Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Something I've never done before: show some of my sketchbook drawings; some rough, some smooth. Most are from life.

I have a small pile of big and small sketchbooks, going back to the 1970s. These are for my eyes only since they are usually just doodles or trying to work out gags or stories. Some mistakes, some OK sorta good drawings, some brilliant, most are just not for the public, y'know?

A sketchbook is a great thing to have. It keeps all your drawings -- good, bad, whatever -- all in one place. After a while, it's a record of what you drew and how your drew.

Some of my pages are just stream of consciousness stuff. What a desk, a snail and a goofy car have to do with one another, I don't remember. I don't like to draw cars, but that one sure turned out fine. A nice fluke!

Above: I drew these Grand Central commuters quickly. I wanted to get reference on what they were wearing, so I stood in an alcove and drew up a number of quick pages like this. I can't remember what the drawing was for specifically, but I think it was for a cartoon in the Daily News. At that time, I was doing a couple of drawings a month for them.

Above: more weird doodles. I like the guy shouting, "Saxon or Celt?!" OK, it makes no sense, but it's my sketchbook and it can have nonsense in it. The shark eating Frankenstein's Monster's head is equally nonsensical and fun.

A couple on the subway. He: much more interested in listening to his tunes. She: looks worried.

Look at my swooshy, doodly technique. Whee!

Above: A sparkstoetting, a Norwegian sled, that I thought was cool. I saw a photo of it in NY Newsday and this is a drawing from that photo.

Drawing the clutter on our living room table. Doodling like this helps you simplify the shapes and use everyday objects in your composition.

Above: people either waiting for or on the subway. The directions at the bottom refer to a Pennsylvania excursion. You see? If you write everything down in your sketchbook, you never lose it. I like the guy in the cap and glasses in the bottom.

Some character sketches from Brooklyn College. The proctor was all hair and glasses and mouth.

The nice thing about having asektchbook is that you can experiment and now you have some characters and moments to look back on.

And sketching allows you to play with different pens. These are 2 people I knew drawn with a think and a thin line.

I like drawing people, and above are some rather old doodles that I did.

I drew the guys at my local NYC comic book shop (now closed). More and more, I was doing finished drawings in this particular sketchbook. I was trying to find the right line and the right technique. At the time, I was naive enough to think I was getting close to a solution.

You can get to near to a perfect pen or a perfect paper, but it's a never ending process of finding tools you like and building on technique that you choose. Above: another pretty "finished" drawing of a guy I used to work with.

Looking back at these older sketches, some of them that I haven't seen in a long time, I remember wondering if I was going to ever really going to cartoon for a living. And I remember wondering how on earth could I begin to take the first step toward leaving my day job. One of the reasons I blog about the cartooning business is to help answer those questions.


richardcthompson said...

Mike, these are just delightful, especially all the people drawn quickly from life. Show more please.

Austin Kleon said...

These are great!

Kevin Spear said...

I always love to peek inside someone else's sketchbook. It's interesting to see the way we all think before creating a finished piece of art. Thanks for some inspiration.


Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for your kind words. These really were never meant to be seen and I'm SHOCKED SHOCKED that people are interested in them.

David Reddick said...


I LOVE seeing your sketchbook doodles! These are the most fun things to look at from cartoonists... the raw fun and energy. More! More!

Jack Ruttan said...

Most of my blogging is about process. It's great to see how other artists work.

Satis said...

It takes guts to show your rough workings. How marvellous that everyone sees something special in them that might be missing in the final drawing. I'm grateful because, as an aspiring 'drawer', I'm often so ashamed of my quick sketches that I do not hone them. You've helped a novice quite a lot by having the guts to show these. Thanks.