Hannah

Hannah Johnson, 2004

I haven’t posted any drawings lately, so I decided I would share this one with you. This is an old colored pencil drawing of my friend Hannah. I did it back in 2004, when I was in my early 20’s. I worked as a sportswriter for the local newspaper at the time and she was on the high school soccer team. I also talked to her at the barber shop I always went to, which is how I got to know her. She was kind enough to let me draw her. This is one of two pictures I did. The other is a close-up of her face. I absolutely detest it, so I’m not going to display it here.

Actually, I’m not totally crazy about this one either … but, at the same time, I do like it. Ten years ago, I wasn’t trying to draw people (or anything, for that matter) in a truly realistic way. I wanted everything to look “hyper real.” I loved making the colors as smooth as possible — and, as a result, the people in my drawings looked almost like plastic dolls. For some reason, I like her smooth, shiny, polished look. It reminds me of a magazine ad from the 80’s.

I haven’t seen this drawing (or the other one, the bad one I was telling you about a moment ago) since I gave them to Hannah in 2004. A few weeks ago, she scanned them, posted them on Facebook, and tagged me in them. I was flattered … and horrified.

Seeing my old artwork is like seeing a photo of myself from high school. There’s a flutter of nostalgia as well as a painful sting of embarrassment. I see several things in this picture that I would do differently now. Oh well. There are also several things I like about it too.

I haven’t blogged as much lately because I’m busy working on a new novel. I’ll tell you more about it later, as it takes shape. If I don’t comment on your blog as frequently as I did before, please don’t take it as an insult. I’m just directing my creative energy toward the book right now, rather than WordPress. I’ll get back with you.

Late night sketching

My headache went away, so I grabbed a piece of paper and started drawing again. This is a sketch of Myla Laurel. She’s an amazing photographer/blogger who lives in Dubai. This is only a work in progress. I’m going to wait and see what my friend Emma says before I really, truly, officially declare the picture “finished.”

I’m thinking about adding the silhouette of a palm tree in the background, on the right side of the composition, since Myla lives in an exotic part of the world. Not sure yet. I also want to draw my friends Ananya and G.E. Gallas, but I probably need to take a break from all this and sit still for a little while. I need to recharge. I love to draw, but there’s something extremely unhealthy (and draining) about finishing one picture and then staying up all night doing another. I’ve watched the same “Doctor Who” episode about four times tonight. It’s the one I mentioned earlier, with the Russian submarine and the ice warrior. It’s a good one, but it’s getting old.

It’s time to get some sleep now.

(PS – my novel, Under the Electric Sun, is available on Kindle. You can click here to download it.)

The check list syndrome

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My psyche is beginning to feel clogged again. That’s the best way to describe the state I’m in right now. I’ve drawn a few pictures I’m happy with and I have some more ideas in mind. But now I’ve reached a point where I’m getting jittery and uncomfortable. This always happens when I pick up the pencil and start drawing again after being away from it for a little while. As soon as I start on one picture, an idea pops into my head for a second picture. And then a third. And then a fourth. The whole time, I’m hastily struggling to complete the first one. It’s like I’m running down a railroad track, desperately chasing a train that’s pulling out of the station.

At some point, I stop enjoying the process. Instead, I become anxious and frustrated about the whole thing. And I don’t feel like I can fully relax until I draw ALL the pictures that are lined up inside my brain. That’s when I start writing check lists. Not only do I write check lists, I chant them silently in my head, especially at work. Over the last few days, I’ve been walking around in the mill, telling myself, “OK, I want to draw that picture of Cassidy next … then Ananya … and then G.E. Gallas. And then I’m going to stop and rest for a while.”

Lately, you see, I’ve been drawing portraits of different people I’ve met on the internet, especially here on WordPress. Not long ago, I drew Piyush Mishra, a blogger who lives in India. I also drew Elena Levon, a Russian lady who dances all over the globe, enjoying one adventure after another.

Anyway, I plan to draw a girl named Cassidy next. And then I want to draw Ananya, one of my new Indian friends. And then G.E. Gallas, an artist/writer/blogger. Then I’ll step back from drawing for a while and take a mini-vacation.

SEE??!!! I just did it again!!!! I can’t stop this stupid chanting!!!!

 

(PS — The picture above is a colored pencil drawing I did in 2010. It’s called “The Rat Race.” It’s the third piece in the “Clockwork” series. It seems appropriate for this post. You can see the rest of them on my Facebook page, Colored Pencil Art by Matthew Curry. And please click here to check out my e-book, Under the Electric Sun. Thank you for taking a look!)

