The Kingdom 2023: Meet Arie Monroe behind Draw Like Crazy

Draw Like Crazy at The Kingdom 2023 -- Courtesy of Alexandria Ingham
Draw Like Crazy at The Kingdom 2023 -- Courtesy of Alexandria Ingham /

Draw Like Crazy has become a popular vendor at Sasnak City events. We sat down with Arie Monroe to talk about her business at The Kingdom 2023.

Sometimes, you just want something very different as a gift or an item to remember an event. There’s a reason caricature artists are popular at places like theme parks and fairground rides. They offer omething different and memorable all at the same time. We get something that is cool to put up on the walls to always remember the good times.

Arie Monroe has been at Sasnak City events a couple of times now. Draw Like Crazy is popular with the fans, especially as she doesn’t just offer caricatures of the attendees. She can add all sorts of customized elements to the artwork, making it something extra special.

We sat down with Arie to discuss how she got into this line of work and became a vendor at the Sasnak City events.

Arie Monroe shares all about Draw Like Crazy at The Kingdom 2023

Claire & Jamie: How did you get started in artwork? When did you know this was something you wanted to do?

Draw Like Crazy: I wanted to work in animation, and one of the things I learned growing up was that the most important think you could do to become an animator is to draw all the time. So I drew a lot.

Then I had to be able to drive from life, from everything around me. I got into an arts program at high school and I would write letters to Disney animators and they would send letters back suggesting good art programs and good colleges.

In my last year of high school, I got my first job as a caricature artist at Worlds of Fun, which is a local amusement park. That was eight hours a day of drawing as a way to get my drawing skills up. It was just a summer thing and wasn’t a career goal. I kept doing it for extra money.

I then got into the Joe Kubert School in New Jersey, so I got to work and study there and then got a job at a design firm in Manhattan. I was traveling back and forth for a bit, and would work on thinks like children’s books for Nickelodeon and companies like that.

Unfortunately, we had the big housing implosion back inin2008, so I came back to Kansas City to help my family. Then I went to California and worked for Warner Broths for a bit and was mentoring under a Disney animator there for a bit. That was fun, and I learned a lot. I continued being a caricature artist as a side job and got to specialize in airbrush.

Then there was another crisis in 2012 and the company went under. I was on a contract, so I lost my work and found out my mom had leukemia, so I came back to Kansas City again.

Then in 2014, I looked at a program called Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts here in Kansas City. They would work with low-income artists to help them get started in business and learn how to write contracts. I started going to as many events as I could then. It took some time, but I grew my business and went to a lot of festivals and amusement parks.

C&J: How did you get started with Sasnak City?

DLC: I was at Planet Comic Con and met Christina [one of the Sasnak City staff members] and she had me draw her. She was super excited and was like ‘you should come to the Outlander and The Last Kingdom conventions and draw for us as a vendor. So, they invited me last year and I drew a lot of the cast members that they gave as gifts to.

I feel inspired by a lot of the ladies traveling and having fun with friends and doing things that they love. It’s cool to me because that’s the area of my life I’m in now. I’m tired of struggling and want to spend time really enjoying the experiences.

C&J: There are some people who want to be drawn with the characters. So, can you take photos and them within the artwork?

DLC: If someone wanted me to, I could use photographs. If they want Uhtred, I could add him in. I also draw things I see.

C&J: How long does it take for you to do one person?

DLC: That depends on the situation. I like to give them a nice drawing, so it can be anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes. That’s usually the longest it takes. The shortest is about two minutes for the black and white head and shoulder drawings.

Part of the caricature training is to capture people quickly. I try to set a goal to get as much of their personality and facial expressions into the drawing. I prefer to exaggerate facial expressions instead of facial features. If they request something on the crazy side, I’ll do it, but I don’t like making people cry, and people will cry.

C&J: And you can add them into the fandoms they love. I’m looking at your banner with Star WarsFrozen, Marvel.

DLC: Yes, a lot of people like to be added to their favorite TV shows or comics. If they love Star Wars, they want themselves in that scenario, so I’ll draw that. I let people see their options and tell them if they have something specific, I can look it up on my phone to get it right.

C&J: Do you do commissions in between events?

DLC: I do them, but I also like to sleep, especially in the winter. The summer months are wild. It’s hot and busy every weekend, so I take advantage of quiet times to rest and get my energy up for the next event.

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Take a look at the Draw Like Crazy Facebook page to see more of Arie’s wonderful art.