BLOGGIST'S NOTE: you may well wonder (or, perhaps not) why I'm putting a series about drawing here on SZ:TCoB instead of o'er at my own digs, but there's a perfectly good reason... Just gimmie a minute to think of it...
OH! It's because, as I briefly explained in Part I, I've been fascinated with art and drawing my whole life, but basically gave it up cold turkey as a bad job back when I was perhaps 13 or 14 years old. In the last month or so, thanks to both Doc (who's my Inspiration) and Spooky (who's both my Muse and my Instructor) I've started drawing again, and it just seems Right and Proper that these stories should go here on SZ, which has always struck me as a sort of communal blogg.
But, over the last few weeks or so, I’ve found myself drawing again and I’ve got two people to blame: Doc and Spooky.
I remember visiting Flann and Doc ages ago at their old house and spying a crayon drawing that Doc had done at one of those restaurants where the table is covered with a large sheet of brown butcher’s paper and the kids are given crayons to draw on the table with. Doc had drawn a monkey with a red keister, looking back o’er it’s shoulder, sticking it’s tongue out and holding a banana. The caption to this was ‘MONKEY GOT A RED BUTT!’ I don’t know if Doc still has it lying around, but I remember standing in awe at what a fine cartoonist he was and feeling embarrassed I couldn’t even draw just the red butt, let alone the monkey.
Then, some time ago, Doc started working at the bakery and began sketching out little funny cartoons for the other folk at work. It started off as a whim but apparently everyone else was like me: artists of such low skill that they naturally applauded Doc’s work and therefore asked him to draw MORE. Well, you know what happens when you start to draw more and more—you get practice and you get BETTER.
I began to study these drawings of Doc’s (like that of his Stock Noseless Self-Portrait above and his earlier works) and also spent more time over at their house in their bathroom where a whole stack of comic collections could be found: Calvin and Hobbes, Zits and Fox Trot collections were stacked next to the john. I began not only to read these, but to gather some ideas for cartoons of my own—starting with the big, round eyes that are common in Fox Trot, Garfield and Doc’s self-portraitures. With time on my hands at work, I began to doodle and within a few hours had a stock character that I would quickly draw when the person on the other end of the phone was being a total pill (mind, Doc works in pen and his drawings show up better than mine which are, until recently, all drawn w/genric #2 pencils)
Then, borrowing the idea from Doc, I began to draw a few VERY poor and rough cartoons about work—I’d post them here but they’d make no sense; suffice it to say they’re almost all of a frustrated person sitting at a computer with a headset on talkin’ to some moron on the phone. I started giving my drawings to Mike, one of the blokes I trained with. Also, just for him, I drew a cartoon of our computer system that has a RED ALERT button at the top in the form of a life preserver-- pushing THAT will literally sound an alarm on everyone's PC in the building as well as our parent office in Georgia. "Push THAT button when your PC literally catches on fire," is what the boss told us in training, making all of US wonder why in the hell it's THERE in the first place and adding a sort of eeeevil temptation TO push it just to see what sort of haywire mischif we can get up to (you know, right before we accept our pink slips).
Next thing I know Mike has a veritable Rogue’s Gallery of ALL of my drawings hanging up in his cubicle! I walk by and he says to the gal next to him—someone I never met before—“THAT’S the guy who draws these things!” She looks at me and says “those a really funny! You’re a good artist!”
This is the point where I turn and look around for the guy she’s talking to, only to point at my own chest and ask, “who? MEE?” (which, of course, is exactly what I did). It maybe be true that if you give a mouse a cookie he’ll want a glass of milk, but if you give an attention whore like me some encouragement, he’ll go sit down and begin cranking out cartoons every single day and practice drawing more
(NOTE: the joke in this one is about "points"-- when we're late or take time off we get points that accumulate; too many points and ya' get writ up, hence th' joke...)
About 2 or three weeks ago I was over at Doc’s pad and, with nothing particular to occupy my time, found myself with a pencil and pad in hand and drew out a bearded fellow in a baseball cap sittin in a pub with a sad sack of a drunken fellow. On the bar in front of them (I was experimenting with backgrounds and surfaces and foreshortening) was a stuffed rabbit-like thing. “Judas, Larry,” says the man in the hat, giving the bunny-thing the hairy eyeball, “it just breaks my damned heart!”
Doc apparently found something existential in the whole thing because not only did he laugh and wonder what the hell it was about, but he particularly liked the man’s beard and ballcap. He said he thought I was developing my own particular style (albeit with borrowed elements from The Simpsons, Garfield, Peanuts and Fox Trot) and I think might have even said that I was beginning to cartoon better than him (flattery will get you everywhere—I am nowhere NEAR the stage wherein I can put Dale at the opera).
All went well for about a fortnight until the evening recently where Spooky, who I had recently learned was briefly an art major in college back in the day, still had her portfolio of her student work and she laid it on the bed and went through some of her drawings with me.
END OF PART II