Straight for the art | Sean’s David Bowie Sketchbook, MoCCA 2010
I’ve been collecting David Bowie sketches from comics artists at shows and cons since MoCCA 2007. What can I say? He’s my favorite superhero. In that time I’ve amassed drawings of the chameleonic musician from 97 different artists, and adding to the collection is always a high priority for me at every show. I had exceptionally good luck at this year’s MoCCA — you better hang on to yourself as we flip through this year’s haul!
Niklas Asker (above): Oh man, look at that, just look at it. How can a sketch be shiny? Niklas Asker pulled it off with maybe the most elegant and sexy Bowie of the batch–no surprise, if you’ve seen his graphic novel Second Thoughts.
Hope Larson: Hope actually turned me down for a sketch at MoCCA a few years back, though I did succeed in getting one from her husband Bryan Lee O’Malley. I’ve chatted with her a few times since then over Twitter, so this year I warned her in advance I was coming back for Round Two, and she graciously acquiesced. She knew exactly which era Bowie she wanted to draw — in fact, she wanted him from The Man Who Fell to Earth specifically. Bowie as lone wanderer.
Ken Dahl/Gabby Schulz: Under the nom de comics Ken Dahl, Gabby Schulz is the author of the autobiographical Monsters, chronicling his life with herpes. So this Aladdin Sane-era Bowie with a giant sore on his forehead in lieu of that circle is pretty much exactly what I hoped for.
Miss Lasko-Gross: Miss Lasko-Gross apologized to me midway through this sketch, explaining that just because I was wearing glasses and a Bowie t-shirt at the time didn’t mean this little man in glasses and a Bowie t-shirt she was drawing was me. Phew! I always enjoy it when people work Bowie into their sketches in unexpected ways.
Sara Edward-Corbett: I’ve known Sara since college, when she was part of a crew who consistently wowed me and my friends with their comics in one of the school papers. She’s been on my Bowie sketchbook hit list for a long time, and I finally cornered her. Woo!
Simon Gärdenfors: Simon immediately latched upon a picture of Bowie as a little kid in one of the books of photo reference I had with me. I promise you that if you’ve seen the photo, you’d see the resemblance here.
Jess Fink: Jess is no stranger to drawing Bowie, having done several little portraits on her website just for funzies, and since she’s dressed up like him for Halloween I think it’s fair to characterize her as a fellow superfan. Over Twitter she told me beforehand how excited she was to get a chance to contribute to my Bowie book, and she didn’t disappoint. I wish more people would draw different versions of Bowie interacting, in fact!
L. Nichols: L. had a tough act to follow, taking the sketchbook directly from her tablemate Jess Fink, but I think she pretty much killed it here. She sorta cut’n'pasted a Bowie photo that was very popular in this batch, blowing up his crossed hands and attaching them to the portrait like wings. Lovely colors too.
Isaac Moylan: Isaac drew the Bowie biography comic I wrote, The Side Effects of the Cocaine, so getting him into my sketchbook was a no brainer. Tired of drawing the Thin White Duke-era Bowie, he came gunning straight for the older, dare I say grizzled Bowie of the “I’m Afraid of Americans” video. Note Trent Reznor lurking in the background. Folks, when in doubt, going with stuff from this video will always make me happy.
Farel Dalrymple: I caught Farel while he was sketching at MoCCA’s fundraising table. Daunted by the prospect of contributing to the book, he simply chose to nail the Aladdin Sane cover as accurately as he could. Success!
Molly Colleen O’Connell: Ah, now this was cool: I handed my sketchbook to the entire Closed Caption Comics collective and let ‘em go nuts with it, thus netting myself sketches from Lane Milburn, Chris Day, Conor Stechschulte, Andrew Neyer, Zach Hazard Vaupen, and Molly Colleen O’Connell, who the group told me was the biggest Bowie fan in the bunch. I really like this piece because it comes as close as any of these sketches has to capturing the rainbow madness of some of Bowie’s Ziggy/Aladdin-era stage get-ups. Lady Stardust and Lady Gaga are not worlds apart. (PS: Noel Freibert and Erin Womack, I’ll get you next time!)
Zach Hazard Vaupen: In an act of creative repurposing, Zach Hazard found a blank page in the book and traced the Charles Burns sketch underneath it. I’ve heard from many people, including Charles himself, how much he hates the Bowie sketch he did for me (even though it’s one of my favorites), so I wonder how he’ll feel about having it sampled…
Chris Day: Chris captured Bowie from his days as a mime. I know mimes are like a big joke or whatever, but Bowie’s always been really open and insightful about how his training with mime guru Lindsay Kemp helped almost every aspect of his performances. What a great choice of an image to sketch.
Lane Milburn: Lane told me a story of how one of his art-school professors, Odd Nerdrum, painted a painting called “Dawn” that Bowie owns. That’s it hanging in the background. Where the tracksuit figures in I have no idea, but somehow it works. (PS: If I have a daughter, I’m toying with naming her Ashanti, fwiw.)
Andrew Neyer: Bowie the Imp! I am always down with Bowie sketches that make him look like some sort of mischievous fairy-tale creature.
Conor Stechschulte: I know exactly what photo Conor used as inspiration here. It wasn’t half so dramatically lit, I assure you. This is one of my favorites.