Saturday, August 6, 2011


Alas, I was not voted 'Most Artistic' in the graduating class of Auburn High 1976, a mind-boggling three and a half decades ago. But because the kid who was (and probably still is) the most artistic was way too busy also being popular, playing hockey and dating girls, he ran out of time to do most of the artwork for the yearbook. At the eleventh hour, the yearbook committee did what only desperate yearbook committees could do: they asked me to do it. Deeply stung by their earlier slight, I lifted my chin, sneered down my nose and loudly declared: "Sure, I'd love to."
 I don't think I was given more than two evenings to do these. I was addicted to drawing with a rapidograph pen, which was messy and unpredictable, but I could get a line that looked like the underground comics I was inspired by at the time...
Six finished drawings would likely take me about twelve weeks to produce today. One of the problems with art is that the more you learn about it, the harder it gets, in a sense. When you are aware of what choices you have and what they can mean, just selecting a font can take forever. Luckily, given the deadline back then, I was far too stupid to know any better. Luckier still was the fact the committee would have practically printed them sight unseen they were so desperate. In other words, not a peep of editorial judgement was passed. I believe I have never experienced that divine condition ever again. Even when drawing for myself...
These were printed at more or less actual size. I recall doing them on lightweight bristol board, after roughing them out in non-photo blue pencil, a technical feat I had learned from reading countless "How to Cartoon" books. I traced the font from a Lettraset catalog and just inked it with the same pen head I did everything else with. I had a Staedler Mars rapidograph, which is rumbling around in a drawer here at home still.
It's kind of startling in retrospect that all of the figures here are male. So much for gender diversity I guess, though I don't remember anyone making a comment one way or another. One of the reasons it never entered my mind to draw any females is that I was pretty inept at it, though from the looks of some of my old sketchbooks, it wasn't for lack of trying... 

 In Auburn NY, High School football was the town's prevailing religion. I was famously poor in athletics and generally hated sports, but I have always had a special antipathy toward football, represented in the slam-dunking this quarterback (number "zero") is getting. ZING!!!

 ...and in case you were wondering: go ahead and laugh. Dig the HUGE glasses and the beyond hip POGO quote. No wonder I was available to do these! What does the "S" stand for you wonder? "Smoldering?" "Sassenheimer?" ..."Slouchy?" I'll never tell...


  1. Poor Will...and me. I had the same glasses. Is your blazer as poly-ized as mine?

  2. re: the goggles: my sympathies

    and the blazer: yes--the polyiest polyester...

  3. Will, ol' chum. How great to see some pre-AiP work. I'm not sure I would have recognized it... but for the administration one! Would enjoy seeing some AiP work if you got. Love that senior pic. Same glasses I had and hairstyle too... you doppelgänger you.

  4. a) You were hip enough to quote Pogo.
    b) You didn't have a florescent orange permed mullet like some people I know who were not me but OK maybe a little. (All photographic evidence has hopefully been cleansed from the earth. By fire. Catapulted into the sun would be acceptable.)