Happy New Year everyone.
Hope you all had a nice holiday, and Santa brought you exactly what you wanted. We had a nice couple weeks. Got pretty snowed in the day after Christmas which really completed the whole aesthetic, albeit a day late. Figured I’d share a couple Christmas presents I made for my parents this year.
I often try to do little drawings for close family as gifts. To me, they mean more because they were created with the person in mind, and I get to sink time and effort into it. I like to think of them as being more personal than if I just bought them a gift card or something off Amazon or whatever. Like a little tribute, or a love letter. Also I’m cheap.
My mom is easy. I know what she likes. Drawings of her grandchildren. Which is great, because I like drawing them. Dragged the kids out one afternoon and shot a bunch of reference, and drew these pretty straightforward in charcoal. I got decent likenesses, so I tried to not render them too much and went with kind of a 70’s montage drawing vibe. She’s old, so I played to my audience a little bit.
Threw it in a frame and it bam! Merry Christmas Ma. Love you.
My dad’s a bit more of an enigma. He’s always been supportive of my career, but he was a mechanic by trade, and until I came along I don’t think he’d ever spent more than a minute thinking about the visual arts. Since he knows or cares nothing about it, he tends to just smile, nod and change the subject if it ever comes up. So we talk mostly News, politics and weather.
He and his friends are kind of casual motorcycle enthusiasts, and I guess to go with this lifestyle, they’ve given themselves biker names. He apparently goes by the moniker “Krusty” and had been asking me for the past year or so if I could draw a “quick sketch” of a bald clown pushing an old school lawn mower because that’s what he identifies as.
Like most of you, I bristle when someone asks me if I can just “draw something real quick” because with rare exception, decent drawings take time. There’s really no way around that equation, for me at least. But I get it. If they don’t do it for a living, they aren’t aware that a good one usually takes a few hours, and are just trying to be polite and not waste your time.
It’s my dad, and regardless of all the complicated emotional baggage I may still carry from the 80’s I still feel this compulsion to try to make him happy. I’d put him off for a while but figured this would be a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, he gets his picture he can show all his friends down at the bar, and His Christmas present is dealt with.
Im sure I could have gotten away with a couple of napkin sketches, but I wanted to give him something better. This man helped give me life, and therefore deserves a slightly better than average drawing of a clown and a lawnmower. I haven’t been to his house in quite some time, but knowing him it’s a safe bet to say he doesn’t have much hanging on his walls, so I thought I’d maybe try to do something about that.
Drew two different versions of a bald clown pushing a lawnmower. Stylistically, I was aiming to make stuff that people who like hot rod art could relate to. Once again, playing to my audience. First made one in profile view, and then drew another one from sort of a 3/4 low angle, mr natural style. Drew them both in procreate, which has totally become my favorite tool for doing line based stuff. Got lazy and didn’t want to figure out all the perspective on the lawn mower, so I just made a quick one in 3ds max and made toon shaded renders which I was able to integrate with minimal reworking. Then did some final layout and applied some color in photoshop.
When I was happy with where they were at, I had them printed on heavy stock paper and stuck them in matted frames, and sent them off to surprise him. The prints arrived a little damaged, but in order to make it there in time I had to send them. He called on Christmas morning and thanked me, told me they were way beyond what he’d expected, then quickly pivoted to a different subject. But he seemed happy within them, so mission accomplished!
Not sure if he wanted me to specifically draw him as the clown, but since he’s one of the few people I can draw without reference and get a likeness, I went for it. Sometimes you gotta lean in and do what comes natural.
Here’s a video of the process if you’re interested. Nothing too crazy going on, but I know i like watching how people make stuff.
Again, wishing you all the best for 2022. I’m sure this one will be way better than 2020 and 2021…right?….RIGHT???