Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ChoiBurger Sweepstakes

I did not see this young man on the subway:

I drew this based on a black and white photograph titled "Fire Hydrant," taken in 1967 by Leonard Freed. Below is a very small, and unfortunately sort of muted, jpg of the photo. There is a prize for you if you can guess which section I took my drawing from:

Did you guess? If your guess was the hydrant, you need glasses, or you're insulting my drawing. If your guess was the building in the background, I applaud your efforts at anthropomorphizing, but you may need psychological help and you are also insulting my drawing. If, however, your guess was the young man at the center of the photograph, his face scrunched with joy as the water jets toward him, you are the winner of the ChoiBurger Sketchbook sweepstakes! Your prize is a large, juicy ChoiBurger, with a side of succulent ChoiFries:

Victory never tasted better, am I right???

I decided to draw the young man's face from the photo above because I wanted to practice some "serious" crosshatching, as opposed to the free-form scrawl that I use in my more cartoony drawings. Drawing people on the subway is great for certain things. It has improved my speed and my ability to "see" the subject I am drawing more accurately - the shapes of faces, proportions, angles, etc. But there are times when I want more rigorous, structured practice, where I can take my time developing a drawing without worrying about my subject changing seats, or noticing me staring at him or her like a deranged person. This drawing was one of those times. My hopefully-not-short-lived sense of discipline was inspired by the New York Times blog Line By Line, by James McMullan - last week's lesson was all about crosshatching:

My final drawing isn't perfect (I think I overshaded a bit, AND the scanner sort of washed out some of the darkest areas), but I am proud of the results.


  1. I too have enjoyed James McMullan's series and it is particularly reassuring of humanity to see how an inspirational teacher can be a powerful motivator to productive enterprise.

    Your work is exceptionally emotive and far better than I could hope to do. Perhaps I'll see you on the subway scratching away!

    I'm wondering about the history of cross-hatching and whether it co-evolved with printing. Must have been an amazing "aha" moment for those previously doing hand colouring.

  2. Bill,

    Thanks for reading, and for your comment!

    Initially, I thought cross-hatching went back to just before the Rennaissance, as I've seen a lot of old master's drawings that use the technique. But according to wikipedia, it actually started in the Middle Ages:

    And if you do think you've spotted me on the subway, you might want to check for your own likeness showing up here as well :)


  3. Keep 'em coming. I'm lovin' 'em.