When he isn’t running his own animation Studio, my friend Steve publishes an excellent web magazine for animators called FLIP. Recently, for an up-coming article, he asked his animation friends for some of their childhood drawings. This sent me on a hunt for a pile of old, yellowed paper I knew I had some place…. Here are a few scans from that stash. First, behold this epic battle-spread of German Knights VS English Knights. Gasp!
I’ve always drawn, for as long as I can remember, and these drawings here are certainly not my earliest (my toddler-scribbles are probably in a pile, along with those of all my siblings, collected by my Mother and hopefully still at my Dad’s house). These date from that period when I began to take an active interest in drawing, not simply doing it but also thinking about it; consciously trying to get “better” by understanding how other people did it. In my case, this fascination began in 1972, the year that I turned 8 years old.
The previous year, we had just moved to a new town. I often wonder if the period of alienation that followed inspired the escapism of drawing. But it is quite possible that this interest would have happened anyway. I had always loved animation and you can see some attempts to draw famous cartoon characters were there right from the very beginning. Though these few scribbles shown here are of famous DISNEY characters, the cartoons that played most often on TV were by WARNER BROTHERS and they were the ones that made me laugh the hardest and consequently got most of my attention.
I became even more fascinated by cartoons, beyond the fact that they made me laugh. I tried to figure out why the drawings were so good. “How come I can’t draw like that?” I have never understood why the inability to do something “well” was sometimes off-puting to me; leading to the abandonment of certain pursuits (mathematics, sport) whereas, my inability to draw was an obstacle to overcome and explore. Of course, this choice is unique to each individual. Other people (most, in fact) give up drawing to pursue other things.
Seeing this crude page of BIRD drawings (an attempt to draw the Warner Brothers CHICKEN HAWK so obsessed with Foghorn Leghorn) brings back a vivid memory of a frustrating day trying to draw BEAKS… “How do they make the beaks look so good in cartoons?” I still have a scrapbook of images cut from magazines that I would look at, from this period. Single-panel gag-cartoons, pages from Mad magazine and so on… Hilariously, around this time I also compiled a crude “portfolio” (using some left-over wallpaper from the renovation of our new house for the cover) because someone had told me that artists needed a portfolio. These drawings survive mainly because I had kept them in that binder.
A few years later, when my drawings began to improve, I became ashamed of these early scribblings and almost threw them out in a fit of self-consciousness. But I am glad now that I did not. I will post more from later years when I have scanned them.