In my 20 years of drawing caricatures at Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Mitzvahs, I have never seen so many kids in one room before! Noah and Ben, 2 brothers celebrating a dual Bar Mitzvah (known as a B’nai Mitzvah) at the City Ave. Hilton in Bala Cynwyd, had the largest turnout of friends I’ve ever seen. Large jars of candy fueled the children, creating and energy level that could only be described as “through the roof”. This led to a few fearful moments watching hordes of sugar-fueled middle-schoolers screaming the words to Fun’s “We Are Young” and chasing their friends around my easel. Mercifully, the kids left me unscathed, with my easel in one piece, and I left that night with lots of great stories of Noah and Ben’s B’nai Mitzvah.
For the past year, I assisted Noah and Ben’s mom, Lori, plan this event. Our collaborative effort made for a unique party experience that included a sign-in board, table place card illustrations and live caricatures for the guests.
Bar Mitzvah Sign-in Board Caricature
Around September of the previous year, I did a dual caricature of both boys for the sign-in board. The end result of the sign-in board was fantastic! I was extremely happy with the vibrant color I got from my color sticks and it was fun drawing Noah and Ben holding their diverse gadgets and toys. It was also around this time that my daughter was born, and I clearly remember emailing Lori notifying her that if she doesn’t hear from me for a while, not to worry—I’m most-likely trying to figure out how to change a diaper or trying to get some sleep.
Table Place Card Illustrations
Instead of just labeling them table #1, table #2, and so on, Lori had a great idea. She asked me to do illustrations of Noah and Ben’s favorite things which would brand each table. When guests picked up their place cards, it had a matching illustration letting them know which table they were at.
I did all the illustrations in advance, scanned them into Photoshop and printed one large for display on the table, and ten miniatures for insertion into the place cards. I trimmed and folded them all, freeing up Lori’s time to focus on more pressing last-minute Mitzvah matters.
Second Artist Option
After a Year of preparations, the B’nai Mitzvah was finally here. Since there were so many kids expected, Lori opted for the second artist option. If a client expects a large turnout, or wants to ensure that all guests get their caricature done, I provide the option to bring on another artist to help speed things up. This is greatly beneficial because we can get twice the amount of people done in half the time.
For Noah and Ben’s Mitzvah I asked my good friend and colleague Julie to work the party with me. Julie and I work together drawing caricatures at Phillies Games at Citizens Bank Park. I like working with her because she’s talented, reliable, and always cracks me up.
Non-Stop Caricatures All Night Long!
We worked continuously for four straight hours drawing sugar-fueled kid after kid. The amount of guests were overwhelming, and the line for caricatures never seemed to get any smaller.
This quote from Noah and Ben’s father sums this event up perfectly (and is my favorite testimonial of all time):
“I hate Chris Snee! He did our sons B’nai Mitzvah recently and I thought I could get away with having him for an hour, or two at the most. Ha, no such luck..I had to use him and his associate for the entire party. He did such a good job that the kids (and adults) kept him busy all evening. He was non-stop until the party ended. Everyone who had their portrait done loved it. There was a line for him the entire time and people were bragging about how good the caricatures were.
Yeah, thanks for making me keep you all night!”
– Neil T. Rubin, Esq.
Noah and Ben’s mom, Lori, was equally pleased, but seemed to express herself in a slightly more refined manner:
“Chris was fantastic to work with. From the beginning, about a year before the big event, Chris worked with me to create a sign-in board and drawings for the place cards and the tables. He was professional, meticulous, and his drawings were incredible! At the Bar Mitzvah, he was great with the guests, creating awesome drawings. He was a huge hit! Everyone loved him! Chris is a true gem! Thanks for everything!”
– Lori Rubin
Thank you to Lori and Neil for the kind words and for letting me be a part of your family’s big day, and congratulations to Noah and Ben. It was a fun ride from the sign-in board caricature to the actual party, and this stand-out event will remain in memory for quite some time.
With a live band, a guitar sign in board and live caricatures of his guests shredding guitar, Jakob’s music-themed Bar Mitzvah, hosted by LaStalla restaurant in Newtown, PA was the most rockin’ Bar Mitzvah I’ve ever worked.