Finished product

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Here’s the finished drawing of Piyush Mishra. I added more detail to his hair (as my friend Emma suggested) and made the whole picture darker and bolder. Tomorrow, I’ll start on a picture of my other Indian friend, Ananya. It will be a more complicated drawing, so it might take longer. And then, hopefully, I’ll draw G.E. Gallas. (I do portraits as a hobby, not as a business. If I see someone I want to draw, I’ll draw them. If I turned it into a business, it would stress me out. And then I wouldn’t enjoy it anymore. And then my soul would wither away.)

Here’s the drawing I’m currently wrestling with…

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This is a drawing of Piyush, a blogger here on WordPress. He’s been kind enough to click “like” on almost all of my posts since I started The Chia Pet Circus. I’m not finished with this drawing yet. I still plan to do some erasing, re-drawing, darkening, adjusting, and general fiddling. I might even toss it in my desk drawer and start all over again.

I made it a point to work more slowly on this drawing. I took my time “building” his head, his shoulders, his arm, and his hand before I started worrying about the little details like his eyes and his lips. Not only that, I gave myself permission to NOT finish it tonight. That way, I can come back to the picture tomorrow (when my brain is functioning better and I have more energy) and work on it some more. I will post the final product later.

Coming soon

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My science fiction novel will be available on Kindle very, very soon. I promise. My editor, Judy Brooks, has carefully combed through the whole manuscript. The illustrations are drawn, the jacket blurb is written, and my friend Emma Ball has designed the cover. (Thank you Emma!) As soon as the book is uploaded, I will post a couple of the illustrations on here, along with a link to Amazon.

I hope you’ll find the story exciting, terrifying, and funny.

Right now, I’m reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. My cousin Ellice loaned it to me on New Year’s Day. I skimmed over the first few pages that afternoon, but I got distracted with other things and left it lying on my coffee table for a long time. When I finally picked it up again and delved deeper into it, I found that it was one of the best books I’ve ever come across. I was reading it yesterday afternoon in The Crushed Tomato, sitting by the window and waiting for my pizza. I almost started to cry. I was reading a sad scene involving an elephant. (I can’t say anything else because I don’t want to ruin it.)

I can’t think of anything interesting to say, so I’ll end it here. Have a good weekend.

Welcome to the Chia Pet Circus….

ImageHello. Thank you for reading. I’m going to keep this first post pretty short because the wi-fi isn’t working very well at my apartment and I was forced to come to Starbucks to get on the internet. I’m not eavesdropping, but I can’t help but hear what the people at the nearby tables are talking about. A few feet away, a couple of girls are talking about flu shots. There’s also a passionate conversation going on in the corner, involving the words “social security” and “taxes.” In addition to the chatter, Paul Simon’s voice is coming from the speakers in the ceiling and someone in the “employees only” room is attacking an ice machine. So … it’s difficult to concentrate …. especially since I can barely concentrate anyway, even when I’m all alone in sweet silence.

My name is Matthew Curry and I’m 33 years old. I live with my cat, Frances, in a dimly-lit apartment in the northwestern corner of Georgia. I have a second shift job in an old textile mill where all the trash cans smell like used chewing tobacco. 

I love to write and draw. I recently finished writing and illustrating a science fiction novel, which will be uploaded to Kindle in the near future. My friend Judy Brooks gave me a lot of fantastic suggestions as I was working on the book and then edited it for me when I was finished. (Well, technically, the book is really NOT finished yet. We’re still fine-tuning it.) Judy also suggested that I start writing a blog to help promote the book.

And here it is.

I do most of my art in colored pencil. I prefer Crayola. I feel like I should work with PAINT instead, because there’s something more serious and respectable about paint, but I don’t feel comfortable about using brushes. They’re not exact enough. So I just stick with colored pencils.

I’m including one of my pictures with this post. This one is called “Clockwork 1.” It’s the first drawing in a series of four. In Clockwork 1, babies are growing on a tree. A robot with a clock for a head is standing under the tree, reaching for one, trying to pick it. The robot and the child appear in each of the Clockwork pictures … but the “child” is a teenager in the second drawing. And he’s a middle-aged man in the third picture. And he’s an elderly man in the fourth. In every drawing, the robot is stalking him.

I have to get out of here now. My nerves are shot.