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.












Identity: 1 + 1

This Week in the Movies…

While reading Jeanine Basinger’s The Star Machine (2007), I’ve been inspired to watch some of the old movies she talks about, along with others that catch my attention. The two from Basinger I chose this week were Taxi! and Theodora Goes Wild. My sister and I watched Love and Friendship, and I added another Melvyn Douglas picture, plus  Greystoke–a favorite back in 1984 when it was released.

  • She Married Her Boss (1935)–Claudette Colbert, Melvyn Douglas
  • Theodora Goes Wild (1936)–Irene Dunn, Melvyn Douglas
  • Love and Friendship (2016)–Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Morffyd Clark
  • Taxi! (1932)–James Cagney, Loretta Young
  • Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan (1984)–Christopher Lambert, Andie McDowell, Ralph Richardson

Greystoke held up pretty well across the intervening decades, though on the small screen it lacks some of the impact it had in the theater. Of all the films, this one most clearly asked questions of identity: Are we our genetic heritage? The accidents of our childhood? Christopher Lambert’s Lord Greystoke chooses to be the crossroads of nature and nurture. And God, the imagery is gorgeous. Including Chistopher Lambert. He carries the theme wordlessly: perfect as a wild creature and equally commanding in his bearing as a gentleman, his eyes always suggesting a searching intelligence.

Last week I saw Irene Dunne and Cary Grant in The Awful Truth and was looking for another of her pictures to watch. Since I’d just seen–and loved–Melvyn Douglas as the cranky all-work boss in She Married Her Boss, I decided to go with Dunne and Douglas in Theodora Goes Wild. It’s odd that I’ve been watching so many screwball comedies, because, constitutionally, I’m ill-equipped to enjoy them. As soon as the obvious pairing starts to get screwed up, my anxiety levels rise and refuse to budge till the final seconds of the film when everything ends well. This was less of a problem in Boss because Colbert was so obviously the master of the situation and it was only a matter of time till Douglas woke up to the fact. That was a fun film with a lot of comic moments, but the ending felt tacked on and abrupt and completely out of character for Douglas. Identity is at issue for this mismatched couple too: the secretary he prided himself on understanding, the woman who thought she had been married for love. I can only guess they’ll be even more confused with each other after the end, but at least they are laughing.

Theodora was another matter entirely. Both Douglas and Dunne take turns ruining each others lives, both instances of which I found hard on the nerves. Jake the Dog though was a bonus in Douglas’s turn at wrecking ball. I also wasn’t convinced that Douglas ever had feelings for Dunne–it was never in his eyes, his voice or his manner–but you could tell she’d gone soft on him long before she admitted it. Identity was rather the point of the secrets in the movie. The best question it asked was whether there was more truth in our quotidian lives or in our imaginations. My favorite bit along those lines is when Dunne first enters Douglas’s apartment to find it the perfect incarnation of a scene in her novel.

Love and Friendship is a Jane Austen adaptation, which I’m always most willing to see, especially one that, while leaving the 18th century dialogue intact, renders it as natural to f the story as the costumes and period sets. Lady Susan, played with glib indifference by Kate Beckinsale, is a piece of work that even a chess grand-master would be challenged to out-maneuver. The only matter of identity here is the issue of the plus-one: who shall one marry? Lady Susan does not believe in being the victim of birth or fortune. She’s a bracing tonic, though not exactly a role model.

Last of all is Taxi! Its’ the story of a pair of young lovers caught up in the taxi wars on 1930s New York. I’m not sure how much of it made sense, though may be historically true, but it’s an excuse for Cagney to exhibit his hair-trigger temper, dance a bit, crack wise and romance the girl. The girl is Loretta Young ad she’s not afraid to dish it back to Cagney. It’s exciting to watch the two of them in their scenes together–they spark like live wires at each other. Hot stuff for a sultry Sunday afternoon. I liked that they were secure enough in each other to really fight, no holds barred; they’re a couple, sure, but they are separate people with their own motivations and ways to work things out.

