Here in Europe you see some European-ass stuff.

I had to draw this from memory, as I saw this French mama and her little girl on my way to a meeting.

Original drawing Suzanne ForbesI took the best mental snapshot I could, which was a good thing because seconds later there was a small scooter accident and the charming scene turned to skinned-knee tears. Since it’s from memory and I was focussed more on the overall scene, I can’t say if the maman was really wearing quintessentially French rope-soled espadrilles, capris and a careless chignon. Since I can’t ride a bicycle and have no idea how they work, I used a reference picture of one that seemed right.

But the little girl, I guarantee you, is exactly how she appeared on an early summer evening, heading home with mama, possessed of exquisite sang-froid.

This kind of highly detailed and clean line drawing, with very little variation in line weight or idiosyncrasy in mark-making style, is the kind of drawing I specialised in as a teenager. Before I made the decision to draw comics at seventeen or eighteen, I had expected, since childhood, that I would be some kind of commercial illustrator. Children’s books, fashion ads, something like that. I’d developed a clean and precise style that would reproduce well. I had a full Rapidograph set and i was using the harrowing, exhausting-to-maintain 6xo.

But when I committed to comics, a whole world of new technical requirements opened up, like attention to light and dark values in a composition and the need for advanced perspective and anatomy skills, and I turned my focus to developing those. Sometimes I think it’s too bad, because these delicate drawings, their coherence dependant mostly on pattern and silhouette, are sort of pretty. My mom has some of the nicest ones framed.

1 thought on “Here in Europe you see some European-ass stuff.

  1. Pat Ketchum

    I love the look on the little girl’s face and the complete drawing for that matter. I treasure the early drawings I have.

    Reply

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