Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Franklin McMahon: "What I lose in accuracy I make up for in spontaneity"
"My method of working is to draw directly wherever possible." said Franklin McMahon in an article in the April 1956 issue of American Artist magazine.
"I pick a point - usually a point closest to me in the scene I'm drawing. I begin at this point and work out. All other parts of the drawing take their place in relation to this point."
"I wait for the people to settle down or assume a characteristic pose and then draw them in."
"What I lose in accuracy I make up for in spontaneity, and there is a hoped-for reality (a feeling of being there) which I don't think can be achieved as well in any other way."
"All of these drawings were made directly in ink with no preliminary pencilling. There is no blocking in. The edge of the subject is almost traced out of the air."
"Sometimes I pencil-up the signs, lettering them in later at the studio."
"I am very much interested in design," McMahon continued. "I have a distinct feeling, however, that design, as we have come to know it, has become rather in-bred."
"Being primarily an illustrator-designer I found that my own personal corrective was to get out and look around - a return to first principles, so to speak. That is why I have welcomed these direct drawing assignments."
"In this sort of drawing the design grows out of the artist's work on the site and his interaction with the subject matter..."
"... rather than being superimposed later in the studio."
At this point in his career (the mid-1950s) McMahon worked with #4 brushes dipped in india ink on large sheets (20" x 25") of cover stock. He said, "I use this large sheet since I never know exactly, when I begin, just where the drawing is going to end!"
"The drawing is not blocked-in or planned in advance...
"... it just grows and the design continues to develop with it."
* More on Franklin McMahon tomorrow