Ike Duckworth–Chapter 16

Guy Debord

Guy Debord

It seems a good time to introduce one of our protagonist’s heroes, Monsieur Guy Debord. First of all, Debord was French–very important for Fred–and a Marxist writer and filmmaker, probably best known for his book, The Society of the Spectacle. (You can read it here… and good luck.) It’s a seminal document for the Situationists, a loose association of French intellectuals and artists who gathered in the 1950s, of which band of merry provocateurs Fred would love to think himself a part, though they unraveled in personal squabbles and political differences not long before Fred was born. Oh, what could be a sweeter dream than a bunch of jargon-slinging French intellectuals smoking heavily, drinking at least as hard, and arguing the day away? For Debord, late capitalism has turned us all into consumers content with phony, mechanized, second-hand lives, sort of like all the plugged in drones of The Matrix. The Situationists wanted to undo all that, and not with a little red pill; they believed in creating situations, moments of real life, authentic encounters, adventure, liberation. They even had an urban architectural theory, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Now that I have made up for this extremely short chapter, I’ll leave you to it.

Continue reading

Prizes of Janet Frame

The Reservoir, short stories by Janet Frame (1963) Angel

I got interested in New Zealand writer Janet Frame after watching the film, An Angel at My Table (1990), based on her memoirs. Very loosely based, as some critics will have it, but it’s still a good film. Poverty, shyness, creative interests and possibly other issues marginalize Frame as much as her location far from the cultural mainstreams of the 1950s. I recently picked up one of her short story collections, The Reservoir (1963), and though I’ve not finished it, I was especially taken by the story, “Prizes.”

Life is hell, but at least there are prizes. Or so one thought.

These words open the story, and are Frame’s most frequently quotes lines. A lifetime is packed into these seven pages, so much of innocence and its misunderstandings, of desire and disappointment and unanswered needs, but also how easily, especially in childhood, the most precious things we have, even what we are, can be sullied by the remarks and silent judgments of other people. Children may not understand what they see, but they know what they feel, often with more clarity than adults. “I did not realize that people’s actions are mysteries that are so seldom solved” our narrator says, yet the reader has no trouble parsing much that the child cannot.

The story begins in the eyes of a little girl and the style seems as simple and straightforward as a child’s essay, but the visual imagery—bright poppies, wheeling crows, a burnished dock leaf, curdled milk, boys like rabbits—creates a poetic overlay. Colors are vivid with meaning: all that is rosy, red and orange, is good and full of life; white, while clean, milky and welcome, is aggressive and unreliable; black is shame and death; and all the rest of the world is drab gray and dirty brown. As the child gets older, life seems bleaker; the hierarchy of the world and its dismal end are increasingly oppressive as she is distanced from the people around her. And still she doesn’t understand.

Poverty is the water she swims in, like a fish, without seeing it, but her poverty goes deeper, generations deep, drowning in neglect, emptied of all but a striving and observant mind. Over and over, the brightness fades and dims, she sees it, she strives for all that’s polished, gold, best, but prizes aren’t enough. It makes you wonder: Is anything?

I love Frame’s spare, poetic style, while being intrigued by a certain oddness in her vision of life in the world. This year, I’ll definitely be reading as many of her books as I can find.

