Drawn live during the taping w/ pen and index cards, stitched together in Photoshop.
Reviews of the show:
After years of working at a newspaper, my uncle Jeff quit his job to follow his true passion: preaching. My aunt Connie commissioned me to draw him an image of a tree with strong roots for his 50th birthday.
This kind of assignment is rough for me, because I’m not a fine artist. For the kind of drawing and cartooning I practice, drawing isn’t just a drawing, it’s more like picture-writing. It’s about writing with symbols…either conveying some kind of information or telling a story.
The biggest problem was that I was trying to be clever by using a cross for the tree trunk:
I almost drove myself crazy trying to get it to look recognizable.
And so, after endless drafts, I learned a valuable lesson:
Don’t try to be clever. Just draw.
As Faulkner put it, “Kill your darlings.”
I threw the cross idea out the window, and went with what I love to do: tell a story in a series of simple pictures.
The bonus of all this was that the tree I drew as the “final” in the series turned out to be the best one I came up with:
So Meg and I headed off and got a three-panel frame:
Voila! A tree triptych.
A couple of days later, I learned another valuable lesson: Do some research.
A tree is a slow explosion of a seed….When drawing a tree, always remember that every branch is more slender than the one that came before. Also note that the trunk splits into two branches, then those branches split in two, then those in two, and so on, and so on, until you have a full tree, be it straight, squiggly, curved up, curved down, or bent sideways by the wind.
You draw, you learn.
Here’s the drill:
Like I said before: nothing serious, just a fun way to pass a couple minutes and find some ideas.
This last card I used to take notes on an article about how language shapes the way we think:
(Marker on index cards.)
St. Vincent: cute girl from Dallas with a pretty voice and a guitar that will melt your face off.
A while back the Austin City Limits folks asked me to do a drawing for a tote bag. They’re not for sale yet at the ACL store, but they were selling a couple at the Heartless Bastards taping, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re heading to Studio 6A anytime soon…
UPDATE: Sara and Emily from KLRU tell me they’re for sale in the KLRU lobby!
This was so much fun: when I was a kid, I used to stay up late nights watching the Columbus, Ohio PBS station to catch Austin City Limits. I dreamed I might play on the stage one day…turns out I’d be drawing the stage! Life is strange.
(The drawing came from the Drive-By Truckers taping.)
Leonardo da Vinci used to suggest that art students “look at any walls spotted with various stains,” so as to “arouse the mind to various inventions.” Sandro Botticelli liked to throw a sponge wet with colored paints against a wall, then search out new landscapes in the resulting splatter.—Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World
I switched from coffee to tea at work, so every morning I take an index card and set my tea bag down on it, letting the card soak up the tea. Then, I shop for images on the card, and riff off those with some doodles and captions.
Nothing serious, just fun way to pass a couple minutes and find some ideas. You could probably do it with coffee rings, too. They’d be like little ensos.
I just bought an Aiptek A-HD+ 1080P HD cheapcam, and here’s a little test video I did of myself drawing.
As with any new
toy tool, I’m not real sure what I’m going to use it for. You get the tool first, and then you find a use for it…
Time-lapse videos of blackout poems?
Saw the amazing Neko Case and her band last night at Stubb’s.
And we spent a good deal of the time questioning Stubb’s as a venue…
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