As a kid I was pretty good at drawing… until I got my first Apple II computer. After that, I did the occasional scribble-sketch, but my level of skill basically remained frozen for the next 30 years. When you stop drawing, you get rusty very fast.
Over three decades of writing, programming, and other left-brain activities, I pretty much forgot that I’d ever known how to draw.
Until ten months ago. It was in Paris, a city where unexpected things often happen to me. The first day after flying in from California is always a bit surreal anyway; you force yourself to stay up and walk around in the bright daylight, even though your body wants to be asleep and dreaming. On that day, to stay awake I went to the Jewish Museum in the Marais. They had an exhibit called “From Superman to The Rabbi’s Cat” about the history of comics.
As I prowled the museum, it gradually became intolerable to me that I had gotten to a point in my life where I could no longer express myself through drawing. I don’t know if it was the comics or the Holocaust memorabilia that tore it, but the next morning I bought a sketchbook and a pen and started drawing people in the street, in cafés, at train stations. That was last December. I’ve gone through three notebooks since then.
Now, I’m addicted. These days, when I’m in an airport and my flight is delayed, I hardly mind, because it’s a chance to draw. I love drawing even when the drawings don’t come out right. It’s a trance state, like playing music or skiing: Even when it’s bad, it’s good.