You can just never tell.
I'm reminded of this every year at San Diego's Comic-Con, where the smallest, most informal art is nestled in the crevices between elaborately staged multi-million dollar corporate art. This year in a quiet corner of Comic-Con I came across this small (5" x 8") sketch by Wilbur "Pete" Hawley on a ratty, torn piece of tissue paper:
This is a preliminary rough for an illustration for the American Greetings card company. I admire his selective use of dark accents and the variety in the width of his line (contrast the sensitive line describing this cheek with the brisk, full lines shaping the hair on the back of the head):
Even without the wrinkles and bone structure that most artists rely on to convey facial expressions, Hawley managed to create marvelous expressions in an integrated unit.
|Note Hawley's use of smudges and a heavier line to create volume|
Remember, these were Hawley's notes to himself-- this was a preliminary sketch to work out how Hawley might paint the final version.
Leif Peng wrote, "If God bestowed The Magic Cute Pencil upon any one illustrator of the twentieth century it must surely have been Pete Hawley. Cute wasn't a formula Hawley had worked out and applied to his drawing style... it was as natural to him as breathing."
Pictures of cute babies were scarce at Comic-Con. Far more of the artwork focused on inter-galactic battles between armies of muscle bound super heroes. Popular artists hawked limited edition archival giclee prints of photo-realistic paintings from fancy 3D displays.
But for me, Hawley's battered little sketch on crummy paper was stronger than much of the juiced up, overwrought art on display in the exhibition hall.
That's part of the miracle of drawing.