Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inuit Man, and my Dad: Separated at Birth?

This sketch was part of my recent Cricket project. It took me about thirty minutes to draw. The rest of the composition took me hours. Which part do you think they liked best? Well, sometimes it just works out that way. One of my favorite dry brush pieces took about twenty minutes. When I featured it in my recent show, it got more attention than others that had taken me days. It's a similar situation to the one I've mentioned before--when it all comes together too easily, it feels like you're getting away with something, that you can't entirely take credit for it, despite all the other pieces that you struggled over which contributed to the skill set that made the one that "came easily" possible.

But then, I'm also just kind of good at drawing old men. I've had plenty of practice drawing my Dad, I guess, who's 86, and about to turn 87. I've drawn more portraits of him from life than anyone else, mostly because I can always count on him to take a nap, which means he stays still for a long time. This image was done from a number of sources, various photos vintage and more recent of Inuit men, most of them head on, so I gave him a bit of a turn. This imaginary Inuit, in part by coincidence, in part by circumstance, has a vague resemblance to my dad. I think this is because my dad's parents came from Eastern Europe, and his mother was largely Uzbek, and Uzbekistan was invade by the Mongols, so there might be some Mongol blood mixed in with the general Ashkenazi mix. Mongols have that dark skinned Asian look that's so similar to the Inuits. Here's a recent portrait I did of my Dad:

What do you think?


  1. I think they're both really beautiful portraits Jed! Your dad's looking good, though a bit scowling. :)

  2. He gets scowly when he has to stay still. He wanted one where he was smiling, but holding a smile for that long looks more like rictus than happiness. And he stayed awake the whole time, which is rare!

  3. Love them! and yes, I see some resemblances. But don't illustrators oftentimes draw their characters based on people they know?

  4. For sure! Like I said, I've drawn my dad numerous times. I'm sure his appearance worked its way into my drawing, but I just thought his ethnic background was an interesting connection. Glad you like the images!