EDM #20: Draw something “Dad” – in honor of Fathers Day

Well, obviously it’s not Father’s Day today but I happen to be working on a project that is Dad-related so I’ll focus on that.

A month or so ago, my friend Risa asked me to illustrate an essay she had written for a book on fatherhood that some people in New York are putting together. Risa’s essay is about a photo of her and her dad taken when she was a teenager, a time of stress and ambivalence. She asked me to draw from an old photo she cherished and, because I like Risa, I said I’d do it.

The reference picture.

She sent me a not terribly good color copy of the picture and the struggle began. I just could not figure out how to turn this picture into something good. It was contrasty, the features were in shadow, there’s not real detail when you look at it up close, the composition was indifferent and a corner of the picture had been scissored away. Whine, whine, moan, moan.

Strangest of all, Risa at 14 looked exactly like my mother at 16 — distractingly so.

My mum in 1955.

For the last months, every day or so, I have taken another run at it. Here are a few discarded examples:

Risa as mildly nauseated skeptic.

Risa as hag with liver condition.

Risa and dad done hastily in sumi.

Risa’s dad as Sicilian olive farmer.

Risa as drawn by Daniel Clowes.

Risa’s dad as drawn by Al Hirschfeld.

Risa as David Brenner.

I actually kind of like this. Sketchy, on tracing paper. One eye way too high.

And finally this morning, under the pressure of the EDM challenge, I finally made a drawing I like. The key was their hair, making it as ridiculous and bushy as possible so they are united despite their ambivalence in some sort of genetic connection that they cannot avoid. I drew it with a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (XS) and a crow quill in India ink on bond paper. Does Risa look too much like a small Sharon Osbourne?

Anyway, I hope that Risa likes it. I’ll let you know if it gets in the book.

Finally, something I am liking.

8 thoughts on “EDM #20: Draw something “Dad” – in honor of Fathers Day

  1. If I can stop laughing long enough to say the trip was wild and rollicing fun and I do like the last one a lot too. Teenaged daughter and dad…oy vey! You did good!

  2. Love seeing your process Danny and respect you so much for taking on the EDM challenge yourself! I love seeing your regular pages — inspirational to get me back to my drawing board/journal….

  3. I really enjoyed seeing all your attempts…it is so inspiring that some one I really admire has to go through this kind of a struggle and with such a lovely result!

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