With Goofy Faces Founder, Robert Bauer

Q: What is Goofy Faces?

RB: It’s a company and a web site. After more than a 15 years of drawing and selling caricatures, I decided to make this service available to the whole world - via www.GoofyFaces.com, our Internet site.

Q: What exactly is a caricature?

RB: A caricature is an exaggerated illustration of someone. Often, the person's features are somewhat distorted, but a caricature can also be very flattering. Caricatures have been around since the first Neanderthal drew a funny picture of his enemy on the wall of a cave. Today you usually see the drawings on the editorial page of your newspaper - or splashed on the cover of a magazine. Politicians are most often the subjects, so you can guess whose faces are being caricatured nowadays!

Q: How did you start drawing caricatures?

RB: I'm a professional graphic designer and most of my clients, like Detroit's automotive companies and ad agencies, use my services for "serious" work. The "goofy" work - the caricature side of my business - came about because clients and friends found out I could draw these goofy pictures, and everyone wanted one. After a while, I figured I ought to start charging. With more than 4000 caricatures under my belt, I guess I've made a name for myself as a seasoned caricaturist. The company and web site were a natural progression for me.

Q: How do the caricatures get produced?

RB: Every caricature is drawn by hand. Then, a digital process is used to color it. The result is truly a work of art. The colors are vivid and the lines sharp.

Q: Do you do all the caricatures yourself?

RB: I do many of them but, thanks to our Internet orientation, I can hire artists online from anywhere in the world. The result is that we offer a wonderful variety of drawing styles.

Q: Are your caricatures satirically on target? Or do you sometimes make someone look a little more attractive than he or she really is?

RB: It depends on the customer’s request. We are capable of being very flattering in our illustrations, or we can really do an accurate portrayal - and sometimes that's not how the subject imagines himself.

Q: Has anyone ever been offended one of your caricatures?

RB: We try to be very positive with our caricatures. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. And we want people to come back and order more! I’ve had a few people who said, "That doesn't look anything like me." And yet their friends and relatives tell us, "Boy, you really nailed the guy." People almost never see themselves the way others see them. Ever hear your voice on a recording? It almost never sounds like your perception of your voice. It's the same thing when you see a caricature of yourself.

Q: What was the most unusual request you’ve had for a caricature?

RB: There have been more than a few unusual ones! One time I had to draw a caricature of a clown. It’s hard to draw a goofy face when it’s already there. He really liked it, though. Once in a while someone will ask me to draw his dog or cat. Many pets are almost human to their owners. They might feel their dog has a very funny personality and they want that personality to come out on a caricature. Some people have me do pet caricatures to give as gifts, and the pet owners seem to love them.

Q:What makes your service special?

RB: At Goofy Faces, our caricatures are not just whipped off and sent back to the buyer. We like to think of the total presentation - what combination of colors will work, how the drawing will look hanging on the wall, what type of frame would enhance it. We have several packages that customers can choose from. They can place their entire order, upload their photos to us and pay for it using their credit card right on our site. I like to think of it as an alternative gift idea to flowers or other personal gifts.

Q:How much do your caricatures cost?

RB: We have a wide range of prices. You can buy a value package for around $25, and it's e-mailed to you. Other packages include matting, framing, packaging and shipping. And this package is actually less expensive than the price you might pay to have a piece of art matted and framed at a framing store.

Q:How long does it take?

RB: We can have a caricature to you in as little as 48 hours. That’s what we offer with our two digital packages: Manhattan Portrait or San Francisco Special. Both are e-mailed directly to the customer. If someone orders one of our deluxe packages, like the Hollywood Treatment, we can have it in his hands in about 7 working days - at no additional charge.

Q: When is it a good time to send someone a caricature as a gift?

RB: The possibilities are endless: think holidays, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, gag gifts. We even have a special package we call Corporate Americana that’s perfect for the office. The next time someone is retiring or changing jobs, you can order one and have everybody sign it before you present it. It’s large and laminated so that you can write on it.

Q: Do you think caricatures will replace flowers and chocolates as gifts?

RB: Absolutely. A caricature gift says a lot about the giver. When you ask us to draw your friend playing video games, wearing his favorite baseball cap, and his old tennis shoes, your friend knows that a lot of thought went into the creation of the gift. It's a lot more imaginative a gift than flowers or chocolates - and it certainly lasts a lot longer!

Q:How do you order a GoofyFaces caricature?

RB: You can order one online at www.goofyfaces.com. You can also call us at our studio in Huntington Woods, Michigan to ask questions or place an order. Call (248) 541-8642.