Currently browsing Posts Published June 2017

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If You See Something, Draw Something

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

I’m really enjoying the illustration class that I signed up for on a whim. The instructor is Steve Brodner, a very accomplished illustrator and caricaturist.

That first assignment morphed into a few more pages of thumbnail-sized doodles. Brodner really emphasizes the importance of figuring out all the potential problems of your drawing BEFORE you start working full-size, or with any sort of detail. Figure out which character is most important, and either through size, or contrast, or both, ensure that the viewer’s eye is drawn toward them. And most importantly, ensure that your drawing tells a story. The job of an illustrator is often to literally sum up a magazine or newspaper article in some way.

So my story here is, if you’re someone who likes to draw people, it’s hard to beat the tableau provided by the NYC subway.

Of course, unlike my acrobatic alter ego here, I’m often too self-concious to start sketching people in public. One interesting thing not depicted here is that, as much as people in NY exist in their own bubbles, there’s always that guy that will cross over into yours and ask you a million questions about drawing. I guess that’s another story for another illustration.

Home Sweet Homework

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

This may look like a rough comic strip, but it’s actually the first homework for my latest “continuing education” (i.e. old person) class at the School of Visual arts, which starts tomorrow. Here’s the prompt:

  • Think about the moment something you saw, heard, experienced in some way changed your life. Write a paragraph telling that story. How you were before, how you were afterward, the moment of inflection.
  • Fold a page into 1/8s.
  • Fill all 8 compartments with sketches that express what is important about that story.

Here’s my paragraph, with a disclaimer:

Cheating a bit. My first thought was the first time I visited NYC, flying in from L.A. in 1999. Even though it would take another seven years, I knew I would move here. I went back and looked at a journal entry from the time, and found a paragraph that sums it up perfectly.

I felt a strange sensation as we pulled into Grand Central Station. It persisted as we walked up to the exit on 42nd Street. And suddenly I was outside. I looked around. It was as if I had gone through the looking glass. I had seen New York countless times before, but never in three dimensions. Sure, Los Angeles has the Hollywood sign, but you can’t reach out and touch it. New York has New York—no matter what street I ended up on, I was surrounded by icons of American culture: cabs, subway stations, hot dog and peanut vendors. Starting with Sesame Street, I was brought up accustomed to these things, even though I never actually saw them in real life. In a sense, I was instantly comfortable.

(Oh, and to explain one of the panels: There’s a New York diner mainstay called an “egg cream,” which is just chocolate syrup, soda, and milk. No eggs, no cream.)