62 Books

  1. Sinclair Lewis, The Trail of the Hawk (1914)tree_of_knowledge_BW
  2. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street, (1920)
  3. Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1865)
  4. Sinclair Lewis, The Job (1915)
  5. Will Eisner, Comics and Sequential Art (1985)
  6. John Berger, About Looking (1990)
  7. Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
  8. Sinclair Lewis, The Innocents (1917)
  9. Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1853)
  10. Sinclair Lewis, Free Air (1919)
  11. Margot Livesy, Eva Moves the Furniture (2001)
  12. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)
  13. Walter Crane, Line and Form (1900)
  14. Ralph Adams Cram, Toward the Great Peace (1922)
  15. Ken Ilgunas, Walden on Wheels (2013)
  16. Mike Mignola, The Amazing Screw-On Head (2010)
  17. Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy (1992)
  18. Carol Armstrong, Cezanne in the Studio (2004)
  19. Ramiel Nagel, Cure Tooth Decay (2011)
  20. Richard Thomson, Edgard Degas: Waiting (1995)
  21. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1839)
  22. Frederick Buechner, Brendan (1987)
  23. Michel Daguet, Portrait of Jeanne Kéfer (2004)
  24. Barry Unsworth, Morality Play (1995)
  25. Elizabeth Cropper, Pontormo: Portrait of a Halberdier (1997)
  26. Arthur Wesley Dow, Composition (1914)
  27. Masterpieces of the Getty, Illuminated Manuscripts (1997)
  28. Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickelby (1839)
  29. Edmund Sullivan, Line: An Art Study (1922)
  30. Goldner and L. Hendrix, European Drawings 2 (1992)
  31. Bruce Perry, Fitness for Geeks (2012)
  32. M-M Gauthier and G. Francois, Medieval Enamels (1981)
  33. Patricia Anderson, Images of Charity, Conflict and Kingship (1981)
  34. Kristen Kimball, The Dirty Life (2010)
  35. Elizabeth Teviotdale, The Stammheim Missal (2001)
  36. Manga Study Society, How to Draw Manga, Vol. 3 (2000)
  37. J. Holmes, Notes on the Science of Picture-Making (1920)
  38. Charles Maginnis, Pen Drawing: An Illustrated Treatise (1903)
  39. John Crowley, Little, Big (1981)
  40. Andrew Loomis, The Eye of the Painter (1961)
  41. Paul Graham, Hackers and Painters (2004)
  42. Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half (2013)
  43. Arthur Guptill, Why Architects Still Draw (2014)
  44. Paolo Belardi, Lectures on the Science of Human Life (1849)
  45. John Caspar Lavatar, Aphorisms on Man (1724)
  46. Veronika Sekules, Medieval Art (2001)
  47. JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1998)
  48. JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999)
  49. Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul (1993)
  50. R. Poore, Pictorial Composition (1903)
  51. Rudyard Kipling, Stalky & Co. (1899)
  52. JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
  53. Henry James, Picture and Text (1893)
  54. Henry James, Washington Square (1880)
  55. James Hillman, The Soul’s Code (1996)
  56. Jay McInnerny, A Hedonist in the Cellar (2006)
  57. Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential (2000)
  58. MFK Fisher, Musings on Wine and Other Libations (2012)
  59. Kenneth Patchen, But Even So (1968)
  60. Theodule Ribot, Essay of the Creative Imagination (1906)
  61. MFK Fisher, A Cordiall Water (1961)
  62. Auberon Waugh, Will This Do? (1991)

Behold the prodigious reading of the past year… A few of these books I’ve written about already and I’m sure a few themes are obvious….drawing instruction books from the early 1900s… comics… art historical books (long ago college major)…six novels by Sinclair Lewis, five by Dickens…dabbled a bit more with Henry James (his novel What Maisie Knew, 1897, I read last year; it was a favorite)… and toward the end of the year, books on cooking and wine.

Little, Big was a book that came to me as a recommendation. The first part was some of the most pleasurable fiction I’ve ever read, fantastically imaginative in the way the first 200 pages of Helprin’s Winter’s Tale was; the middle painful, poignant, but perfect in its breath-stopping way; but the end was such a disappointment that I can’t in good faith recommend it. When it was right, it was as inevitably perfect as an elegant mathematical equation, but its failures felt like failures of vision, perhaps a desire in Crowley to make an end to the gigantic task he’d set out upon. Yet I will re-read it one day, hoping that the magic at the start is not tainted by my knowledge of the unconvincing end.

My choices were varied this year, drifting back as far as the 18th century and as contemporary as 2013’s Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas and Allie Brosh’s very funny comics on depression Hyperbole and a Half. I truly, deeply loved the Ilgunas book, which would be no surprise to those who know me, fondly I hope, as a bit of a tightwad. Ilgunas was buying freedom with his frugality and so am I. A great read about a very determined (and smart) young man. Brosh is best when she writes about dogs; she also draws them exceptionally well, not so much in a da Vinci sort of way, but more that her pictures capture the souls of dogs. Her style can be pretty goofy, but effective just the same.The other smart man I was excited to discover was  Paul Graham. His essays are profoundly insightful: he has a way of finding a new perspective on controversial ideas and curious phenomena, leading you through his thought process in his lucidly constructed arguments. God, I love smart people! I now read everything he writes as soon as it’s posted.

