Here’s my latest piece for Chico News and review. A portrait of Ezekiel Merritt, one of the architects of California’s Bear Flag Revolt. No pictures exist of this man, so I had to imagine what he might look like.
I used to make a lot of simple, graphic drawings for screenprinting and scratchboard art (like animals, runners, cyclists, trees, whatever). When sketching for that, I would just use ink pens like a Sharpie or UniBall. This way I can quickly block in shapes and decide where to play the darks and lights off of each other to aid the design. I also like pens because I like to stylize elements and make things really graphic. So it’s not so much about rendering, although I’m changing my attitude about that now.
To work up a sketch I’ll take my ink pens and start drawing on tracing paper. Then I’ll layer another sheet on top and redraw it, changing things here and there. I’ll do this for as long as it takes to get the drawing exactly the way I want it. The problem with layering tracing paper over and over is that sometimes the “soul” of the drawing gets lost. The lines can start to look contrived and predictable and lose energy.
Now that I’m starting to work digitally, I’m finding that it’s easier to retain the freshness. I can do a rough, imperfect ink drawing, scan it in, and alter elements infinitely. Now I’m just erasing and redrawing things like with a pencil, but still have my bold pen marks. It’s the best of both worlds.
Hello! my name is Tom Parsons and I’m a designer and illustrator from North Carolina. I’ve been working for over ten years and my designs have embellished books, magazines, cycling jerseys, packaging, posters and more.
Transworld Skateboarding Magazine circa 1986 was my initial inspiration for becoming a designer. All the day-glo, screenprinted skateboard graphics plastered inside those pages were like eye candy to this skinny kid. Sadly, my efforts to emulate my skateboarding heroes came to naught, but I did learn how to draw along the way. And I’m still learning…
I also love mountain bikes. One of these days I hope to ride the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. That is if I can pry myself out of my basement studio long enough…