A couple of months ago I illustrated my last Esquire magazine sex advice column. It was a good run. The parting was amicable and it was nice to leave on a positive note.
The gig lasted longer than anybody had a right to expect- 6 or 7 years I think - and I'm very grateful to have worked with some some terrific art directors and editors over that stretch. I usually had a choice of which question to illustrate, and the AD liked to present three or four ideas to the Editor. Here are a dozen sketches that, for one reason or another, didn't make the cut. I xeroxed them and slapped on some quick color. I'll include the questions or subject that these were intended to address.
Above: I suspect my wife might have bi-sexual inclinations.
I seem to be having some difficulty locating my girlfriend's G Spot.
What effect, if any, does facial hair have on oral sex?
Whiskey dick. (It's a thing).
Sometimes I'd submit sketches that I knew wouldn't fly. It was liberating to not have to cover everything up, and it helped to get it out of my system. After all, I was illustrating a sex column where I could not show people actually having sex. The Ad's would humor my sad little acts of rebellion.
This was about the dangers of trusting online dating profiles.
Something about the "origins of oral sex".
Just how "clean" are those motel beds?
To accompany some advice about using humor as a coping strategy for guys with small dicks.
Another one for the Origins of Oral Sex question.
Some reader wrote in with concerns that he might be allergic to sex.
Loud Orgasms. Apparently this is a problem. (That cat owes a debt to the great A. B. Frost.)
If this is a little confusing it's because Esquire editors discouraged any skin on skin contact below the waist - a precaution we'd all do well to consider.
This was for a question about sperm banks and age limits.
This was for the NY Times Book Review. It ran on Dec. 29th., to accompany a Lawrence Osborn review of Olivia Laing's new book, The Trip To Echo Springs, about writers with drinking problems (and, inevitably, drinkers with writing problems). Nicholas Blechman Art Directs the Review, and the brief was a simple one; draw these six alcoholic writers in their element. I suggested dropping in a couple of writing "props", and aside from that, it all went down as smoothly as a single malt on a snowy night.
The subject of color was a longer discussion. Nic and I agreed that a full, saturated watercolor approach
would be a distraction and wouldn't reproduce well in newsprint anyway. NB wanted to highlight the cocktails and agreed to let me drop in touches of flesh tones here and there and we talked about a flat background wash to hopefully bring up the faces. While drawing, I tried to keep in mind the exquisite portraits that Joe Ciardiello does for this same publication - an effort, I suppose, to incorporate a little of his discipline and restraint, (I know - good luck with that).
Sent Nic the black and white drawing before painting and the final before the background wash, in case he'd prefer to go with one of those.
clockwise from bottom left, this is
Raymond Carver, Hemingway (God knows what he's drinking here), John Berryman, John Cheever, Fitzgerald and Tennessee Williams.