Saturday, January 26, 2008

drawing as entertainment

This picture was taken in April of 1991.

The skinny redhead with the marker in hand is me,, just turned 9.

I discovered early that people are fascinated by artists. whenever you see a caricature booth at a fair or someplace, there is usually a crowd gathered behind the artist watching him create. artists like Winsor McCay used this to their financial gain with "lightning sketches" acts in vaudeville in the beginning of the century, and other artists later developed the "chalk talk," like this gentleman, Rev. Phil Saint, whom I met in 1992-ish, a year before he died at 80.this drawing was probably done in 15-ish minutes, with chalks on a cloth surface that could be erased afterwards. he was 50% colorblind, and had to have an assistant lay out the colors in order on the tray and memorized where they were, but looking at his paintings, you wouldn't know he was at all colorblind:
He actually attended the same art school as my own private art intructor of 10 years- they were classmates and friends. She actually taught some classes in "chalk-talk" techniques, one of which I took.

I still enjoy using the drawing process as a form of entertainment. When i know someone is watching me draw, i will try to surprise them by the things i do. I might create a tension by keeping the subject a mystery, drawing vague shapes and tying it together at the last minute so it suddenly makes sense, or i might draw a "normal" picture and at the last minute add a minor detail to make it humorous or bizarre, like drawing a bugs bunny head, and then placing it on a plate in a waiters hand, things like that. the surprise on the viewers face always tickles me.

It is just interesting to me how spellbinding a simple drawing can be when it is in the process of being created- the mystery of "what is it", the magic of creating images on a flat surface, all seem to hold an undeniable fascination....

...apparently even when it is a bad line drawing of YMCA building and a bicycle (i used to struggle with the construction of a bicycle when i was young- so many bars going every direction!). But hey, what can you expect from a 9-year-old with a brown Marks-a-lot?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

a parade of sketches

this last november i went to see my kid brother play clarinet for marching band in a local parade known as the King Frost Parade.

To avoid dying of boredom, i took a sketchpad to draw people who were standing around waiting for the parade to pass them by.

My sister brought her camera and caught me in the act.

I cut a picturesque and dashing figure, no?

no? well, let's move on to the sketches then.
Most of these were pretty quick and rough, so i wouldn't get caught staring at people.

there were plenty of fat chicks smoking, and a number of punks with green mohawks riding skateboards around in the street.

fat men with windblown comb-overs, more fat chicks smoking (and drinking), a hispanic man with a stupendous mullet...

a twinkling old man smiled nicely for this picture, and at the bottom of the sheet is a depiction of an actual event. a little boy with an over-sized blow-up hammer was hitting his dad in the butt with it while he tried to set up a lawn chair for granny.

and there was a shivvering woman who wore odd pants that were slit up the sides and laced together like leg-shoes. the other person is an old man who stepped out of a restaurant as the shriners drove by in their tin lizzies, then went back inside where it was warm. (smarter than he looks- or at least smarter than me!)

The rest of these sketches are just pages from the sketchbook i most recently filled up. there are drawing from church, and wherever else I happened to carry a pencil and pad.
I drew this in an attempt to gross out a sibling who was watching over my shoulder as the picture took shape. GAG! what a shape!

Below is an odd mix of sketches that shows the abstract way my mind wanders while I scribble.

And these are some sketches I did after This Post got me thinking about Bigfoot, and wondering "what if Big Foot was actually a giant foot?"

Then i thought of that stupid penguin movie...

and sharing the space is a less-than-jolly old elf.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


on a 4-5 hour road trip to New York, one must keep one's mind occupied or sleep. I chose the former for once, and instead of the usual cartoon doodles or sketches, i decided to bend my brain in a different direction. see how many levels of complexity are derived from this mass of triangles. if you're color-blind, there are probably not as many patterns in this design as the rest of us see. If i had a larger paper, I might have continued the pattern that began here, which would have resulted in even more complex patterns all interwoven...but we got to our destination before I went completely mad.