27 Hands and Hazards

Many artists prefer the solitary life, but there's definitely something to be said for having a live-in model when you get insecure about exactly how the human body is put together. You can look at yourself in a mirror, but you'd have to be set up with multiple mirrors like an apparel boutique to view yourself from all angles. And even if you've got mirrors up the wazoo, sketching your drawing hand (in my case, that's the left one) only works if the hand in your drawing is going to be holding a pencil.

So for four years a common sound heard in our apartment was my voice calling plaintively between rooms, "Eddie, do you have time to come in here and be a hand model for two minutes."

Above is an example of the kind of manual activity that seems uncomplicated until the time comes to draw it. How exactly do you clasp a container of sugar when you're sweetening your coffee? How many of the fingers on your other hand will be inserted into the coffee cup's handle?

There's scarcely a character of any importance in Stuck Rubber Baby whose hands weren't played at some time or other by the hands of Ed Sedarbaum. Come to think of it, I may have forgotten to mention that in my acknowledgments!

LETTER TO HENRY (October 7, 1993)

The execution of my book continues apace. Not swiftly, but apace. I have 150 pages completed now. Two additional pages will put me at the 75% point.

Even though I estimate that another year of drawing lies ahead, the notion of life after this graphic novel has begun to seem possible.

Tomorrow I take a train to Boston [where I’ll] appear on a panel of writers, called "Stereotypes, Archetypes, and Prototypes." The focus will be on creating characters who are members of groups of which you are not a member. Since my graphic novel is thoroughly populated with black characters, this is a matter that’s much on my mind.

I’m hoping to avoid the pitfalls of unconscious racism in my book, but God only knows if I will succeed. I’m sure I will be publicly flogged by angry mobs of the aggrieved for every failing that slips by. …