I may have mentioned before that Pratt’s Draw-A-Thon is steeped in Tradition. In that tradition, I have two iron clad rules, and one is ‘Friends don’t let friends use charcoal’. I’ve spent the last decade softly smiling at the freshmen who are required to attend this blessed occasion. They are fuzzy. Like in a camera obscura kind of way… You can see them, but you can’t really see them. They are covered in a thin layer of black dust. They look ridiculous. They look like this:
The crazed look in their eyes kicks in at about 4am. This year however, I was without Sandra, and so I was wooed by the racoon-rimmed eyes of a small sophomore sprite who had doused herself in ebony powder and was attacking her sketchbook with earnest. Knowing full well that charcoal sketches always look just plain awful and there’s no way to glean anything actually happening with them, I was sure her work was going to be horrid, but her sketchbook was beautiful, so I had to ask her where she got it. She’d picked it up in Florence on a study abroad program. I braced myself for her dirty, dark sketches and was instead floored and impressed by how beautiful they were.
“Here, wanna try some?” she reached out her hand to share a broken stick and I was pulled back to a particularly lovely day on the bleachers in high-school. –OK…. Just a little… I thought. So here are my charcoal sketches from a long night, in which I made new friends, with kids and with medium.