Here are some of what I will pretentiously call my juvenilia: comic book stuff I was doing in my teens when I should've been revising for my O-Levels. The Judge Dredd drawings are obviously channelling Brian Bolland; and by 'channelling' I mean 'shamelessly swiping the style of'. I wanted to draw comics when I was that age (and kind of still do to be honest) but never thought I was good enough. I was too slow; never really mastered sequential 'story-telling'; tended to focus on the figure to the exclusion of learning to draw 'anything and everything' - the usual problems with half-arsed wannabes.
I think I sent samples off once, to the publishers (I think it was D.C.Thompson) of little comic booklets, like Commando. I got a rejection and didn't persevere. It always seemed like an unrealistic ambition. Soon after I went into Graphic Design, which I guess was the more realistic alternative; and it did give me the chance to cartoon every once in a while, if the brief warranted it.
When I doodle, my tendency is to draw the male nude form. I call them my male floozies because they usually don't have a stitch on. I'm fascinated by drapery and admire people who render it well (even have a go myself sometimes), but when I don't want to tear my remaining hair out, I resort to what is for me the more easily achievable challenge of rendering anatomy well. Partly because I have some source material nearby; partly because I was raised on superhero comics; partly because when my co-workers spot my doodles, it's slightly less creepy than if I were drawing nekkid ladies - less threat of some kind of indirect harrassment charge! These were exercises in anatomy, lighting and foreshortening; the seated male tries to capture from memory the lighting of a photograph I saw. Varying degrees of success...
Sometimes, sitting in a cafe or pub, I end up doodling, or copying from postcards, or book-jackets, or photos in the paper. It's my way of trying to break down my inhibitions about drawing in public, with a view to eventually sketching the surrounding company of strangers (I've seen so many inspiring examples in other proper artists' blogs). I worry that once they see my beady eyes on them, they'll be a little unsettled. But then, I think I already unnerve people in the pub, sitting on my own drawing nude men - even if it is Michelangelo's David.
Recently I was inspired to copy some movie stills from an article in the paper that day. The same day, I visited the very talented Mike Cho's blog (I recommend it) and found a post showing the drawings he did while watching dvds of old b/w movies. There are some differences: He didn't even pause the dvd, so drew from fleeting images, and they were still better than mine; and his was an exercise in handling light and shade in a composition. I just liked the look of Robert Donat in a great coat.
More from the life class. The two head portraits are drawings I did of a friend, a Spanish post-grad who was a reader at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, where I work: Sitting by the river, drawing a beautiful woman - that's my idea of recreation! Both drawings captured her likeness to a degree, even though they look quite different as drawings - make of that paradox what you will.
These are some life drawings, most of which are from a class I last attended about 18 months ago. Other commitments caused me to let it slide. But I have no excuse not to get back into it. I loved it. More to come: the blogger doesn't let me upload more than five evidently.
There might be a flurry of posts as I attempt to upload a bit of content to get things started: some recent cartoons, less recent life-drawings and some 'juvenilia' that I have some nostaligic fondness for. First up, a couple of cartoon portraits I did recently for friends' birthdays. One is of my good friend Kristin, whom I depicted with Anthony LaPaglia, because she has the hots for him, or maybe his character in Without a Trace (which is why she's kinda feeling him up). The other is an ex-girlfriend from my teens, and possible first love, Sally; she's being the domestic goddess she is with her family (including her taller, handsomer husband, grr) .
There have been disputes about the likenesses of Sally and her brood: I thought I got her and the hubbie but that the kids were too generic; her sister thinks I got everyone but her. The source material for the children was limited in terms of angle and expression and extrapolating different expressions was hard. With Kristin, I think I captured the photo I used, but the photo didn't really look like her in the first place (doh!). (As far as LaPaglia goes, mm not sure. ). Maybe I should post photos too (they're not on my current computer; maybe later).
I used brush-pens, which every blogging cartoonist had been raving about - and they're right to.
One last thing. I don't have a scanner. Most of the things I'll upload right now are from my mobile phone camera (puny, less than 2 megapixel). The quality is therefore pretty poor. I'll try to improve on that as I go on.
Having spontaneously decided to create this blog, I find my mind's a blank as to what to post on it. It was the same whenever I decided to start writing a diary. For now, here're some of the modest sketches I do in a little pad during coffee breaks, to pass the time. From these puny beginnings will blossom the go-to site for great art and arrestingly deep thoughts on mind, body, culture, life, the universe and everything. Maybe. Mm, haven't found my 'voice' yet.