Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"You have to understand the construction first."

"Drawing, to me, is a great deal of mechanical ability. If you understand the construction of things, there's no problem in drawing. But you have to understand the construction first."

"For instance, a railroad boiler is a boiler, you know. It goes back and it comes down like this, with the firebox and so on. Once you have the basic shape those six wheels underneath are... you know, a child does that."

"Now, I have always refused to do nuts and bolts - except sometimes on those locomotives, I would do a few nuts and bolts. But reality comes from the feeling of the damn thing. If you understand the construction of the boat, and understand the man himself - who he is and what he looks like - you can get that over to the reader."

From the Noel Sickles interview in The Comics Journal #242.


  1. Hah! Reading Noel Sickles explain how simple drawing is once you know the construction reminds me of the old Steve Martin routine about How To Make A Million Dollars Without Paying Taxes: "First, you make a million dollars. Then, don't pay taxes on it."

    Thanks for another great Noel Sickles entry, Leif. I can't get enough of him.

  2. When you read the entire interview, David, you do get the sense that it might have been fueled by a liberal amount of "liquid inspiration", which may or may not have influenced the off-handedness of such remarks as the ones quoted here.

    That possibility aside, I have to agree with Sickles' basic premise: too many illustrators do not have a good grounding in structural drawing and rely heavily on surface style and detail to hide that fact. I'm a firm believer that success in drawing is more about determination than talent, and drawing, drawing, drawing and understanding what you are drawing are key.

  3. In that interview (Comics Journal) there are a couple of pauses where drinks are being ordered.