Web gets a kick out of leg art
By Dan O'Brien
September 13, 2013
September 13, 2013
When it comes to getting noticed for her artistic ability, Jody Steel ’14 already has a leg up.
And now, the job offers are rolling in.
“I began drawing on my legs because either paper was limited or I didn’t have any drawing materials on me,” said Steel, whose limb likeness of Walter White, the main character on Breaking Bad, received more than 530,000 views on imgur.com and is a top result on Google Image searches.
The amateur sketch artist, who hails from Hollywood, Florida, has created 10 images on her legs since the original Walter White drawing was crafted about a year ago. Her stunning talent had led to leggy portraits of Thom Yorke of Radiohead, actor Joseph Gordon Levitt, an elephant, and torn flesh with exposed bone—all of which have gotten a massive number of web hits.
“I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember,” Steel said. “I guess it comes from practice.”
She admits that all of the leg sketches were done while attending classes at Emerson.
It first caught the attention of her instructor, part-time faculty member Cynthia Miller, about two years ago.
“I noticed she was sketching during class—usually a no-no—but her work was so good, as were her grades,” Miller said. “We just made a deal for her to show me what she’d done at the end of each class.”
The result: Miller recruited Steel to draw the illustrations for her steam punk anthology book, Steaming Into a Victorian Future (Scarecrow Press, 2012), which recently won the Peter C. Rollins Award.
“I know her art made a real contribution to that,” Miller said.
Steel has received numerous freelance job offers, usually to do illustrations for marketing projects from companies around the world, since her name has gotten out.
“It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to do the leg drawings,” Steel said. “My most marketable skill is that I’m able to draw fast.”
So, how does she do it?
“It always has to be a Pilot Precise V5 [pen],” she said. “It’s really inky, so it allows me to spread the ink on myself.”
“I’ll wash it off that night. Otherwise it will stay on the bed sheets and my clothes,” Steel added. “It comes right off with regular soap.”
It was only recently that Steel received credit for her work. When she originally uploaded her Walter White picture to a personal imgur.com account that subsequently went viral, her name and website address were not included.
“It came as a shock, really,” she said.
Now, she writes the address of her website, www.jodysteel.com, on her legs, too.