He was assigned to a ball-toss game in Kiddie Land. A bucket of ping pong balls cost five dollars. The goal was to toss a ball into one of the glass bowls floating by on little rafts in a circular wading pool.
The game looked impossible and nobody was going for it.
I asked him if I could sketch him while he waited between customers, and he was glad for the diversion.
He said when a family walks by he can tell right away who makes the decisions and who's got the money. Sometimes it's the dad, and sometimes it's the mom. I asked him if he had a good sales pitch to pull people in. "This game's not worth my barking," he said.
Every fifteen minutes or so a family would come up, pay the money, and a kid would toss the balls one by one.
Ping--Splash. Plip -- Splash. Dink, Dink -- Splash.
As each kid went away disappointed, Fig got up to his feet, leaned over the plastic pool, and scooped out the ping pong balls with a kitchen strainer.
The portrait took about an hour. I used watercolor and colored pencils, with a little gouache for the edge lighting, highlights, teeth and the blue collar. When I showed it to him, he shook my hand and said, "Good. You got my scowl."