The Artist Timeline: Booking Artists for Your Event

What is an artist timeline? An artist timeline is based on the amount of time an artist is hired for at an event and the frame work around that event. This is an important topic for people on both sides of an event. For the client it can impact the event budget costing them more money than they expected. For the event planner it can hamper the amount of entertainment needed for an event and cause guests to miss out on key highlights. For the artist it can be the difference between a break or even another event.

If an artist is booked to work four hours at your event and you have other items like speeches booked in that time frame you will still be paying that artist yet they are not working. That doesn’t allow the artist to entertain as many people as they could have therefore costing the client money. If guests complain to the event planner the artist now looks bad to the client. Of course the guests miss out on some great entertainment.

Let’s talk about the artist for a minute. We love what we do and we realize that we are lucky to use our gifts to make a living. That being said however we are human. Drawing for hours at a time can be taxing and even dangerous for medical issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and more. Once I drew for five hours straight and had shoulder problems for over a year. Why didn’t I take a break? The client kept pushing more people in line. Any employee wouldn’t be expected to work five hours straight without a break at any company. So what can you do?

Here is how to work with an artist to get the best for your event.

• Communicate any natural breaks or times in the program where the audience will be somewhere else to the artist. This allows us to plan a break without disappointing your guests.

• Don’t plan so much entertainment or conflicting entertainment at the same time. For instance having a magician and a band on at the same time will cause problems for the magician. This may be a good time for them to take a break.

• Hire an artist for a longer time but with a break. We don’t want you to lose money so if you need four hours, book 4.5 hours, but build in a 30 minute break.

• Artists know how long it takes to do their craft. If they close their line, stop their set, or otherwise plan to shutdown don’t ask them to keep things open. There may be a number of reasons such as not disappointing guests, medical reasons, or other engagements.

Tips for a great event:

• Every artist will need a break some longer than others. A good rule of thumb is 15-20 minutes every two hours.

• Book artists around your speeches and other high times for maximum output. Plan your artists to compliment each other instead of competing with each other. A caricature artist and photo booth compliment each other as people can wander between the two. A band and a magician will compete for the attention of the same audience therefore competing.

• Best rule of thumb is to share your timeline with the artist at the time of booking so they can help you get the best for your event. They know their craft.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is professional live event caricature artist specializing in wedding and corporate events. He has been drawing professionally for almost 20 years and is booked months ahead of time for events. You can learn more about Bruce and his work at