Anderson: There Was No Tracing!

Not traced!

Last week, New York book critic Sam Anderson reviewed his masterpiece, Flight, written about Michael Jordan when Anderson was 13 years old. Much to our surprise, there was controversy! Several commenters and readers accused Anderson’s spritely teen version of … tracing! (Specifically in that picture right there.) Anderson returns today to defend himself against these scurrilous charges.

Tracing? How dare you guys impugn the artistic integrity of 1990 Sam Anderson?

Yes, admittedly, the UNC picture is one of the worst drawings anyone has ever seen. And, yes, that other one is drawn in a very different style, to the point that it’s even almost kind of acceptable. And also, yes, it does bear a very slight resemblance to this photo of MJ tearing up the dunk contest, an image I basically had tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

But I didn’t trace it! I’m 88 percent sure that this was just my very best photo-realistic freehand version, working line by line with the original image next to (but not underneath) the page. If I did trace it, wouldn’t that be some pretty horrendous tracing?

Not that horrendous tracing would have been entirely outside of 1990 Sam Anderson’s artistic skill set …

Anderson: There Was No Tracing!