○ hand-to-hand ○
it was almost 3 o’clock in the morning, and i was drawing to keep myself awake. it’s a trick of which i made frequent use in both high school and college classes, and it never once worked, so why i thought it would be any more effective on the 7 train is not entirely clear. but i had just completed a 12-hour day and didn’t want to miss my stop and figured i had to try something.
i started out attempting likenesses of my fellow passengers, but quickly realized that sketchy bastards were more than adequately represented in our subway car without me joining their leering ranks. and so i settled for the one subject that’s always handy, pun inevitable.
any ninth-grade art student can tell you that hands are, as a subject matter, obvious, clichéd, and boring, by which he will mean hard. they can, i think, pose a particular problem for cartoonists, especially those who cultivate extremely minimal styles. bold visual reductions can often feel ill-equipped to represent so complex an appendage. and yet there is no shortage of brilliant cartoonists who manage to create lovely, expressive digits without getting fussy or otherwise undermining their visual dialect.
[ case in point: jeff smith‘s bone, pictured at right. ]
○ girlcate says you can take the measure of a chef, no matter how elite, by watching him prepare a simple egg dish, and i sometimes wonder if hands aren’t the visual artist’s eggs. the ninth-graders may be right, after all, about hands and blahness; they are probably more compelling when used as a basic component of a larger and more complex dish. in isolation, they may also tell you more about their chef then he wants you to know; perhaps more than he wishes to know himself.
but i, for one, don’t mind being reminded, every so often, of how much is left to learn.