Thoughts While Drawing

“How can people tell what my drawings are supposed to be? They’re just lines.”

I seriously think this ALL THE TIME. It amazes me that humans have the ability to fill in so much information by looking at a few lines on paper. How do we do that?

I still think my comics would be better if they were about punks. I love drawing punks. Skin Horse is mostly full of things that are hard to draw, like dogs, women’s clothing, and tiltrotor aircraft. I probably should have planned that better.

8 thoughts on “Thoughts While Drawing

  1. I’d cheerfully read a strip by you featuring half-naked punk chicks :-), but somehow your much self-deprecated art conveys living, breathing, engaging characters. How do you do that?

    And yeah, having tried a bit of drawing recently on dA, I have to agree that everything is hard to draw…

  2. Sunday:

    Funnily enough, it turns out that all of these thoughts were had while in the act of drawing each panel of today’s episode in which they’re portrayed.

    I remember this episode in particular being quite adorable when I first read it. I don’t really know why I thought the best line was “You know what’s hard to draw? / Everything.” when clearly the acid-trip revelation that “they’re just lines” is the best line.

    I suppose it’s a bit of a shame that for most Internet people Hokusai is known mostly for making Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (and possibly the Great Wave as well).

  3. “How can people tell what my drawings are supposed to be? They’re just lines.”

    OK, *that* one is clearly just exhaustion — when you stare at anything long enough, or repeat a word or name long enough, it starts to look or sound meaningless….

  4. “How can people tell what my drawings are supposed to be? They’re just lines.”

    You could say a painting is just blotches of color, too … until you watch something like this (be sure to stay all the way to the end):

  5. I think the reason we can tell what ‘just lines’ are is because we basically use them in interpreting the real world. Subconscious processes that are part of recognizing objects – a vital skill for, you know, not trying to eat a Golden Poison Frog (enough poisons, on average, to kill ten to twenty full grown humans!) because you thought it was a (slightly less toxic) Chicken McNugget – find edges and use those. And they’re fairly flexible at pattern matching, to be able to determine that eating that Phantasmal Poison Frog is probably a bad idea too.

    So, basically, you’re feeding enough information for object recognition with just the lines. If you /really/ want to understand how it works, go read up on things like Lucy, an orang-utan robot that learned to distinguish between a banana and an apple. Fascinating stuff.

  6. So can I just go on the record as saying that you’re far too self-conscious about your work, and leave it at that?

Leave a Reply