It’s like meeting someone you’ve known for nearly 30 years for the first time all over again…

As you may or may not know, I’ve been doing a thing where I draw my family in the styles of different genres/cartoonists.

My process is pretty straight forward. I have a list of styles/genres I want to tackle and then I just pick one. Usually, the illustration is completed the morning of the day I post it.  So, the art is so fresh the dirt from where I pulled it out of the ground is still on it. (Or, other remnants of the places I’ve pulled it out of… I’ll just leave that one there).

This morning, I wasn’t in the mood.  These style drawings take a lot of time away from all the other stuff, Bob related or otherwise, that I would try and knock out on a daily basis. I’m actually getting up at 1:30 A.M. now. Seriously. Crazy? Sure. But when you’re an addict, you’re always chasing that first high you got.  In my case, it was my version of us as the Simpsons from earlier this year. That came out so good to me that I wanted more.

It took me a few months to get back into it, but when I did, I couldn’t stop. Since August 22… some have been great, some have been passable.

But this morning… I had a moment.

I decide to do Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame. He wasn’t on the list.  Not even on the radar. I just happen to look up and see my copy of The Revenge of the Baby-Sat and thought, “What the hell… I might be able to quickly knock it out.” Like I said, I wasn’t in the mood. Out came the bristol, and I set to work.

When I do a style homage, I start the illustration with me. It’s not an ego thing, it’s a style thing.  My rationale is that if I get ME right, the other parts will fall into place.  If they don’t, at least I can pass the style off and genuine if SOMETHING in the image resembles the style I’m trying to convey. With today’s image, I didn’t think that. Honestly, I didn’t think anything. This might sound like Friday morning bulls–t: but I truly believe I was reading and seeing Watterson’s work for the first time today.

Watterson’s brush line should be made the 8th wonder of the world.

The line art came together quickly:

And I had to stop. Did I just draw this? Holy hell… the art is really solid. Okay, Frank… this might be a good day…should not be in the mood more often.

Then I go to the color… using the standard colors I’ve used in all the family style drawings:

I added a half-tone filter in Photoshop to make it look more newspapery.  I’m still on a high… the color looks good. Piece is done. Pat my own back and schedule it to post later in the morning.

But I couldn’t stop looking at the line art. What if I added a Watterson-esque background? I already have the blank one saved. Why not.  And maybe add some other details.

I finished it. All the breath in my body got sucked out.  Wow.

This is the best thing I’ve ever drawn. If I draw nothing else, I have done something. Granted… in someone else’s style… but a style that was (and still is) so instrumental in what I do every single day. I hung out with my idol… all by myself.

Then I added color:

and… well, it’s as perfect as it’s going to get.  I’m still waiting for my breath to come back.

Moments like this are what we as creators live for. We go through reams of paper and tons of eraser shavings just to get to these few precious moments when everything… EVERYTHING clicks.

Yeah. I feel so good right now.  I know it’ll fade reasonably quick.  But the moment feels good.

Categories: art life process