Thursday, January 21, 2010



A recent conversation with Jamie Ridler inspired me to look back through all of my illustrations since my first post in 2004. It's a pretty interesting progression. Here we go. These two are from 2004 or 2005:

In 2005 I decided to try to "really" draw, copying from images in magazines. That was a really great (and inexpensive) art school at the time.

Then I decided to go back to drawing in my own way. Soon I started to tell little stories like this one (2005).

Later I developed a stronger sense of line. Below is one of my most popular images (2006). Seven academics and one businessperson have asked permission to use it in presentations!

I drew the one below in 2007 after a company bowling outing. Everyone teased me for wearing a skirt. Notice that in my untrained hand, I got the order reversed. It should read from left to right.

I continued to work hard on my writing. I wanted really smooth narrations with no extra words. I became ruthless. Below is a drawing from one of my best stories. Unfortunately, it was not one of my best drawings.

The post below got really big feedback. It illustrates an anti- (Iraq) war essay by Bill Moyers. I sent him a copy of the panels; he actually wrote a little card to me about the post!

Below is a panel from 2009. I tried doing black-and-white illustrations. When I compare this one to my first drawings above I see better composition, better perspective, and a much more confident hand.
And finally, one of my favorites, done in 2009. You can see that I have learned about perspective and light. I also became less exact about details -- see the size of the wine bottle in his hand!

This retrospective shows me the improvements that I have made. It also gives me a sense that I can continue to grow a lot as a storyteller and illustrator. Thanks to anyone who has left a comment on my blog. The comments, more than anything, keep me growing as an artist. I never would have lasted these five years without this supportive and perceptive blogging community.

PS: I encourage you to make your own retrospective. You will discover a lot about your product and your process.


Rowena said...

I really like your narrative style. The stories you tell are great. And they are so deceptively simple. I should do a retrospective too, it looks like it would be an interesting exercise.

Hybrid J said...

Thank you for such great post re your journey! It gives me confidence in pursuing my creative expression. Also, I'm thoroughly enjoying your stories and drawing. :)

Maya Sara Matthew said...

Thank you for sharing Caroline.A retrospective is a fantastic idea must get down to it.Love your work, the style you've developed and the stories you tell.Here's to a decade of great story telling with pictures.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Greetings caroline,

Looking back is always good.

I have taken self-portraits over the last forty years and I am due for another one but the weather and the light have not been cooperative.

As I see your work and read the notations, I see improvement, but above all a consistency in style that was evident from the first drawing.

Warmest regards,

Lawendula said...

When I look at your drawings, I always wonder if you are familiar with Marie Marcks, a very popular German artist for cartoons from Heidelberg.
I really love her work. If you don't know her, look her up, you will love it!

bobbie said...

We all need a retrospective once in a while. It can help so much. - I can understand why you had such requests for your baby and bath water! - Your work is so appealing to us all because we see ourselves in it. And, of course, it is done so well.

Anne said...

I can't say enough how much I look forward to your blog each week. My heart actually smiles when I see that you have a new entry!

Melinda said...

older art of yours or current...I love it all. You have an incredible way of reaching each each of us deep within our very core....which allows us to make that connection. We can all relate to what you draw and the stories you tell. That is one reason I love your work so very much.

Jill said...

It is always a pleasure to share an artist's thought process.

Barbara Anne said...

Applause, applause!!!!!!!!

Persistence pays off!!

Perhaps I shall draw a bit each day as I've long wished to be better at it.

Cheers and hugs!

kjkljk;ljljgjgfuyhd said...

Dear Caroline~
Thank you for sharing a portion of your journey so far...
I so look forward to seeing even more.
I must do a retrospective, too!

Margaret Benbow said...

I like very much the panel where ("Oooops") you're throwing out a tiny man with the bath water. Many women could relate!

Your technical proficiency has clearly advanced, but your wit, warmth of heart and vitality of style have been present from the beginning. This is wonderfully satisfying art, Caroline.

Mark said...

I like this idea of retrospection, though my work is hard for me to see. I have these few books in my study. These posts here and your theme this week help me to see my work in them with new, more appreciative eyes. So thank you.

Taneesha said...

:) :) !!!

Balisha said...

Love this...I have done the same thing only with my poetry on the blog. I started out simply and now my poems are full of detail and much longer.
I love the way you tell a story with your art.We get to see what makes you tick.

Merisi said...

Dear Caroline,

thank you for this very interesting retrospective of your work! Your wonderful sense of humor has been there from the beginning, but your drawings have become such skillfully executed and delightful works of art. I am so grateful to have "met" you, you are a great inspiration!

Lana Gramlich said...

I've always enjoyed going back through old works. I even still have things from high school. At different times in my life I took very long breaks from art & as a result, the "retrospective" is instant. When I get back into it again, so much changed. Even if the hand had been idle during my "time off," the eye had NOT been.

Deborah Carr said...

This is a wonderful lesson, isn't it? When we stop to track our progress, we really appreciate how far we have come.

You should never stop doing what you are doing. You make people happy.