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Live Illustration

Live illustration (aka live sketching) is a memorable and unique experience for your wedding or event. These quick, stylized fashion sketches are a special way to commemorate your celebration for you and your guests. They are especially great for events where everyone will be dressed up! It's fun to watch an artist at work, and event attendees will love their personalized keepsakes.
Photo credit: Live View Studios 
I do a lot of live illustration at weddings, but it can also be a great feature for grand openings, corporate events, holiday parties, galas, bridal showers, birthday celebrations, etc. Past clients include Target, Nic & Zoe, The American Cancer Society, RBC Wealth Management, and Edina Realty.
You can book me for 3-6 hours. Full-color sketches take about 5-7 minutes per person. Depending on what will work best for your event, there are a few different approaches to choose from:
  1. Have me take photos of your guests as they arrive and sketch as the event goes on, allowing guests to pick up their sketch at the end of the evening (this is my default approach as it works best in most settings)
  2. A first-come first-serve approach where guests may form a line and pose for their sketch (this works best for smaller events)
  3. Have a sign-up sheet where guests can sign up for a time to come and get sketched (this works best when someone is specifically assigned to manage the roster so I can focus on sketching)
- Due to the volume of requests I receive, please note that your date will not be reserved for you until a deposit has been paid
- To maximize sketch time, the general rule I usually follow is 1-2 people per sketch with no repeats
- All sketch subjects must be present at the event - I do not sketch from photos on guest phones or wallet photos
- Please note that the number of people I can sketch per event may vary. That being said, I work at a pretty steady pace and always make sure to complete an appropriate amount of sketches for the time allotted.
- For weddings, I will ship a sketch for the couple after the event if they so desire.
- All guest sketches are typically completed and distributed onsite. However, if you have a larger guest count and want to ensure that everyone who wants a sketch gets one, you have the option of paying for any additional sketches not completed onsite, which will then be shipped to you for you to distribute in-person or to include with your thank you notes. 

Live illustrations at weddings and events by artist Maria Ahrens 

I will arrive about 30 minutes before my start time to find my designated spot and get set up. Please provide a sturdy table and chair for me at the venue (no wobbles!). A table surface area of at least 3'x3' is best. I also usually bring a sign, but you are welcome to provide your own if you'd like. I bring my own battery-powered lighting for evening events to maximize visibility.

I provide all materials. Sketches are created on a smooth bristol paper (similar to cardstock) with professional artist markers and archival ink pens to eliminate drying time. Sketches are then placed into protective plastic sleeves for your guests to take home.

My figure-drawing style is somewhere between the elongated fashion sketch and real-life proportions. My default is full-color illustrations on 5"x7" or 8"x10" paper. To increase sketch output, I can also do sketches in black and white.   

Depending on my availability, I can be booked anywhere from 2 weeks to 18 months in advance. However, my calendar has limited spots and fills up VERY quickly, so I always recommend reaching out as soon as possible. 

I am based in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, but I do travel! Depending on the location, additional fees may apply, including but not limited to ground transportation, lodging and air fare.

I can pre-print a logo, date or other personalization onto my paper for an additional fee.

I charge an hourly rate with pricing starting at $200 per hour.


To inquire about booking my live illustration services, please fill out the form below and let's chat!




"Maria is so incredibly talented! She illustrated at our wedding and she was RAVED about by all of our guests...I cannot thank her enough for making our day so special." - Lexi

"Loved having Maria do live illustrations at our wedding!! I couldn't recommend her more!" - Ashleyn