Born to Draw Kilroy

By Zebrowski, Carl | America in WWII, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Born to Draw Kilroy


Zebrowski, Carl, America in WWII


AS A KID I WAS FOREVER DOODLING all over my notebooks and the textbook covers my mother fashioned for me from brown paper bags. I imagined that my furious scribbling was fooling Sister Clemention into believing I really was taking the notes I was supposed to be taking. But my grade-school teachers were probably just quietly content that I was preoccupied with something preferable to my other favorite class-time diversions: whispering to friends in the back of the room and interrupting the distribution of knowledge with wisecracks (which seemed exceptionally witty at the time).

Back in my earliest days, I thought I might grow up to be an artist (if I didn't make it through the police academy or firefighter training). My mother seemed agreeable about that. When I got older, I figured out that encouraging my dreams was her job. Looking today at the inkings on the old notebooks that the thoughtful mother of this would-be budding master preserved for posterity, I can see that no one besides a woman steadfastly devoted to her maternal duty would have offered more than than a polite "Oh, that's nice."

What I mostly drew was faces, cartoonish faces with big eyes and comical noses. I continued sketching down into the shoulders and collarbone area. But I usually avoided any serious attempt at bodies; early on I gave up on their contorted poses, tricky proportions, and countless other complications. To bring this into the context of America in WWII magazine, what I'm saying is that I could draw Kilroy. …

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