The “bests” though were the early Sinclair Lewis novels, Trail of the Hawk being the favorite of the ones I read this year (Our Mr Wrenn, another favorite, I read late last year.) There’s something about the sense of life you find in the writing in the early 19th century that I can’t get enough of. It’s a picture of youth and optimism, of chasing dreams and holding onto ideals, and when it’s important, going your own way. Maybe it’s the belief in progress and limitless horizons, a conviction in the goodness of living, that seems so utterly alien to the world we live in now. Reading these books is a refreshing, hip-pocket vacation. But it was apparently no easier for these writers to hold to these values than it is for the rest of us. Past 1920, it’s gone from Lewis: I found Main Street a depressing inversion of his previous values, though oddly, for a dystopian-future novel, It Can’t Happen Here was not so bad. Same goes for James Branch Cabell, another favorite writer, but it took a bit longer for cynicism to overrun his work. I feel I have an essay in me about the writers of this period, but I’m not done ruminating on it yet. Meantime, these books will be part of my regular, re-reading rotation.

Reading is a real adventure for me. I don’t travel much or do much that’s daring, except in my head. I never know where I’ll end up when I start reading or even what sort of thing will appeal, and while I do try to complete certain programs of study, half the joy is the serendipity of finding a kindred spirit in the pages of the book. Some of the best people I’ve known live in them….and always will.


Week in Review

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Quite a lot of little drawings this week, done sporadically. This week I enjoyed studying the sketchbook pages of David Shelton–he frequently posts pages from old sketchbooks along with his new work. He consistently seems to draw A LOT. I really enjoy his loose way of capturing gesture, expression and character. I feel that a little copying breaks me out of my ruts and frees me up. I don’t think my two color drawings from the weekend–both Harry Potter themes (Books 6 and 3)–resemble Shelton’s work at all, but without all the drawing I did thanks to his inspiration, I doubt they would have happened. They were really fun to do and even I like them. I’ve tried doing more realistic drawings of the Potter characters before but I think the more playful style better suits my best feelings about the books.

Six Books


  • MFK Fisher, A Cordiall Water (1961)
  • Auberon Waugh, Will This Do? (1991)
  • Jay McInerney, Bacchus & Me (2000)
  • Theodule Ribot, Essay on the Creative Imagination (1906)
  • Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams (ed.), Meeting the Shadow (1991)
  • JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)

I’m always vaguely aware that I have a few books going at once, but I was a little surprised to discover how many I’m reading right now. Six. See, it’s all about the different reading circumstances: the bedside books, ones on my work table at home, things to read on the bus. It’s also a fact that I ordered way too many books from the library in a gout of bibliophilic enthusiasm, and when they—naturally—all came at once, I faced a task requiring disciplined, dedicated readership. I am very good at that; it is one of the few personally useful skills I picked up in grad school. Not to say I don’t enjoy it–I could read all day.

As you can see, there is a refreshing variety in my reading material. Fisher is warm and chatty, sharing her experiences and research into old “cures,” while Waugh’s biography is cynical and amusingly self-deprecating. Both would have been great dinner guests, full of humor and stories, quirks and preferences to keep conversation flowing across a long, leisurely meal. Or so I imagine it…

McInerney writes in such a boisterously poetic way about wine with metaphors that come alive for me. I’m too much of a novice to do much with apricot fruit, tar and leather undertones and long finishes, but when he described one wine as the Catherine Denueve to the other’s Baywatch blonde I knew what he meant precisely. Art, poetry, literature all are part of his metaphorical mix. I enjoy that he will describe the rare, “life-changing” treasures you’ll likely never taste while giving practical advice on where to find an exquisite experience for under $20 a bottle. I haven’t read his novels, but maybe I should; he seems to have a unique vision.

