Thursday, March 13, 2008


There are millions of drawings out there with a claim on our attention, but that doesn't mean we can't pause for a moment over one lovely example.

When you stand in a meadow full of daffodils, your eye may settle by chance upon just one. Not the Best flower, not the worst, but by looking at it and smelling it up close you learn something about every other flower in the meadow.

Today's flower is from the great Ronald Searle. Here he does what he does best-- dips his pen in his DNA and comes up with a brilliant, caustic, insightful drawing.

Searle's line is a joy to behold.

In the following detail, note how Searle applies his trademarked approach to three completely different surfaces; the hard geometry of architecture, the soft folds of a curtain, and the natural lines of flowers have all been humanized by Searle. This is what great artists do.

Searle's editorializing is as sharp and wise as his line. Look at the marvelous way he conveys these gelatinous corporate "yes" men:

It's hard to overstate Searle's influence on generations of artists that followed him. (Obvious examples include Pat Oliphant, Jeff MacNelly and Mort Drucker).

His drawings are always worth revisiting.

(PS: for more about Searle, check out this great tribute blog dedicated to Searle.)