This week I began taking a class on cartooning offered by the college I work at. This is a "special topics" course, which means there is no telling when it might be offered again, so I jumped at the chance to take it: 1) It's free for me as an employee, and 2) there is no long drive to get there. Both big advantages and get me over the hurdles that have prevented me from taking cartooning and illustration courses elsewhere. Downside is that it is a big chunk of my mornings two days a week and I have to make that time up elsewhere (and while it easy to get psyched up in the evenings to go make art, it is not so easy to get psyched up to go make software training documentation).
As I have noted elsewhere, I can't draw people. I never took figure drawing and have avoided drawing people pretty much as long as I have been drawing. So I get to class on Tuesday and look at the syllabus and realize that there is no way to avoid it here. We are making cartoons with people in them. At least I assume we are. So far we are just drawing heads. So we paired up and had to draw each other's heads in class. I avoided panic just barely. Today we did it again, but this time we had less time, and had to do as many as we could. With each switch of partners, we had less time and needed to be more gestural and non-literal in our representation of the head. The thing that keeps me from embarassment is that the pictures that were drawn of me don't look any better than the ones I drew. The two guys in the class who are really great representational drawers did not draw me. My first head was the best and my last head was the worst. I am posting my head from Tuesday, whcih was my first. I am not posting this as an example of cool or great work -- I just want it to be very clear what my baseline skills are. If I happen to improve over these next few months, it will be apparent. I might also point out that we are all being led down a path that is supposed to take us from wanting to draw portraiture to actually drawing heads that are CARTOONS. So pretty soon, a certain amount of inaccuracy will be a good thing!