Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cafe Society

Friday afternoons in the summer should be spent at a sidewalk table. I did this illustration several years ago for the Philadelphia Inquirer, art directed by Sue Syrnick. It was included in the American Illustration annual for that year.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Father, A Son and a Boat

I did this illustration for one of Nickelodeon's magazines. I think the boy might be imagining himself as George Washington.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Hair

I did a series of drawings about hair for the New Yorker, never used. But the extravagances conjured up were a lot of fun. I also wrote a picture book along the same lines. Children love exaggeration. Unfortunately, very few of them are editors. This drawing appeared in American Illustration.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Football

There is something atavistic about football. I refer to the world game, what we call soccer, from a strange elision of the words "association football." Watched from high above as commentators do it seems sublime and geometric. Up close it is both more vicious and more elegant. When I was writing about it I disliked the detachment of the press box (free food and drinks notwithstanding) and always watched from ground level, where I could feel the atmosphere and hear the verbal abuse. Otherwise personable chaps became something different on the field, willing to destroy and (worse) embarrass their opponents. And afterwards they'd be chums again, ordinary blokes like someone you might see working in a bank.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The American Pasttime

This ballplayer appeared in my sketchbook a couple of years ago. He's a bygone figure (note the baggy knickers.) His muscles are the kind you get hauling ice or baling hay, not from a syringe. He is a Honus Wagner type. With all the imaginative names in baseball it's surprising there isn't anyone named Honus playing today. I am going to see the Twins play tonight in their new outdoor stadium. I attended the last game at the old Met Stadium; a very cold football game. My son wishes I had torn out my seat and taken it home.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The World Cup

Half a lifetime ago I spent a lot of my time contemplating the game the rest of the world knows as football. I was writing for an alternative weekly, covering the elderly World Cup players who were spending their retirement in the NASL, which is how I got to interview Pelé and Beckenbauer, along with some second-rate but very amusing English players. All of these players were infinitely better than anyone America could produce at the time. One thing I learned is that soccer, or football, is an endless source of explanations for how the world functions. Somebody wrote a recent book along those lines, something I never got around to. But the metaphors are just as useful to an illustrator. Politics and business and other forms of global conflict take their form from the original ball game. I did this illustration for an insurance magazine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Real Baseball

I did this drawing for Harper's a few years ago. It's one of a series I drew of baseball players. (When I drew this I was visualizing Juan Marichal.) Sports belong to photographers, but I think a line drawing captures the essence better. Athletes are as elegant and interesting to draw as ballet, but except for horse racing Degas wasn't much of a sports fan and I don't think Rembrandt ever played or watched anything. I am thinking about doing a sketchbook of soccer players to celebrate the World Cup. Soccer was the game I played and wrote about for quite a few years.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Story Following a Road

I began this story on a two lane blacktop road in the countryside and followed it through exurbia, varieties of suburbia, into the city. There is no narrative other than the path itself. There are digressions, side streets that rejoin the main thoroughfare. There are places where the road disappears momentarily around or over or down a hill or into a tunnel. Some of the neighborhoods traversed are warrens of interesting loops and cul de sacs. Some are grittier, some rather posh. Where it will wind up I am not entirely sure. Maybe that is the point of the best kinds of adventures. One editor friend suggested I add some written narrative. I wonder if that would undermine it. Maybe a commentary track? This is essentially a silent film, but one without gags, without title cards. So far, anyway, it hasn't needed them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Swan, Champagne, Caviar

I did this illustration for the LA Times. The columnist was describing the kind of perfect Mother's Day he orchestrated in their house.