Monday, October 18, 2010

Carry On, Brave Soul!

Oh snap, gentle readers. I've got a seriously fresh drawing for you all today:

I saw this man on the subway on a day when there were no faces to draw - everyone was buried in a book. I was about to put my sketchpad away, but then I thought to myself, there's always SOMETHING to be drawn - even hands or shoes are good practice. So I started drawing the wrinkles and folds in this gentleman's pants - specifically his crotch, because that area had the most folds. And the more folds I drew, the most interesting that crotch became - so interesting that an entire drawing grew out of it!

Now, did I enjoy staring at this man's "zone" for twenty minutes? Not very much. But these are hazards that, as an artist, I must face. Did Rembrant cringe from the cadaver's exposed tendons while painting "The Anatomy Lesson"? Did Michaelangelo blanch at chiseling "David"'s buoyant scrotum? These artists bravely looked the specter of bare anatomy in the face, without even a barrier of wrinkled slacks to protect them. Following their example, I was emboldened to do the same.

At any rate, this developed in stages. I got the man down on paper on the train, filled in the seats and the wall behind him at home, and then did the arm-rest and railing the next day. Finally, I completed the poster behind him just yesterday. I wasn't quite sure what to put in that space for some time, but after perusing many, many images of subway posters online, I settled for a Halls ad which appeared on the subway around this time last year. It showed a woman with all the signs of a cold (red nose, watery eyes) looking determinedly into the distance, with the caption, "Carry On, Brave Soul!" Somehow, this seemed appropriate.

What I have to work on now are my angles and perspective, which got a little wonky as I was drawing the subway door and the seat the man was sitting on. Practice practice practice practice practice practice practice...


  1. Oh this is good. I love the details in the newspaper.

    I have to admit, I'm avoiding looking at the crotch area despite the fact that you have pointed out the entire sketch originated from that area. I'm just not comfortable enough.

  2. Nice! I saw your site @ your comment @ the NY Times. I'm a painter and find myself doing more and more sketches these days.

  3. @Ari - don't feel bad. I wasn't entirely comfortable with it either. In a way, I feel like I infringed on this man's privacy! But what can I do? I have to practice my life-drawing somehow, and my cats won't sit still for nearly long enough.