Ribot’s book is in the line of fin de siècle books on art and creativity I have been consuming this year. There is a particular flavor to the works of that time, of people meeting their lives and their work in clean open air, with the sun about to rise and nothing to stop them from joy and achievement. I intend, one day, to write an essay about this sense of life—to steal a term from Ayn Rand, who, whatever you may think of her philosophy and politics, captured this sense of élan in her novels—especially as embodied in illustration, Frank Capra films, and the early writing of Sinclair Lewis. One day I will, definitely. Ribot is serious and scientific in that “we now know everything” way of the 19th century that makes Sherlock Holmes so much fun. One of my favorite things is tracking down his casual references to men of letters and science strewn throughout his book, men mostly long-forgotten. Without the Internet, it would be impossible…or really really frustrating.

The essays about confronting the Shadow elements of one’s personality was taken from my shelves during my dismally depressed summer, as was Harry Potter, who always cheers me up. (Though anymore, it’s mostly the fandom that makes me merry.) I’m still moving steadily through both works, though my mood is much improved. I’m sure they are both partially why it is much improved, though other elements, personal, cultural and bibliophilic, all have done their work.

I have a few more Fishers and McInerneys on the shelf to read and I am looking forward to getting my hands on Tom Spanbauer’s new book, I Loved You More. It’s been out since April! How in the world did I miss that fact? I’ll likely finish about half of these before year-end, bringing my total for 2014 to around 65 books. It seems like a lot until I realize how many things I still want to read….

Week in Review: Art Inspiration

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I had some fun yesterday at the Handmade Arcade craft show with my friend, Greg: he did his Christmas shopping and I bought cards, art by April Bleakney and children’s comic books by Nathaniel Taylor. (Nathaniel’s blog, Something’s Out There, has great content too–check it out.) The last time I went was years ago when it was held in the cold, grubby warehouses of Construction Junction, and the atmosphere was one of a fun, impromptu grunge party. The food, served from folding tables, was offered by small local restaurants. This year the show was held in the spartan, white-walled Convention Center, with food offered from a concession stand. (It may have been catered by a local restaurant, but it didn’t look inviting so I didn’t find out.) Considering the crowd-volume, a place that size was a necessity. I think the vendor selection was much better though, and it was a pleasure to spend a few moments talking with the artists.

As for my own work, I didn’t do as much this week as I might have wanted to, though several hours did go into gift-related work. I didn’t get to the museum to sketch Thursday night either; it had been an exhausting day and when 5 o’clock came, I was ready to go home and crawl in bed. Maybe next week. I’d say my drawings were evenly divided this week between sketches from life and from photo reference, and overall, I like what I made. Maybe in another 40,000 sketches, I’ll start to do really brilliant and abundant work, but till then, I have a lot of new inspiration from all I saw this weekend.

Hard Luck Boys: Oliver Twist (1839) and The Butcher Boy (1992)

twist3 butcher-boy-patrick-mccabe-paperback-cover-art

I read these books in sequence, not intentionally, but they made an interesting juxtaposition. Oliver Twist was new to me—I’ve been working through the Dickens novels all year—but The Butcher Boy was a re-read. As Dickens goes, Oliver was not one of my favorites. The initial escapes and ordeals held my attention, but as they repeated, my patience flagged. Not again? Dickens was writing a serial, so dangers and reversals at every turn kept his readers on the hook, week by week.

My other problem was with the beatific goodness of Oliver himself and his role as Victim. He never stood up for himself, planned escapes or fought back; nothing affected him for better or worse. I felt sorry for the kid, but I didn’t like him. Dickens had latched onto the growing notion of his times that childhood was a special province of innocence and purity that needed protection, not simply a stage in which future adults were shorter in size and skill. Oliver is the embodiment of this glowing ideal. I’m not sure how true Oliver reads to modern eyes; I’m sufficiently jaded to think him unreal. The child that lit up the book, however, was the Artful Dodger. Corrupted young, he still had the pluck, energy and enthusiasms of youth, qualities the vulnerable Oliver notable lacked. Someone protect the sweet thing! The text seemed to lament. I’d rather have more of the resourceful Dodger any day.

