Why This Picture?

This is a character from the novel The Boy… Forever. Icarus Jones is based on a kid I mentored back in the 1980’s. His real name was Jose. He was incredibly curious and good at skateboarding. He went to college at Notre Dame.

This picture was inspired by a piece of pottery I saw in 1994 in New Mexico on my way back to Texas after visiting my sister in California. The background is an imitation of the glaze on the pot. The Native American Boy is drawn from a model in a Sears catalog, one that was wearing a polyester t-shirt and narrow jeans.

These are all students I taught my very first year as a teacher. Teresa would even get a teaching degree and come back to teach in the same school district as me, though in the elementary school, not the middle school where I taught.

This is a picture inspired by a dream of being alone on a tropical island with a native island girl. Fifteen years after drawing this picture, I married a girl from the Philippines.

This began as a doodle while watching Max Fleischer’s animated movie Hoppity Goes to Town. I turned it from a pencil doodle into a pen-and-ink illustration that morphed into a comic fairytale.
This was a classroom rules poster illustrated with a portrait of Hilda, a very quiet and intelligent student who was the first of a family of eight kids of which I taught the youngest seven. The only one I didn’t teach joined us as an English teacher a decade later. Hilda never told me if she recognized herself in the picture even though she sat in my class for a second year while it hung on my wall. (I taught both seventh and eighth graders for a number of years.)

Dilsey Murphy is a character based about 85% on the older of my two sisters. The 81 is the number of Minnesota Vikings defensive end Carl Eller. My sister and my father were rooting for the Vikings as I rooted for the Kansas City Chiefs in Superbowl IV after the 1969 NFL season. I am still not allowed to gloat over who won.

This is a portrait of the main villain in the Disney version of Treasure Island. That book is the one that really hooked me on reading novels in the winter of 1966. I read Grandma Aldrich’s copy of the book illustrated by N.C. Wyeth that February while I was sick with the flu.

The background of this picture is my last actual classroom at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas. I used it for this illustration of Mike Murphy and Blueberry Bates in my novel Magical Miss Morgan.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, nostalgia, Paffooney

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