As a teenager I made several drawings of old-fashioned schoolgirls with fairies, around 1983. There was this naughty blonde, and a 1920s-styled bobbed brunette in a sailor dress, who was holding out her palm, gently cupping the fairy. I gave the brunette to my best friend Skenney, and he framed it and for years when he needed to cut cocaine he would take down the frame and use the glass.
Watercolors have always been the bane of my existence, probably because I started using them without knowing how.
This drawing from 1981 of my friend Jenny telling a dragon to fuck off was abandoned when trying to add color went wrong.
This drawing, titled “Hansel and Gretel take LSD”, is from the same spring of 1981 as the drawing of Jenny.
And was abandoned for the same reason, my frustration that I just didn’t have the skills to depict the scene the way I wanted, particularly when it came to color.
Abandoned for the same reason.
In 1981 I made a drawing of a weeping princess that was one of those drawings where as an artist you feel like you’re making a leap forward, finally getting somewhere. I loved it, but I gave it to Robert, an extremely kind old hippy (ha, he was probably 35! but he meant no harm at all to my fourteen-year-old self) who lived across the street from Stuyvesant.
I took another pass at it a year later, but couldn’t finish it – I got frustrated by trying to manage the watercolors, again.
The girl with a dragon shows a new approach to color, using only faint washes of color pencil. Color pencils were easier to control, but I did not like the way their waxy base obscured my careful Rapidograph linework.
I think this was drawn in 1984, shortly before I started reading comics, in the years when I read every damn Anne McCaffery book in the world, although damn some of them are problematic. I went back and re-read The Dragonriders of Pern last year and I was like, internalized misogyny much? And yet, Moreta stands up!
I gave it to my mom, and she took this photo of it in her house, where it has hung for decades, for my archiving project!
This drawing of a boy with an alien is actually a critique of American colonialism! The boy and the alien are each from a settlement on a new planet, and he has built a sand castle with a crude Earth flag.
He’s feeding the horse-like alien seductive sugar cubes! The alien has reservations, justifiably.
Below, the study I used to create the final drawing. The study has a note in the corner:
“My sentient being parental unit can beat up your sentient being parental unit!”
After Pauline Baynes. I loved that book as a kid, but now I am acutely conscious of the anti-Arab tone that permeates it. Aravis is such a marvelous character, though.
The version above has notes all over, for the intended colors, but I never started coloring it.
Girl in a brass bra. From late 1985 or winter 1986 – after I had encountered Ghita of Alizarr, for sure!
From around 1986, I think. The dwarves are very creepy! Before 1984, when I started reading comics and quickly decided to become a comic artist, I expected to be an illustrator. Maybe children’s books, maybe science fiction or fantasy. Or a fashion illustrator. I read more hard SF than fantasy, and knew I loved to draw women. But I produced very little voluntary work.
Making art has always felt like work to me, something done to achieve some kind of reward, not for fun.
So these drawings represent the few moments of play over the years from fourteen to twenty, my rare recreational drawings.
None of these drawings had ever been photographed; until now, no record of them existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.
I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.