Sketch Friday #53 – Long John

I’ve been enjoying drawing these characters in repose, given a chance to relax where they otherwise will not have the opportunity in the book. I’ve been joking (to myself) that I spend enough time drawing people looking serious and sullen that an actual challenge would be to try and draw them chilling out.

The embedded, contextual narrative I had playing through my head (I’m talking like it’s just headcanon when––as a friend once pointed out to me–– in reference to these characters, it’s actually canon) for the drawing of Jonny was that he was laughing at a bad joke that Juan John was telling, or in the middle of a good-natured barb in response to a bad joke.

For today’s post, obviously it isn’t likely that this is a flashback where LJ is hanging out with the other Johns––in a flashback he would be wearing his clothes––so I could see this canonically happening soon after the conclusion of Chapter 3, perhaps on his way out of Lundy (where is he going?!) where he just takes a second and rests in the emotion that he had when reunited with Juan and Jonny for those brief moments in Chapter 3. “For a moment,” he thinks, “things were good.”

Working out this week’s drawing.

It’s actually these moments that are most fun to draw, for me. Part of that joy is technical––it’s when people are relaxing that poses get interesting. When reclining sideways on a chair, it challenges the artist to really consider weight and volume and the play between them. On the other side, such drawing is great to really suss out the character. Most stories do feature––as mentioned earlier––characters during their most stressed out or somber, but that’s because of what stories are––the events that occur to disturb the norm. The stories we tell of our lives are the moments that our routine is broken that something good, bad, or strange happens to us and we show ourselves in that moment which is often in a heightened state of emotion.

But life actually happens between those stories and it’s those moments we go to when we define ourselves. Despite the fact that my job is to literally stand in front of a room of people all day and talk to them, when I create a mental image of who I am, I think of when I’m alone in my office typing or drawing and talking to absolutely no one. It’s in these private, exposed moments that a creator can more fully define who this character actually is because it’s those moments we are always fighting to get back to.