Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I’ve received a few inquiring emails lately about the doodles that I post here and I thought I’d respond with a post.

I started drawing fairly recently—in the last two years—and it happened when I discovered alt-comics. At first it was trying to capture Snoopy (though Schulz is a mainstream figure, he is a god in the alt-comics universe—think of post-punk power-pop being impossible without the Beatles). I found that I was pretty bad at doing that, but it gave me an excuse to give up doing copies.

I draw mainly because of the ritualistic nature of the process. I do it everyday for a half-hour or so, usually at the coffee shop, and I’m not sure why but it’s the most calming part of my day. I’ll begin with pencil, followed by inking with a sharpie. Occasionally, fine-tipped Micron pens are handy for detail. Sometimes, I’ll experiment with one of those marvelous Faber-Castell brush pens that you can pick up for two bucks at the art store (It’s a pen with, yes, an actual brush for a tip; you can vary the line thickness with it). But I still don’t quite have the hang of how to use it right.

My big pet peeve is: rulers. I never use ‘em because I like the wonkiness and imperfections of free-handed lines. I’m ridiculously low-tech and luddite about the computer bit too, and never manipulate the image after scanning. But I do reduce it significantly. (The originals are usually a full 8 ½ by 11 size.) Which tightens up the image and renders most of my mistakes and mess-ups invisible when I finally post it.


Blogger girish said...

I know we've been chatting about Abel Ferrara lately. Please feel free to post comments about him here, or in the Blog-A-Thons post; it doesn't matter. Either's fine--whatever's most convenient for you.

February 01, 2006 9:17 AM  
Blogger girish said...

The big news today:
Village Voice Pazz N' Jop Poll 2005.
Top five:
Kanye, MIA, Sufjan, Sleater-Kinney, Fiona.

February 01, 2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Robert Christgau's dean's list.

February 01, 2006 9:20 AM  
Blogger girish said...

The Siren on Luise Rainer.

February 01, 2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Eric on Munich and Match Point.

February 01, 2006 9:24 AM  
Anonymous jmac said...

Your illustrations are soooo cool, G. I really enjoyed reading about the process of creating them. I thought that maybe the images were computer generated, and I am impressed that you can draw! :)

February 01, 2006 10:56 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, J. After reading your Photoshop post, I've been meaning to take a little intro class in it. I use Paint Shop Pro for scanning and reduction, and Photoshop looks a bit intimidating, esp. since I haven't been using the computer for any of the drawing or manipulation.

February 01, 2006 11:10 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

I went to college in the late 80s, back when there was no pc-based CAD and we still did mechanical drafting, and I used to covet all those cool aluminum rulers, T-squares, French curves, and sliderules that used to hang from my grandfather's drafting table. So, suffice it to say, I don't share your ruler peeve one bit. Rulers rule! :)

As far as doodling goes though, I tend to write "partial poems" a lot which is why I always have a notebook in hand. It's not for public consumption though, just fragments that I plan to develop later.

February 01, 2006 11:44 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Oh that's funny, Acquarello.
I also went to engineering school in the 80s, in the pre-CAD era in India, and had a small arsenal of rulers, T-squares and french curves.
But alas, I found myself thoroughly miscast in the role, pretty much had a miserable time (except for all the music, films and books I voraciously consumed there when I should've been studying for my courses), and happily parted ways with engineering upon graduation.

February 01, 2006 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Thanks for the behind-the-scenes look at your drawings, Girish. To me, they really add great texture and feeling to your blog. I understand what you say about your drawing time being the most calming part of your day -- I feel the same way when I write. Not sure why that is, but it works.

February 01, 2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger Flickhead said...

People ARE bunny!

February 01, 2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Thanks for this, Girish. I've been trying to cop your art style lately. ^_^

February 01, 2006 1:57 PM  
Anonymous jmac said...

If you want to learn Photoshop, I recommend an online tutorial site that I am using for Final Cut Pro. It's Very affordable & methodical tutorials. I'll be doing a videology update soon . . .

February 01, 2006 2:53 PM  
Anonymous dvd said...

Photoshop is the best software ever (aside from Final Cut Pro, that is). When I first started using it, I found that it was pretty easy to figure out intuitively, although having a book or tutorial to guide you to all the little tricks and tools is very helpful when it comes to doing really advanced stuff. But it's one of those programs that's just so fun to use that you can't help but want to learn everything about it.

Anyway...I've always admired your drawings, Girish. At first I assumed you did them with a Wacom tablet, until I started paying closer attention.

