My friends Beth and Vic are good people, and good looking people, and I can't draw them so they look like the Beth and Vic that I see and know. I could draw them as a generic, good looking couple horribly disfigured in a bad drawing accident, but what would be the point? Instead, I draw Vic as a harmonica playing Jack-in-the-box clown and Beth as a ukulele playing mermaid whose hair is made of music.
You see, Beth and Vic are wonderful musicians in a band called Toy Box, and Beth likes the doodles or sketches or sketchels or dootches that I occasionally post on my blog, and so she asked me to do a drawing for their band poster. This gave me great anxiety as people DO NOT ask me to draw. And to make matters worse, Beth calls me an artist and never uses the necessary adjective that makes me more comfortable and less anxious—a bad artist.
To illustrate, this is how I typically draw: I start by putting two dots on the page—okay, those are the eyes, I say to myself. And then I scribble around the dots—okay, those are the eyebrows. And then I move my pen in nose and mouth fashion, sometimes adding a chin or ears if I feel like it, and then I cap it all off with a big bunch of scribbled hair, and I usually do this in about ten seconds.
Bad art does not require long sessions at the drawing board and that's how it should be. I don't want to be like a karaoke singer who makes you suffer the entire length of the song they are butchering. Now, I admit, I am like a karaoke singer in the sense that I have no desire to please my audience, but I am merciful. I kill and I kill quickly and you only need to glance at my sketchel or dootch for a millisecond to decide if you need to look away—which you are free to do—and so encouraged.
A little art history is in order. Van Gogh learned how to draw figures so they looked like figures before he went impressionistic. Take a look at The Potato Eaters and you will see people eating potatoes who look like people eating potatoes, fingers that look like fingers, and heads with proportional eyes, noses, and mouths. I have the luxury of NOT being Van Gogh so I skipped the learning to draw part and went straight into my impressionistic phase. I did this because I am not able to draw fingers (or toes or bodies or potatoes) and I have no ambition to learn, nor do I intend to get better.
And while I'm attempting honesty here, let me point out a couple things about the drawing above. When I am drawing something that is supposed to look like something I stray from free hand and I trace the something I can't draw. Yes, that's right, I am a tracist. I also can't draw things at different angles. I am not like the masterful Bill Watterson who can draw Calvin spinning in a circle and perfectly capture his movement and form in every position of the turn. I draw heads and I usually draw them in profile and I stop there. Well, if I'm feeling particularly motivated I may add a stick figure body. I'm not proud of this, but were these my only character flaws I would be out dancing in the street.
When I draw I believe I am taking a journey of self-discovery in which I will never answer these important questions: What defines me? What makes me tick? Why am I still drawing?
My friend Steve Fanelli has been drawing and painting since he was a little kid. He has nurtured his God-given talent over the years and matured into a real artist and a great real artist at that (Google him and see for yourself). So if I really need something to look arty, as if done by an artist, I call Steve.
As for me and my bad habit (art), I think I really do know why I do it. You ever watch a kid sitting on the floor with a big piece of sketch paper, destroying a box of Crayons in the process of drawing the world's worst rainbow? Of course you have, you did it yourself once, and when you presented your retched rendering of this miracle of nature to your teacher or your parent you did it with a great big smile. You didn't give a shit if it was great art—it was your art.
Well, this is my art, and as long as I can convey the idea I want to convey, I still don't give a shit. I know who I am. I am the destroyer of Crayons—and shamefully happy about it.