Back to my old drawing board

One of my earliest footy memories is at my ‘Seventies style laminex kitchen bench perched on a matching orange stool listening to the ‘Captain and The Major’ call the Magpies on 3KZ.  If I wasn’t tracking the progress with my Lego made scoreboard, there was a good chance I was drawing Billy Picken flying above a human pyramid, taking the specky to end all speckies!  As soon as my father and two (considerably) older brothers returned from far-flung suburban battlefields, for some reason I’d always ask ‘what was on the banner’ and ‘who won the Little League?’  At six I’d experienced the odd game in the flesh at VFL Park so I guess those were the crucial missing pieces of my afternoon’s imaginings.

As a little tacker there was little choice but to amuse myself most of the time, and when I grew bored with (somewhat tragic) self-invented ‘me v me’ games I’d crack out the coloured pencils.  Footy was obviously an obsession, and drawing tributes to my heroes was an enjoyable distraction until it was time for Looney Tunes or The Goodies.  Around the 1987-89 period my final burst of attempted footy artistry honored favourites such as Daicos, Millane, Brown and BT.  Often they would be enacting a key moment I’d witnessed, but as much as I loved drawing the players, I enjoyed recreating the unique vistas of the various grounds – even the sponsors logos on the hoardings.  I considered copying off photographs cheating, but now in retrospect, perhaps I was cheating myself from acquiring the skill to better represent the human athletic form.  And ultimately I probably just grew tired of eking out the tedious crowds.

Now my little boy is developing an attachment to Collingwood, and interestingly, drawing.  I’d barely sketched anything of note for 20 years, until recent secondments by Mr Six to depict all manner of animals, dinosaurs, cars, motorbikes etc.  I manage to impress him and Miss Four, if no one else.  “You’re vewy good at dwawing Daddy”.  ‘Yeah, thanks mate, not really’ I respond, disappointed at failing to even match my childhood efforts.  Alas, whilst I can compose decent photographs, reasonably transferring an image in my brain down my arm, into my hands and fingers and onto the page now seems beyond me.  Although my mother and sister are talented artists, I’m not worthy of rinsing Yvette Wroby’s brushes.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what I managed to salvage from a yellowing old scrap-book I feared lost (with a modern Instagram flourish).


With thanks to John Carr (@TheHolyBoot) for prompting this via his extensive blog piece on childhood footy art.

About Jeff Dowsing

Washed up former Inside Sport and Sunday Age Sport freelancer. Now just giving my stuff away to good homes. Not to worry, still have my health and day job. Published & unpublished works fester on my blog Write Line Fever.


  1. Fourth Ump says

    Thanks for sharing. Your drawings are priceless and and unexpected bonus to your copy.

  2. Skip of Skipton says

    The Goodies into Kenny Everett Video Show into Dr. Who was the big all-up in 1979/80/81 etc. It helped me get over Collingwood losing those grand finals.

    I was going to link to Devo ‘Whip it’, or Kiss ‘I was made for loving you’, but instead here is a song that was no. 1 for a long time.

  3. Cheryl Critchley says

    Wow these are ace Jeff. What a find!

  4. Jeff, these are fantastic. While they might not be technically at the level to which you might have aspired (still far better than anything I could do!), each captures the moment beautifully. Glad you were able to salvage and share them.

  5. Fricken love your drawings man. Is that the western oval in one of the pics?

  6. Peter Flynn says


    Time well filled until The Goodies.

    What a hilarious show .

    Enjoyed the illustrations and the read.

  7. Thanks for the kind critique everyone!

    Yes, that is the Western Oval Pete. Vic Park, the G and the original Carrara also got a run.

    And what I failed to mention Peter was the Kenny Everett Video Show, though I don’t think I got some of the jokes…

  8. Lord Bogan says

    Great stuff Jeff,

    Doug Barwick’s mullet in 1988-9 was a beauty. And who can forget the days when Mini Skips was our major sponsor?

  9. DBalassone says

    Jeff, these are quite impressive. My first imperssion is that you get a feel for the late 80s, whether it be the Daicos snap, the Tony Shaw arse, or the Dougy Barwick mullet.

    Thought I spotted Paul Rizonico in there as well, or was it Colin Alexander?

  10. Good pickup Damien, that is indeed Colin Alexander. And I’m pretty sure #38 is Austin McCrabb looking on!

    Daics, Starce & Browny also sporting mullets Phil, as I confess to also having back in the day.

  11. Ian Syson says

    Phil. From mini skips to wog bogans, footy finds its constituency.

  12. JD, you draw a hell of a crowd. Loved how you packed them in like sardines. Just like it was back then

  13. Peter Fuller says


    Highly evocative artwork, thanks for the memories.
    I also wanted to acknowledge your splendid variant on a player who is not fit to tie a champion’s bootlaces (or polish his boots) with your reference to “rinsing Yvette’s rushes.”

  14. Jeff, you already know my thoughts on these drawings! They really gave the blog post a huge boost. Love the crowds, advertising, players in motion, attention to detail. Brilliant

Leave a Comment