Heyoka’s Workbench


An old pencil drawing, sized A4 and made after a post card. I included it in the portfolio with which, long ago, I applied at some universities for a place to study graphic design.

Artwork like this usually impresses people. Not so with the jury members who, back then, plucked the most promising candidates from the host of applicants. They were the kind of persons who look at pieces of art with expert eyes and cannot be easily dazzled. For them, a drawing like mine was no proof of any marked talent, but – at best – an indication of some industry and perseverance.

That was quite a bitter pill to swallow. But a valuable lesson, too. Especially in combination with the new experience of finding myself not the paramount artist hero (like ever before) but just an average dabbler among many brilliant competitors who had already reached a much higher level of skill and maturity. I learned that art is perception and working with the things perceived. And a photo is already an interpretation of someone else’s perception. Photos, no doubt, are extremely useful for artists (the great Hergé relied on a vast archive of photographs) but to learn the trade you first have to train your perception and your skill to discern the relevant, the signal among the noise.

Drawing: “Sid Vicious” (drawn from a photo)