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Thursday, June 12, 2008


This is what I was working on last night, a caricature of Keith Oberman for the New Yorker. In the first he's yelling out of his fourth floor Rockefeller Center office (shades of "Network") and in the second he's posing like Edward R. Murrow with a giant microphone. In the end we combined the two sketches and revved up Olberman's pose into something more manic. Then I did a watercolor final, emailed it and went to bed, before dawn even.

Both of these are fast ink sketches on semi-translucent paper, so I can slipsheet them and rework them by semi-tracing. It's my favorite way to work, fast and dirty, and I wish I could always work like this.


Kid Shay said...

Can't wait to see the final. Semi-translucent paper sounds like a really good idea! Does it come in a pad or do you get them as single sheets?

TimM said...

Architects and designers use a tracing paper that comes on a roll, yellow or white. It’s fragile but quite durable. I know that sounds contradictory but it’s great stuff. And you don’t need a light table to use it.

richardcthompson said...

This stuff is nothing too fancy, just Canson marker layout or something like that, and it comes in pads. My all-time favorite was one called Ad-Art made by Beinfang. I used it for years and it gradually became more expensive and scarcer. Now I think it's extinct. It was nowhere near as transparent or thin as tracing paper, and it was perfect for ink. The Canson stuff is the next best thing, almost.

Stacy Curtis said...

I like knowing that someone else is out there in the wee hours before dawn working like I am.

Those are my favorite hours to work. No interruptions, everyone is (or should be) tucked away in their beds, sleeping ever so quietly while we toil with ink and paint and fancy translucent paper.

Unfortunately, the more I work that schedule, the less it works out for me, I mean THEM, the OTHERS who roam this planet and loathe the fact I wake up at the crack of noon and love keeping vampire hours.

richardcthompson said...

Stacy, I've kept those hours for years now and I'm trying to get away from them because lately they always turn into all-nighters. My grandma was a night owl and so is my dad, and so is my eldest daughter. Escaping the late-night allure is an uphill battle.

Mike Lester said...

As a former denizen of the dawn, I found it hard to turn off my mind late at night in order to fall asleep. A shot of whiskey helped but it's a curse for your mind to continue to imagine gophers fishing. (don't ask).

Do chefs have that problem? Do they continue to think about Beef Wellington after they clock out. Nurses? Weathermen? And how the gosh darn heck do you put watercolor on tracing paper? That one will keep me up tonight.

Stacy Curtis said...

That is exactly my problem, my late night work hours turn into all-nighters. I usually go to bed when I see the day's first sunlight coming in the windows of my studio.
I don't want to give up those wonderful work hours, but they started causing health issues for me. Especially when I thought I could survive on 4 hours of sleep a day. Now that I'm older, not so much.

Mike Rhode said...

So, you giving the drawing to Al Feldstein?

richardcthompson said...

Hey, Mike R, I could, couldn't I? I just want an invitation to visit his dude ranch.

Stacy, yeah those lack-of-sleep hours are piling up on me and these days I can't shake them off like I used to.

Mike L, I know one chef who's said that, after a long day in the kitchen, he sometimes dreams he's still there. And I left out the last step; put the sketch on a light box and trace it onto watercolor paper. It's always the hardest step because recapturing the spontaneity of the sketch is a bugger. That's what keeps me awake at night.

kevin said...

You can see the published version of the drawing at the New Yorker site