February 01, 2006 4:39 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey thanks, y'all.
David & Jen--Photoshop suggestions and encouragement are very much appreciated. I'm eager to jump in.
Michael--Oddly, even listening to or playing music doesn't calm me like drawing does. Not sure why.
And writing is actually not very calming for me; the opposite, almost. It's a roiling, nervy, perpetually-pacing-back-and-forth kind of experience.
But the post-writing feeling of mild euphoria is always a welcome one.
Tuwa--Cop away, what little there is...I'd be honored.

February 01, 2006 5:57 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Flickhead--That Bun-O-Vision is a hoot.

February 01, 2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Fifteen for the Ferrara-Thon so far:

Filmbrain, Matt, Zach, David, Darren, Mubarak, Eric, Flickhead, Peter, Aaron G., Dennis, Harry, Steven Shaviro, Matt Zoller Seitz, et moi.

(I know a couple of you said "maybe".)

February 01, 2006 7:28 PM  
Blogger Ed Garrity said...

Your drawings are cool. As I told you in person, your style is defintely Pablo Picasso ... economy of line leaving a precise, modern image ... it reeks of coolness. Hundreds of years from now students will be sitting in a classroom and the professor will be showing slides, no, digital, 3-D holograms of your sketches and students with really long strange goatees and mustaches will be pondering questions like - "What was he thinking when he was doing this one?" or "This was his dark, pen period," or "It's a shame that he was only famous back then as a film critic."

-Anyway, I could be wrong but I wanted to be the first to say it, .... just in case.


February 01, 2006 7:28 PM  
Blogger Ed Garrity said...

I know, 3-D holograms of 2-dimensional sketches, ... but it's hard to imagine that far in the future.


February 01, 2006 7:30 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ed, I like your drawings a lot too.
And you have your famous mom and thus, art-genes. I don't. :-)

February 01, 2006 7:33 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Girish-- did you notice that Armond Bestever White contributed to Pazz & Jop?

February 01, 2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ben, I saw your post.
What with the (identical) country music on his list and in light of your recent noble defense thereof, I'm beginning to think you have found your doppelganger, my friend.

February 01, 2006 8:41 PM  
Blogger girish said...

This hilarious Rich Juzwiak post on Black History Month goes nicely with the "drawing" theme today.

February 01, 2006 8:58 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Boldtype's Film Issue.

February 01, 2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger Shasta said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. loved ur post. my name is simon and i like to make draw-rings. drawing is calming, indeed. my favorite part:

"I never use ‘em because I like the wonkiness and imperfections of free-handed lines."

i couldn't agree more. :D

February 02, 2006 3:57 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey thanks, Shasta.

February 02, 2006 5:55 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Okay, this is tailor-made for Ben.
Armond puts together a mind-boggling double bill of:
Frank Borzage and. . .Kenny Chesney.

February 02, 2006 6:03 AM  
Blogger girish said...

And here he reviews the Shoot The Piano Player DVD, on his way pouring some haterade on Cronenberg, and ending with this hilarious line:

"Piano Player shames today’s cultural gatekeepers; it exposes that perhaps they’ve been lured away from life with the recent release of too many dank keyboard dramas—The Piano, The Piano Teacher, The Pianist. Compared to Truffaut’s film, they’re all out of tune."

February 02, 2006 6:32 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Oliver Wang on Pazz & Jop.

February 02, 2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger phil said...

hey girish
just popping in to say:
excellent post about the drawing...i'd really like to hear more about it.

i'm glad you've kept up with it, i really wish i could see more...i'll always be pulling for that illustrated collection of 'conversations with my mom...' you know i won't let that go.

anyways. keep up the good work.

much love

February 02, 2006 12:10 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey Phil, Sorry I couldn't join y'all for dinner last night (not sure if you ended up going out). I got stuck with some report-writing. Next week, perhaps...

February 02, 2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Thanks for the link, Girish. I love it when he reviews music videos in his column. (And did you catch his link to this? Yeesh. I must admit, I'm not the biggest fan of Spielberg's War of the Worlds, Armond's intense admiration makes me want to give it a second viewing.)

February 02, 2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

New Rouge up, in case nobody's posted that yet.

February 02, 2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Zach. Always a treat. I've been making my way slowly through my printouts of the back issues at the gym every day.

Ben, I'd never seen that before, and haven't even made it to a first viewing yet.
And you can read this Veronica Mars post but I can't, because I'm still waiting for season 2 to come out on DVD.

February 02, 2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

That V. Mars entry is epic. G., you won't be disappointed by Season 2.

February 02, 2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger scoot said...

this is an amazing blog...

February 02, 2006 9:59 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ben, I'm really hoping for a summertime release. The suspense is killing...

Glad you like it, Scoot.

February 03, 2006 12:01 AM  

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