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