Monday, February 27, 2012


Paul Madonna was raised in Pennsylvania and went to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. There he received his Bachelor's Degree of Fine Arts. After graduating, he moved to San Francisco and self-produced a series of miniature comics. He would leave these booklets lying around in coffee shops, in cafes, on park benches - anywhere people might stumble upon them. After awhile working to get his work out, he began illustrating weekly for the San Francisco Chronicle. He has since published several books, has a well-known comic series "Small Potatoes," and is well regarded by critics such as Oprah, the DC Spotlight, and the Boston Globe.

I was immediately attracted to Paul Madonna's drawings due to their detailed intricacy and realism. He draws what he sees, and he does it very well. Every one of the images I ran into in his collection "All Over Coffee" was more impressive than the last, and I had to rent the book. Furthermore, he is an artist who created a name for himself, out of pure talent and interest. He took a bold leap of faith, and it happened to pay off.

Paul Madonna has large collections of drawings of San Francisco scenes. But he has countless other projects. He writes witty, short poems or testimonies of his fabricated characters and couples them with endearing illustrations. Nonetheless, he sticks to pen and ink drawings, sometimes including water color. More than anything, I admire his attention to detail and courage to tackle massive projects. I also enjoy his ability to turn the average, taken-for-granted images we see daily into a handsome and contemplative piece of artwork.

I wanted to include this piece from Paul Madonna's sketchbook. It shows how he finds inspiration and subject matter even in the most seemingly mundane. He quickly sketched these women at a coffee shop just to capture the moment he was experiencing. This type of rough sketch offers inspiration for me, as well. It tells me I can draw anything at anytime, and not to be critical of the outcome. In other words, the physical act of drawing is more important than anticipating the end result or the judgment that ensues or anything like that.

"All Over Coffee"

"Everything is its Own Reward"

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