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. Anonymous10:51 AM

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