Net Noteriety


Well.. it's been quite a week. Front page on both del.icio.us and Reddit, which translated into a serious bump in my hit stats. (If you don't know both of those sites are social networking sites, meaning the more people who bookmark a page, or link to a page from the site the higher the page climbs on a list.) Both sites linked my flickr portfolio rather than here, but hits are hits! My hit count at flickr earlier this week was about 10,000... now...


Of course with all that comes some criticism, lots of people talking about me with no fear that I'll ever see the comments. From metachat: "Good drawings of sad people, for the most part." I don't know that they are so much sad as... neutral. Or maybe I'm drawn to drawing sad people.. I dunno.

But over on reddit the comments about my site registered some real gems. "These are good sketches, but they are a bit comic-book-y." Well... duh. I have read comics for more years of my life than I haven't. Over 20 years I have looked at comic book art. Of COURSE it's influenced me. Moreover is comic-book-y supposed to be an insult or a negative? Look at Charles Vess, Dave McKean, Bill Sinkiewicz, Craig Thompson, Mike Mignola... any of a hundred comic book artists. I defy you to tell me that their work is somehow invalid because it appeared in comic books. (Mind you I'm not comparing myself to any of these men, but I admire them all immensely.)

"The foreheads are all too short, a common mistake people make when drawing human faces. It makes the people look too simian. But more important is the feeling the sketches evoke. Funny how that kind of thing comes through even when the technical side isn't so good." Nice backhanded compliment there. I'll be the first to admit that my art has problems. I tend to put the ears in the wrong place, usually to far forward on the head, and I have some problems with hands, especially the last joint on fingers, I can never place it quite right. This has never been a criticism leveled at me before though. What do you guys think? Is it true? Are my foreheads too short? (Thanks for acknowledging that I manage to evoke a feeling though. Do you find it a feeling of sadness?)

All that said... I enjoy criticism really. It means people are looking at me critically and are willing to say something about it. I learned to handle criticism long ago in my figure drawing classes, yet another good thing I can lay at mt professor's feet.

Next week I can look forward to an article in the New York Press. Those of you who live in the city can pick it up free from the green boxes on Wednesday morning if you are interested. (Everyone else can check it out online. Don't worry, I'll remind you...) The interviewer from the NYPress asked some difficult questions that I had to do some quick mental gymnastics to answer! It was a fun interview.

8 Response to "Net Noteriety"

  • Felicity Says:

    Wow, those are harsh words, I guess that means you are a success! No, I don't think your foreheads are too short at all and it may not be easy but I would try not to let this sort of criticism take away from what makes your drawings unique. And, aren't people on the subway normally serious and showing fairly blank expressions so no-one thinks they are mad? ;)


  • Cully Says:

    Thanks Felicity. Like I said, I'm not worried about the criticism, into each drawing a little must fall, I was just curious to see if others agreed and it was somethig I might need to work on!

    As for people's expressions on the subway... I rarely see people smile there, whether it is out of sadness or what, I don't know. Who sits around smiling anyway? It would have to be a REALLY good day for me to maintain a smile through a 20 minute train ride.


  • Dingle Says:

    Got your book today! I am not used to them in true black and white format but they look great! I am so happy and excited for you. I love these sketches...no matter what anyone else says! :)


  • Nita Says:

    I think your drawings look real and authentic. If an occasional forehead is slightly off, then let any of these critics try drawing on a moving train.

    I've ridden subways in Boston, NY, Paris and London. The people look just like your drawings--tired, inward focused, enduring yet another day. They are true to life and well done!

    Are you familiar with Martin Wilner's drawings of people on the NY trains? I found some of his work and info in Jennifer New's book, Drawing from Life, The Journal as Art.

    Keep drawing!


  • Miyuki Mouse Says:

    It's always amusing to hear what others think of your drawings, isn't it?

    Some of the feedback you quoted seems downright unfair. ("Foreheads are ALL too short"? "Comic book-y"? Ugh...) It's good that you seem to know when to filter those out or only take them for what they're worth.

    Re: the "sad people" comment though, I think it's the nature of the environment. I notice a similar sense of melancholia throughout my subway drawrings and those of others.


  • Cully Says:

    Thanks, Miyuki. (You should all go to her site and check out her transit sketches, by the way!) I have a pretty good filter for criticism, though like most artists I have blind spots about my own work. That's why I asked about the forehead thing... it could be true!


  • michael sean morris Says:

    The thing about criticism is: everything sucks. Everything in the world, no matter what it is, someone else hates it.

    Criticising your work for being "too comic-booky"? Is Gainsborough "too oil-paintingy"?

    Plus, how would anyone know about foreheads or ears unless they were sitting next to you on the train and could see your subject?

    Looking forward to getting the book...


  • Jessica from Xnihilo Says:

    HA! If only the sketches I created in such an environment has the problems yours do! And all of our buyers here in Houston, obviously they think you need a lot of work. Seriously, I can't wait for your next show here, I love your new pieces!

    Jessica