It’s the third Thursday of August, and time to post some Secret Stash material on Patreon. This month, I’m posting a whole lot of caricatures, mostly drawn for the New York Observer’s Eight Day Week column, which I illustrated from 1995 to 2008.
David Chelsea is watching:
with Bill Murray
All of these pieces were drawn in 2B pencil on coquille board, a paper with an embossed eggshell texture. When shot as line, a pencil sketch will resemble a stippled pen drawing. My technique at the beginning was to make an enlarged photocopy of a coquille board sketch on bristol paper, and add final details in ink. Because the Observer printed the drawings very small, I made the originals as tiny as possible. While I was still in New York, I delivered the art in person; later, when I moved to Portland, I sent the images by fax. When I got a computer in 1999, I switched from photocopies to scanned files that I would refine in Photoshop, and from fax to e-mail.
What I am posting on Patreon is the pencil drawings in their raw state, before they were tinkered with for publication. A lot of them have empty white areas that would later be filled with black using the bucket tool in Photoshop. Occasionally I would draw on the ends of paper cut from a larger sheet where another illustration had left some empty space, but most often I would cram as many drawings as would fit on a single 11 by 17 inch sheet. Typically I would be filling several sheets at any given time, adding a new drawing where there was an appropriately shaped space, and so one caricature may be separated by years from its closest neighbor.
Here is an example from the photocopy days that I found while looking for material for an upcoming blog post on Donald Trump, along with the final version on bristol:
For most of my run at the Observer, drawings ran in black and white, but eventually the paper switched to full color (though still printed on its familiar salmon-pink stock). At that point I added another stage, printing a pale copy of the original drawing onto watercolor paper, applying color to that, then combining the color piece with a bitmapped version of the original drawing in Photoshop, as in this caricature of Isabella Rossellini:
The celebrities depicted lean heavily towards the New York fashion and publishing worlds of the time, with figures like Norman Mailer, Donna Karan, and Tina Brown prominent. In the batch on Patreon, which I pulled more or less at random from a drawer, there happen to be two each of Audrey Hepburn, Martin Scorsese, Joan Didion, and Isaac Mizrahi.
Other celebrities who appear include Rudy Giuliani, Bill Clinton, John Travolta, Minnie Driver, Donovan, Marisa Tomei, Keanu Reeves, and Mel Gibson:
Membership has its privileges; all Secret Stash material is viewable by Patreon sponsors at the $4.99 level and above. Today I am also posting two more pages of my ongoing webcomic series, ARE YOU BEING WATCHED? In this scene, Mugg gets a good look at his soul:
(In the original 24 Hour Comic version of this story, Mugg’s soul takes the form of a garbanzo bean, a detail borrowed from the Paul Giamatti film Cold Souls. I changed it because I thought a demitasse cup is cuter).
Many thanks to the gifted Jacob Mercy for his work adding grayscale to my line drawings.
This episode of ARE YOU BEING WATCHED? is free for anyone to look at, as are all previous installments, but if you like what you see, feel free to $how your $upport!
Next week: Mugg’s first wish!