Rob Dunlavey
May 2011
The Life & Death of a Pencil Tip
The Chosen One: does this scrap of pencil have any idea what its fate is?
News Flash: pencil lead breaks!
I save these little things. I have collections of pencil stubs, scraps of paper and assorted ephemera that I believe has an interesting pedigree, personality or potential. I love art supplies and I really love orphaned or abandoned art supplies. Got a broken ball-point pen? I'll probably find some use for it. I'm constantly pillaging my kids' cast-off art sets for too-hard colored pencils, colored paraffin masquerading as crayons, scented markers, and watercolors that should never see the light of day. These inferior things get my creative motor running. But do you save broken pencil tips?
In my personal work, because I often don't know what I'm going to draw before I've drawn it, I seek out the stimulation of these bits of junk that usually prove worthy of exploitation. It provides a starting place when staring into the great white void. So, for what it's worth (doing my part to keep the level of unprofessionalism high at Drawger) I present to you the mighty labor and last moments in the life of a quarter-inch piece of pencil lead. He left it all out on the field.
The grip of a seasoned professional. Note the extension and curl of the pointer finger. Everything seen here was performed on a closed course using professional drivers.
a tense moment! Don't choke on me Mr. Pencil lead!
Hmmmm… what can I do with this broken tip?
A scan of the drawing. Let's see: 1/4 piece of pencil = one page drawing without any shading. A pencil is approximately 8 inches long so I might get 32 pages of drawing out of one pencil… seems like it should be more. Still, that's one picture book, 32 pages…
The Situation Room
Here is the reverse side view of a painting in my sketchbook. I persevered or persevorated and finally perforated the paper to try to breath a little life into it. (I think I originally painted it in front of the TV while watching the Red Sox in their glory early this season). It just sat there like an indifferent lump. It nagged me. I can't just let crap sit there sucking the life out of the sketchbook. I will obliterate something to transfuse some life into the paper. In this case, I pumped up the black and then cut holes in it and was marveling at the effect when it was backlit. It sort of faded in and out. Cool!
Here's the front side with windows cut out and light from behind. It's like a paper theater now or an Advent calendar.

Whose window is that? Sleeping Beauty? Osama bin Laden?

I like the theatrical quality that is suddenly in the building. Can lover boy or the Navy SEALs be far away?

A prosperous pointy prince seeks his beloved and bewitching Princess Pat 'neath her stately pleasure dome!

But why the title "The Situation Room"? Well, I am artist and I make pictures. Lately, I've not been a good illustrator. Why this heresy? Because right now, the pictures come first. This is what matters the absolute most to me. But, to confuse things somewhat, my Art look a whole lot like Illustration. Illustrations for children's books. And these beguiling projects have Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. But alas, I have only Middles. Rather, I have a lot of suggestive situations and stories made of captions.
I do have some picture book dummies and they are circulating (or twiddling their thumbs probably ) within the palaces of publishing. But what I have in abundance are situations. Every day: more lovely Situations! Lots of Middles but fewer Beginnings and Endings. So there you have it (not that you asked!)
Back to work!
just checking…
uh huh…

just as I thought!

Now what?

Tell the Missus? …or not?

Shhhh, bonne nuit!

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