A HardPressed Disquiet

I am proud to say that Marc Weidenbaum asked me to be the 16th illustrator for his blog Disquiet’s “Sketches of Sound” series, in which he asks cartoonists and illustrators to draw a sound-related object. Previous artists include Brian Biggs, Dylan Horrocks, Megan Kelso, Darko Macan, and Justin Orr, so I’m in good company. Here’s my piece:

'Sketches of Sound 16' by Jesse Baggs for Marc Weidenbaum's 'Disquiet'

I first met Marc in New Orleans as I was traveling cross country in the summer of 2002, where he was kind enough to let some friends and I watch the Lennox Lewis / Mike Tyson fight on Pay-Per-View at his house. Marc lived in Sacramento for a time before that, where he was a writer and editor for Tower Records’s now-defunct Pulse! magazine. One of the features he edited for the magazine was a music-related comics page that started with a series by a young Adrian Tomine, and then another by Justin Green, which was eventually collected in the book Justin Green’s Musical Legends, for which Marc wrote the introduction. The Pulse! comics page eventually featured many more artists, a virtual cartoonists “Who’s Who,” including Peter Kuper, P. Craig Russell, Jason Lutes, Carol Swain, Dan DeCarlo, Keith Knight, John Porcellino, Kaz, Jessica Abel, Matt Madden, Tony Millionaire, and many, many more; the complete list can be seen here.

My dad is a drummer, and played for a garage band called The Unheard as a teenager in the 60s.

The Unheard

When I started creating illustrations for Drum! Magazine in the early aughts, my dad purchased a subscription to the magazine and took up drumming again. My youngest brother, who also played drums in school, purchased a drum set from Aaron Winters (my, this is a name-droppy post!) and now one room of my parents’ house is packed full of drums, where my dad, brother, and even my mom play from time to time. I originally wanted my “Sketches of Sound” piece to be of their equipment, but my initial sketches were too visually cacophonous:

'Drums Study 1' by Jesse Baggs

'Drums Study 2' by Jesse Baggs

Marc told me he liked my less prevalent “straight” drawings, such as this sketch of my hand:

'Bruised Fingernail' by Jesse Baggs

So, I decided to pick one instrument I could really focus on. My next-door neighbor fixes violins for a living, and has two garages full of instruments he’s working on or has turned into art objects, such as lamps. He lent me a “burner” violin, from which I created this drawing:

'Violin Study' by Jesse Baggs

I really liked the whole thing, but felt the top handle looked best with its intense focus. Marc agreed, and now the illustration decorates his blog and twitter feed. Hoorah!