Which brings us to self-styled man of adventure, Francie Brady. Fueled by comic book heroes, movie idols and the family stories of his romantic (if failed) parents, Francie thinks he’s moving through a simple boy’s tale, but then, he thinks a lot of things that aren’t quite so. Like Oliver, he’s a victim, but of a very different kind of neglect, but unlike Oliver, Francie reacts. He’s frightened, angry and extreme, but even something as ordinary as running away from home, has devastating consequences. Both of these boys live lives of uncommon hardship. Oliver, in spite of all, remains serenely innocent and good. So does Francie Brady, to a degree. Innocent, he is, perhaps, protected by his crazy self-conceits, but good he cannot remain. Francie seems never to really know what hit him; or rather, he knows what hit him—the Nugents—but he seems incapable of understanding the chain of events their arrival unleashes. Some essential innocence remains with him; otherwise, it’s doubtful readers could remain sympathetic. The extraordinary first-person voice of the book goes a long way here. Francie often relates things he clearly misunderstands, though adult readers can draw more accurate conclusions. In fact, Francie can’t seem to escape from his aborted childhood, even as his friends grow up and move on; he has trapped himself in the only vision of life he knew as good. And yet, Francie makes a certain peace with life, in the end; Oliver is merely rescued at last by kindly adults.

Both Dickens and McCabe manage to show how terrifying and difficult childhood can be: children often don’t understand what’s happening, have little self-control, almost no idea of how they affect life around them and have no real way to escape any of it. Dickens, reformer that he is, admonishes adults to care more for the tender young spirits, to save them from the world, rallying us to change; while McCabe suggests that maybe the world can’t touch what is most innocent in us and that, in spite of every horror, self-created and otherwise, we can make peace with life. The world is the world, big and messy; best see to yourself.

Good advice, lest you become, or create, another Francie Brady.

Week in Review

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Really a week of ups and downs….mid-week I was about useless and did very little, but what there is has a nice variety. I felt very strong this weekend especially… I started with color and a very loose style of drawing, very exaggerated, much like the wild style I used just out of high school. I just can’t seem to let go like I did then, but then, I felt I was lousy at art and had no audience…no more art class at school (same place I learned I was mediocre at best)… so it didn’t matter what I did. Funny how it’s that style of all the ways I’ve worked across the years that I wish I could get back, that and the feeling of pressure-less freedom, of drawing just for fun. Now I’m ambitious to improve, to make beautiful things, and it’s probably holding me back.

The marker drawing was one in which I was trying to incorporate things I was learning from a curmudgeonly Loomis book, The Eye of the Painter (1960) and from Pen Drawing by Charles Maginnis (1903). The woman, Joann Gonchar, is an editor for Architectural Record which I get at work. I liked her face and made the picture. I went a little too far with the shading, but overall it’s good. The Loomis book has its moments, but he’s so cranky and judgmental in other sections it bothered me. The Maginnis book though was great. I love books, art, just about anything from that era. Real skills, technique, concern about Beauty. Love it. Great illustrations, too.

I did a number of very quick sketches of the lunch crowd during the week, trying again to loosen up. I liked some of the poses and want to do more with them, but they are nothing much to look at. I did like the line drawing of the man on the phone. He’s a very elegant older gentleman I see around sometimes, but he rarely stops in the lobby. This time though he did (must have been me repeating stop stop stop in my head that changed his mind.) I may have elongated him a bit but he had great style. What a pleasure. I hope my drawing like that doesn’t annoy people.

The photography of Daniel Murtagh inspired the watercolor/marker drawing (I found his work through Pinterest). I liked the way this one came out; it did pretty much what I wanted it to do. The ink drawing was less satisfactory, always the problem of what you imagine versus your skills (or lack thereof). But I kind of like the pencil drawing, especially the silvery way it scans. I took more care on laying it out than I usually do, but my pencil skills were the really stumbling block. So it goes. practice, practice. And that’s the week!