A while ago I went to a farm to get some practice sketching sheep and chickens. I was off to a good start with some head studies, but the animals got restless. They ran off before I could draw their bodies. Here’s what my sketchbook page looked like.
That evening I went to a pub to have a beer and listen to some Irish music. A guy and his wife sat down at a table in front of me, perfect targets for a candid sketch. My book popped open to the half-finished drawing. Amazingly, the animal heads lined up with the human bodies. So I just finished the drawing without giving it another thought.
About then his wife spotted me. She turned to her husband and said, “Herb, that artist is drawing a picture of us. You should go take a look.”
No, I gestured. Don’t bother. But he staggered over anyway and stood beside to me, staring at my picture, grunting and hiccuping.
Oh, great, I thought, I’m dead. He’s pissed off, for sure. How could I possibly explain this insulting portrait? Especially since I made him a ewe and his wife was a rooster.
But Herb didn’t say a word. He toddled back and sank into his chair and took a long, searching look at his beer bottle. Then he pushed the bottle away and never took another sip.