you, Jed, for sharing with us! Learn more about Jed at his website, JedMickle.com. We have had the privilege of seeing him in action and having our caricatures made by Jed … if you are looking for some fun at your wedding reception or event, Jed is the person for you.