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  • Writer's pictureJay Abel

THE YOUNG MAN MAD ABOUT DRAWING

Updated: Feb 20


Most of my time in 2021, after the great pandemic lifted in June, was dedicated to sorting through the towering stack of drawings left by my friend of 50 years, William Glen Crooks. I was trying to make something representative, chronological, and comprehensive out of what amounted to a scrambled mess.


William Glen Crooks - "Street Fight" 1971


Forced by serious illness to retire at 66, Glen gave his blessing to the project, and assisted where he could.

The first version of the book "William Glen Crooks, Drawings and Graphic art" was a monster, 300 pages and 500 reproductions ruthlessly edited from 10,000 or so surviving originals. I re-edited that stack down to 284 pages, and published it as a full-color hardback book that rang up for over $80. I didn’t like that, as I prefer to keep things reasonably inexpensive. Last year, in 2022, I resolved to break his book into 2 paperback volumes, plus a shorter paperback of Glen's masterful life drawings, and cut the price somewhat.

This I have done.

All volumes are more than worthy, however the 1st book of his selected graphic art is perhaps, the most compelling because it chronicles his dedication to a thing that few artists really cultivate anymore, conscious development.


Most artists, good or bad, start out a certain way and end up, more or less, the same way.

Glen pushed himself to evolve. He didn't sleep, he drew.

When I first met Glen he was 18, and already committed to drawing as a vocation and as a life. He was a voracious learner and he became an erudite art historian, but it wasn't to pass examinations, or to raid styles, he cared nothing for any of that. He only wanted to make himself an informed artist.


For Glen, that was the only sort of artist to be.

Most artists fall back on a generic formula or a trendy look, Glen never did. There is nothing derivative or mannered in his drawing, not ever. Be the results good or bad, no American artist ever drew so much with his own hand since Edward Hopper.


I have never seen an artist more dedicated to a work ethic. From 12th grade to the day he was forced to retire, 10 -12 hour days, drawing or painting in his garage studio or out in the field were his normal days.


Book one documents Glen's first 5 years as a work in progress, a brilliant, restless young man, mad about drawing. The book begins with his furious gesture drawings, generally from life. We see him progress, with real determination, towards structured realism, ending in a great realist print, a wordless manifesto really, in 1975. In between are many unpredictable detours into expressionism, history, religion and mythology.


It's a hell of a ride.


Both volumes are around 142 pages, color, 400 reproductions total. All proceeds go to the artist. See the "bookstore" button on the homepage of this site to purchase. JDA


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