Tuesday, 16 November 2010

IN HALCYON DAYS OF YORE...


Thor the Mighty - from the cover of Fantastic
Annual 1968
  Perhaps I'll get some
stick for this, but believe it
or not, when I was a young
lad at primary school, I was
regarded as the best artist in
my class, if not the whole
school.  Now before you fall
about laughing, that wasn't
(and isn't) a figment of my
imagination - it just happen-
ed to be the consensus of
opinion amongst  teachers
and pupils alike.

Naturally, there must've
been a few artistically
inclined individuals who
resented and disagreed
with this generous assess-
ment of my abilities, but -
if so - they remained
the (silent) minority.

However, I couldn't really take credit for my place atop the heap.  After
all, I was merely regurgitating the styles of artists of the calibre of KIRBY,
BUSCEMA, DITKO, COLAN, SWAN, ANDERSON - and a whole host
of others.  Because of that, my drawings tended to have more impact and
therefore made a lasting impression.  What follows is an example of
what I'm talking about.

One day I and two other pupils (JULIE CUNNINGHAM and
BILLY McCLUSKEY) each produced a drawing or painting which
were regarded as so good that we were taken around the school to show
them to the other classes.  Billy had drawn (in pencil) a scene of two boxers
pounding it out in the ring (he was a big fan of, and maybe even related, I
think, to a famous boxer of the same surname), and Julie had  drawn (also
in pencil) a lake scene with swans gliding over the surface.  Both were very
nicely done, if I remember correctly after 40-odd years.  As for myself,
I had painted a picture of THOR, standing on a mountain top
and holding aloft his hammer to the heavens. 

Every class we visited, the result was the same.  We'd stand in a
row whilst the teacher indulged in a bit of preamble, and then raise our
pictures for the class to see - only to be met with cries of "Look - it's Thor -
Wow!" and similar exclamations of awe and wonder.  Now, truth to tell, my
picture was probably not much better-rendered than Julie's or Billy's - but
the subject was more dynamic (and in colour) and, consequently, almost
guaranteed to draw the attention of everyone in the room.  Hardly any-
body took a second look at the the pictures of my two despondent
classmates - some never even took a first.

Poor Julie and Billy - they must have hated me.

Anyway, what's the point of the story?  Merely that I often look back
on those days and wish that I was as good an artist now for my age as I
was then.  For a 9 or 10 year old I was "hot" - as an adult I barely qualify
as lukewarm.  What's the old saying?  Ah, yes, I remember.

"NEVER REST ON YOUR LAURELS."

'Nuff said.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kid, had the same annual myself. Did you ever keep any of your early school art? My mother kept a few of my efforts which even at such a young age were a clear indication that I would never be exhibited one day!

Ken.

Kid said...

I've got nothing from my primary school years, but have one drawing of Superman that I drew (very quickly) in English class when I was 13. Truth to tell, it really isn't all that good, and I don't think it represents the potential I displayed at the time. I can only speculate that keeping an eye out for the teacher (so that she didn't see me doodling when I should have been doing something else) inhibited me somewhat. Excuses, excuses.