Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Travel Monsters! Happy New Year!

Last blog post of the year... as the sun goes down here in cold, cloudy New York City, it's weird to think that it's already 2010 in some parts of the world. Before the Magic Date Change Line swings over my particular patch of the planet, here are the fruits of the season's back-and-forthing.

Despite the frantic racing around that always seems to happen this time of year (or maybe because of it) the holidays always tend to make me introspective.

Well, OK, more introspective:

Stuffed into public transportation, the most comfortable place is usually the one found by crawling as far back into my head as I can.

This year although there wasn't as much mileage as there sometimes is (only 2500 or so... way below average). Still, train delays, closed airports, massive snowstorms, insomnia in other people's guest rooms and the odd would-be terrorist attack still made for some fine monster habitat.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, creatively fertile 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays!

'll have to look elsewhere for Santas and snowflakes.

Year-end moleskine review

Over the course of 2009, I've filled a couple of hundred pages standing at the end of the subway car drawing people's heads. Nothing compared to some of the sketchers out there, but enough to get a little repetitious sometimes. Ballpoint pen, manila paper... it really is just one head after another.

But when I'm having a good day of it, I see how much variety there is in that monotony... how really, really different every face is from every other face. Because I draw from my head so much, it's become really important to me to get this kind of observational work in.

I don't suppose any of these drawings will form a basis for a character in a book illustration, but collectively they've done a lot to expand my range. When I sit down to draw out of my head, there's a lot more in there because of this work.

So here's a little set of samples from the 2009 Moleskines. A few repeats from earlier posts, but not too many:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Craig Chesler at Banjo Jim's

Not quite my usual setting or materials: a very dark bar and a Japanese brush pen that my friend Walter gave me last Christmas. But when someone you sort of know announces a last-minute solo instrumental ukulele set at in the East Village on a Tuesday night... well, it's caution to the wind.

The music turned out to be great: not only Craig's, which is always delightful, but the other musicians on the roster as well. In particular, a kid called Alec Gross was amazing.

Craig is actually better-looking than this. Sorry Craig!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Spent most of October in airplanes, which meant, among other things, lots of time to draw with very limited materials in very limited physical circumstances.

Lots of seatmates to frighten, sometimes on purpose (I sat next to some whiners I didn't want to encourage in conversation).

JPEG's are named by flight. Sometimes it's the only way I remember where I've been.


"At a certain point, he realized that the others were not coming back..."

"... because they were, in all likelihood, already dead."

Ink monsters on watercolor paper

 This set (including the drawing in the posting above this one) was drawn in a watercolor sketchbook, which I don't think took the ink very well. It'll be OK for watercolor sketches but for in-flight monsters, I think I need a more absorbent paper.

These were part of a Newark-Phoenix round trip.

State of the Sketchbook

One of the things I'm pleased about with the street and subway sketching at the moment is that I think I'm expanding and experimenting with style... different looks for different days, but building an overall vocabulary at the same time.

Project in progress

One of my projects in September was a book dummy. I don't like to talk too much about things that are still in progress, but here's a hint: it involves dogs.

September Monsters

I rented an outside work space back in September, which was great, then spent October flying around the country trying to put some money in the bank. Blogging much neglected as a result.

Catch-up time! These monsters are a little bit of September's production. Just fooling around, getting used to watercolor again after much too much time away.