Why Draw Pictures?
Only two people have ever gotten angry when I drew their pictures: a Moroccan religious fundamentalist and a New York City cop.
I was 19 when I sat sketching in Fez’s Old City. I came to Morocco with a hallucinogen-chomping writer and an orientalist streak as deep as Fez’s open sewers. I abandoned both by the end of the trip. Besides motorbikes and street harassment, Fez’s main sounds were those of tour groups clomping toward their guide’s carpet shop. I didn’t want to be like them.
Tour groups took photos. They’d jam cameras into someone’s face. Before their subject could respond, they’d run off, happy to have proof that they’d stood somewhere quaint.
I’d curl up on filthy steps with my sketch pad. Street kids watched. Drawing was a monkey dance to prove that despite my dopey American face, there was still a skill I could rock. I’d draw the street kids. They’d scamper away with my sketches.
The man who didn’t like my drawings had the long gray beard of the religiously devout. One morning he ripped my drawing from my hands and shredded it with a satisfied grunt. Dopey-American-style, I burst into tears.
A decade later, I sat next to journalist Matt Taibbi in a New York misdemeanor court, watching a judge pressure brown men into plea bargains for walking their bikes on the sidewalk. I drew the cop who was guarding the courtroom. He looked as pink and shiny as a boil. The cop stormed over. “What are you doing?” he hissed.
“Drawing. It’s allowed.”
Crude Drawings of Hot Scenes from Literature
I hate when people say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I decided to draw a bunch of pictures that aren’t worth a thousandth of the words they were based on. Fortunately, I’m a perpetual eight-year-old at drawing, so this came naturally. I drew the pictures based on some scenes from books I remembered while seated on the floor at my coffee table drinking whiskey and apple juice, which means they might not be anything like the scenes at all, but only how they are now forever damaged in my brain.
Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H.
This scene is pretty much the only one in the whole book: a woman standing in her bedroom by a wardrobe from which a cockroach has just emerged. Lispector is able to maintain this scene for 173 pages, requiring little to no action and only the depth of her inborn disorientation and horror of several seconds to maintain a rigorous, insane monologue that floats behind my face like the color green.
Nick Gazin missed his comics column last week because he was at Art Basel. Not apologizing, just bragging.
Malcom X said that they call it the library because it is full of lies and he was right on the money. You can’t cheat learning to draw. There are no short cuts or “tricks,” just years of perseverance. Fortunately, all women are beautiful and learning to draw them is fun.
Here’s a drawing I did of a lady giving me a beej while I rested my sketchbook on her head. This is the very best way to learn how to draw women.