I missed this interview of cartoonist/illustrator Ed Sorel by Zina Saunders that was posted last week. He talks about starting Pushpin Studios with Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser -- and not being able to draw until he was in his 40s (!):
"That was when I realized that my sketches have more artistic value than my finishes. My wife and I did a book called, 'Word People', which was about people whose names became part of the language like Sandwich and Boycott and stuff like that. And there turned out to be 60 or 70 such people. When I did that book, I resolved that I would do it direct, without tracing. And I think for the most part I did. So suddenly I had a book that looked like nobody else’s, sort of like a signature. If you don’t trace you get a signature.I was stunned to see how critical Sorel is of his own work. I really like it, and find his sense of color to be wonderful. Now I know that he is one of those fellows (like me) who chooses to draw right there on the page, with no pencil foundation, to maintain the vitality of the pen line!
"I'd realized that tracing was death and I tried to do more and more direct drawing, which is possible to do if you don’t have to have too much information in the picture. If you don’t have to compose Custer’s Last Stand, you can work direct; if you have to paint Custer’s Last Stand , then you have to do a lot of preparation and a lot of tracing. And composition is always very hard for me. That’s why I do a lot of parodies of great painters, because they figured it all out and all I have to do is make fun of them."
Portrait of Sorel by Zina Saunders.
Ed Sorel Web site.