the pearl

Pencil Sketch

Maybe you know me. Maybe you've seen me around. Remember when you went to that con and you saw your absolute favorite artist and you begged him for a sketch — you would have sold your soul for a little piece of artwork from him — and he said "No"?

That was probably me. And I'm sorry. I really am.

But I couldn't let it out, see? I couldn't let people know what I was and what I had done.

No one's gonna buy comics from a mutant. Especially a mutant who can make pictures appear with a thought.

Yeah, hand me a sheet of paper, give me an idea, and when I put my hand on the paper, there's a picture. I can make it look like pencil, I can make it look like ink — Hell, if I wanted, it'd be a damned Da Vinci if I wanted.

But it's still just me and my mutant power.

Yeah, it seems like a great power, but let me tell you — finding out you're a mutant 'cause your mom finds pictures of naked girls on the wallpaper directly above the toilet is not the best way. Repapering the entire bathroom was a pretty strong punishment just for having a little "private" time...

But once I got it a bit more under control, and made sure to stay away from reading newspapers in public, it was like the entire art world was open to me — five minutes, and I'd have a masterpiece right then and there.

Except, of course, the art world ain't too keen on pictures at the moment. It's all installations and video projects and sheep in little insta-sketches ain't gonna cut it.

So it was comics.

Quick, dirty, easy comics.

I mean, hell, if I can create a Rembrandt in five minutes, it takes like a second to make some big-titted gun-totin' bitch kicking the crap out of this excessively-muscled hero, right?

And if I can get it done in half the time with none of the tantrums the other artists have...well, hell, I'm not just economical, I'm a goddamned genius.

Because, y'see, I never let them see me work. I'd go off to my private office, close the blinds, and I'd work. Five minutes of thought and touch, and then twenty minutes of tracing over things with a pencil and erasing them — 'cause it was supposed to be real, y'know? I sat there with a pencil and my eraser and I sweated blood to get them done. I was an artist.

And the fans licked it up. Couldn't get enough of my work. Posters, t-shirts, name it, they consumed it. I'd show up at cons, and the girls would want to sleep with me, the boys would want to buy me drinks, and I'd have a damned entourage following me around.

Those were the worst. Absolutely the worst. Everyone expecting a little sketch, handing me napkins and scraps of paper. "Can you draw this? Can you sign that? Just a little one?"

It got to be too much. I couldn't go to my comic book store to buy anything, 'cause every time I did, some kid would be there with big eyes and a notebook.

So I'm changin' my style. I'm learning how to draw. By hand. No more cheating.

This next book I'm working on, I'm doing everything from scratch. I ain't letting myself slide again.

And you know what's the funniest thing?

It's a book about mutants.

Beat that.

This X-Men story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at