Rustin Cohle: Flat Circle

Rustin Cohle--Flat Circle

Cohle is my favorite character from True Detective (Season 1), so I couldn’t resist drawing him again. Just at this moment, crazy Reggie Ledoux is telling him that all life is a flat circle, which can’t mean much to him–unless he’s a fan of Nietzsche already and he may be. Considering his attention is on Marty’s whereabouts, possible assailants and covering their nutso suspect, it’s amazing that 17 years later, he remembers this. But that’s Cohle for you–he misses nothing.

True Detective

2016-08-19 True Detective comp

My latest obsession…True Detective (Season 1). The best of writing and acting, atmospheric cinematography, world view… gritty, dirty, hard-core, beautiful. Matthew McConaughey vs. Woody Harrelson. Bitter cynic meets optimistic asshole. Carcosa. The Yellow King. DB on the bayou.The things that break and heal are strongest. Nah. That’s me trying to make sense of something that’s bigger than that. Human instinct. The winning play.

I want to keep drawing this, digging deeper, figure out why it is fucking good…

Illustration: Charlie Bannon of Calumet K

2016-07-24 Charlie Bannon cap

This is an illustration of one of my favorite fictional characters, Charlie Bannon, the wily man-with-a-plan from Merwin and Webster’s Calumet K (1901). I’ve been trying to capture this guy for a while, and I think with this drawing, I’m getting close. Translating the shadows of my imagination onto paper is a struggle.

The novel, set in 1901 Chicago, pits Bannon against banking collusion and labor strikes to complete a grain elevator before the bumper wheat crop arrives on the rails. He arrives to find the job hopelessly behind schedule and the odds stacked against him. Bannon never slows down for a minute. Expert at pulling a win from disaster, he uses know-how, strategy and daring to get the job done. Watching this guy in action is thrilling. Give it a try.












People Watch

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Time to catch up on my daily people watch and the sketches it produces. These ten drawings, the best of my lunch break efforts, cover several months. I like them because of their character and mood–several of these people aren’t even involved with their phones!–rather than because of their poses. It’s an ongoing challenge to see how much I can capture in just a minute or two while keeping a certain elegance or energy of line. I don’t succeed often, but there are moments…


Drawing Attention

2016-04 lady with glasses

It’s been a little while since my last post, but I’ve still been drawing, mainly the people I see on my lunch break, the ones paying more attention to their phones than the world around them. An artist’s dream. One of the frustrations of my daily drawings is that I only see people at a distance and can’t make very detailed studies, added to the fact that my subjects shift pose constantly and don’t stay very long. I really need a posed model, but until I can arrange for that, I make do without what is available. This lady was kind enough to be sufficiently engaged with her cell phone that she didn’t move and didn’t notice me looking at her. Thank you!

Cell Phones and Other Princely Domains

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I believe it may be my calling in life to draw people sitting alone in public places interacting only with their cell phones. At least, if not my calling, it’s what I do with my lunch hour. To each his own. Although, admittedly, there are a few laid back guys whose main occupation seems to be surveying their princely domains. My posture is better, but I guess I fall in with their lot…a watcher.

Why I’ve Decided to Stop Drawing Every Day

1980 summer pencilThree years ago, killing time on a lunch break, I got excited by a little sketch I made that seemed to have a touch of life in it, and I decided right there that I’d try to draw at least a little something every day. And I did. I was super-proud of myself because I’ve often declared the goal of a daily drawing practice, but couldn’t muster the discipline to maintain it.But this time it was easy.

For three years, anyway.

At the start, the sketches were very humble, and if I do anything like them now, I feel like I’m copping out. My standards have shifted. Also, at first, I was very excited to draw and to push my own limits and learn everything! But increasingly over time, it has felt like a chore. It shouldn’t feel that way on a regular basis, which must mean I’m doing it wrong. I’m pleased at the way I’ve regained skills almost to the high level I had in my early 20s, and I’m very afraid to lose that. The loss of skill and the shame of failing at daily drawing are thorns that have already begun to dig under the skin, but so be it. I can’t compete and I don’t want to. I’ll still draw, but only when I’m moved to make an image, to play with color and line, to discover pleasure in the skill. And if the result is worth sharing, you’ll find it here.


The Force Awakens in Miniature

2016-02-22 Force Awakens thumbnails detail clip2016-02-22 Force Awakens thumbnails clip

I can’t get enough of The Force Awakens.

I’ve seen it three times, read the novelization and watched innumerable YouTube videos full of hints, analysis and theories. And of course, I’ve drawn a few of the characters. Then I thought I’d try a series of minute thumbnails from my favorite trailer. What I thought I’d discover, I don’t know, but I ran out of page before finishing. There were 44 shots in the minute and a half I covered; the cuts were faster toward the end so there may well have been as many in the remaining 50 seconds. The patterns of movement were the most exciting thing, but I made no attempt to capture that. This time. I’ve got a few more ideas to explore–and I’m sure they’ll turn up here when I work them out.

Is this studying or playing? I’m not sure it matters. I love discovering how the images were put together and maybe deciphering what it means.

(media: markers and colored pencil)