This started out as the sketching equivalent of a piano finger exercise, with two grids and light, medium and dark tones. It felt like it needed some text-as-image. “Mental Blocks” was chosen for its acrostic potential. The inner trickster mandated that the words be reversed and the right-side word be turned upside down. Then things happened fast. Words were chosen to create a puzzle that might make for a mental block. The puzzle is this: given the words that are completely readable, and the constraint they follow, can the solver determine EXACTLY what the rest of the words are?
Finally, with erasure and redrawing, the rest of the image materialized: a figure chained by words and blocked by grids, wondering how to solve and be released. There are a couple of drawing problems–I’m especially unhappy with the visible hand and its shadowing–but I’m happy with it as a sketch of an idea. (Maurice Sendak, in the introduction to THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, once praised Jules Pfeiffer for his ability to draw an idea. That’s what I want to do, and often don’t succeed in doing.)