For the past few days, I’ve been working in Procreate1 on my iPad Pro2, getting the hang of drawing with an Apple Pencil3. I’m very late to the game. I’m sure I’ve even missed the seventh-inning stretch. I’m arriving as people are leaving their seats, heading to their cars to avoid the inevitable rush and jam once the game is actually over.
And yet—having missed out on the national anthem, six and a half innings of disputed calls, plays at the plate, and waiting for the pitcher to throw the damned ball somewhere other than at first base—I am instantly engaged. This is the best, easiest, loosest and most natural drawing experience I’ve enjoyed since liquid ink rolling ball pens4 on printer paper or a Rapidosketch5 on index cards.
I’m working on a series of images, with simple lines and simple color (far less purple than this prose), based on my experience of the high dessert—the American Southwest—from a Greyhound6 trip I made to Taos, New Mexico7, in 2007. That was a long time ago, and Taos is the sleepiest place I’ve ever visited, having drawn a dark veil over my mind, eyes, and heart for the duration of my time there. But there are still pieces of it stuck, like worn-down shards in my head, pressing against a compulsive neuron, firing up synapses which have had eleven years to recover from being drenched by their first monsoon8.
When the medium is good, or good enough, inspiration flows, and ideas crash in like those quick, clean rains, washing away roads built wrong and lighting up sand-strewn corners obscured in darkness and in dust.
Which is my purplest way of saying “Southwestern symbolism is great for drawing cheesy cartoons. Yes, even the one drawn in the bathroom. Yes, even the single-stroker drawn with the previously-broken, dysfunctional pinky finger that never quite healed correctly. Inspiration hits when it wants to.”
That leaves me with the problem of what to actually do with the series once it’s drawn. I’ve had a solid ten years to learn to hate creating designs for print-on-demand. Desktop icons—a contender for my all-time favorite art form—aren’t really a thing, anymore. Web icons tend toward the uniform, the generic, the instantly-recognizable-yet-unobtrusive, and the no-damned-fun-at-all.
So… sticker packs. Stickers for iMessage9. I really only use the ones that came with my favorite notes app, Bear10, in part out of fondness for the app, but also because they’re adorable. Most of the time, I just type what I want to say. But my lovely wife likes iMessage stickers, and getting to spend my time cartooning while simultaneously working toward something that makes my spouse happy?
I see that as pretty awesome.
Because I’m smart like that.
I hope I’m smart enough to turn these simple, fun-to-draw, cartoons—and the ones I’ll draw to complete the set—into something useful to someone, so that I can justify my time spent drawing them.
I also hope that, by the time late September rolls around, and the 2018 season is rolling up its grass, this new little hobby, Albert Pujols11 and Shohei Ohtani12 will all have exceeded my expectations, even if all three wind up only playing DH.
- Procreate for iPad. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://procreate.art/ ↩
- iPad Pro – Apple. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/ ↩
- Apple Pencil – Apple. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://www.apple.com/apple-pencil/ ↩
- Precise V5/V7: Pilot Pen. Accessed March 21, 2018. http://pilotpen.us/brands/precise/precise-v5-v7/ ↩
- Rapidosketch. Welcome to Koh-I-Noor USA! Accessed March 21, 2018. http://kohinoorusa.com/products/pens/rapidosketch/index.php ↩
- Greyhound. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://www.greyhound.com/ ↩
- “Taos, New Mexico”. Wikipedia. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taos,_New_Mexico ↩
- “Monsoon”. Wikipedia. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsoon ↩
- Creating Stickers for iMessage – Apple Developer. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://developer.apple.com/stickers/ ↩
- Bear – Notes for iPad, iPhone and Mac. Accessed March 21, 2018. http://www.bear-writer.com/ ↩
- “Albert Pujols”. Wikipedia. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Pujols ↩
- “Shohei Ohtani”. Wikipedia. Accessed March 21, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shohei_Ohtani ↩