Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drawing From My Youth

At a recent CAPS ( Comic Art Professional Society ) meeting, we had an interesting assignment--to bring a piece of artwork you created as a kid.  It was fun digging through all that old stuff.  It was interesting to see drawings I hadn't seen in years, and how that work shaped my abilities as an adult.

One of the oldest pieces I found was drawn in the back of one of my first art books. It was a well worn copy of "Drawing the Head and Hands" by Andrew Loomis that was handed down to me from my mother.  There were a bunch of doodles that me and my brother did in the blank back pages of the book.  Of note was this one I did around 1975 ( age 11 ) of some famous celebrities of the time.  I vaguely remember referencing a book of TV stars I got from Scholastic Books to do this.  Clockwise from upper left:  John Shuck, Rock Hudson, Susan St. James ( the cast of MacMillan and Wife ), Elvis Presley, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (from F.B.I ), James Brolin (from Marcus Welby ), and singer John Denver.  

I also found this drawing of Tarzan I did in August of 1979( age 15 ).  I believe it was an art class assignment.  I'm thinking of redoing this drawing for my August 22nd post this year.  It would be a thirty year gap between the two drawings.  Hopefully, I've learned something since then!

Below is one of a series of little quick sketches I did of boxing matches.  I had developed an intense interest in boxing at the time and would try to recall the moves I saw on TV.  This exercise not only taught me a lot about boxing, but drawing and choreographing the figure in action.  I did tons of these little doodles.  Many of these drawings were recreations of big fights of the time, including Sugar Ray Leonard beating local boxer Pete Ranzany, Wilfredo Benitez, as well as some pages with Muhammed Ali.  This drawing was probably done in the late 70's or early 80's.
Below is an X-men mini-comic I wrote and drew called "Attack of the 50 foot Mutant."
This was a project I did in my senior year of high school for my printing class.  It's an 8-page mini-comic I had planned to use as part of my portfolio to get into Marvel Comics upon graduating.  It was quite an ambitious project.  I had to shoot negatives of the art and burn plates, run them on the big Heidelberg offset press, fold and staple everything.  It didn't get me into Marvel, but it taught me a lot about the printing process. 

As a teenager I got involved in the whole fanzine thing.  I was a member of NYAPA ( The New York Amateur Press Alliance ).  Every other month I would write movie reviews, short stories, and comics and staple copies of this xeroxed mini-zine together and send it off to a "central mailer" who collected all the other mini-zines from around the country and distributed the collated piece to the rest of the membership.  We would then comment on each other's little 'zines.  It was really kind of a forerunner to blogging.  I did several comics features this way.  One of note was a romance strip I did.  I was intent to not just focus on superheroes and monsters beating each other up ( although I did plenty of those too ) but to learn how to do drama as well.  Odd thing for a high school aged boy to draw at the time, but it taught me a lot. Below is a page from "Deb", written by fellow NYAPA member Tom Muck.
After seeing this challenge to draw yourself as a teen, I thought of doing one, but realized I already had done one. "The Filler" was a little autobiographical 1-pager I did in my late teens.  There are all kinds of inside jokes in this piece that were specifically geared to the NYAPA membership, so they won't really make much sense to anyone else.  It's a pretty accurate portrait of how I looked back then.  Big hair and glasses, and all of 117 lbs at 5'11"!

THE CHALLENGE: It was fun  going through this old stuff.  It's a bit embarrassing to show this old stuff, but it was also kind of enlightening as well.  It really showed me where I've come and gone as an artist.  I'd love to see some of the childhood drawings of some of you out there, especially some of you high-fallootin' professionals out there.  It would also be nice to see you redo a piece and put it side by side with your original childhood drawing.  I will do the same and I will collect all the links here.  C'mon artists!  Lets see it!  Don't be shy!