'Sketch artist': Soldier uses pencil to capture Army life
August 7, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- While many Soldiers go throughout their careers collecting mementos and photographs for scrapbooks and photo albums, Sgt. 1st Class David Geig picks up a pencil and his sketchbook.
Geig, a military policeman with 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, has always had a passion for art.
While he enjoys color drawing and paint, his medium of choice is pencil.
"I like the fine point of the pencil. I use an Army mechanical pencil -- it's always sharp," Geig explained.
Although he never had formal training, Geig has been commissioned to produce several unit prints, including one for 91st Military Police Battalion. While he originally enlisted as a light wheeled vehicle mechanic in 1995, he changed his military occupational specialty to military police.
"I love this job. I love (being an MP) in the Army," Geig said. "I enjoy the law enforcement side of my job. I enjoy the training (and the) camaraderie, and I feel like I'm doing what I always thought the Army was."
While growing up in Ohio, art was always one of Geig's hobbies, but it wasn't until an accident had him on medical leave that he really started honing his craft.
"In 2006, I had an accident where I fell off of an air assault obstacle course tower," he said. "I broke my jaw in three places, so I was out of commission and couldn't do anything but sit on the couch for a couple of months. That's when I really started (drawing a lot).
"I've had no formal training; it's just trial and error," Geig added.
Geig uses photos to create his sketches, but he also uses his military experience from his service at Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Polk, La.; Fort Drum and his time in Korea and Italy, when drawing something Army-related.
"My experience does help, especially dealing with Army images," he said. "I know what I'm looking at and what it's supposed to look like. I like to capture Soldiers in action doing whatever job they do."
The MP considers his pencil an extension of his own eyes.
"With drawing, nothing is really difficult for me; I can draw pretty much anything as long as I can see it," Geig noted.
"I envy artists who can draw from their minds, because I can't," he continued. "I can look at something and recreate it exactly, but if you told me to look at a chair and draw it without seeing it, it would be horrible."
When planning a collage-style print like those he drew for units, he likes to consider all of the Soldiers.
"I like to appeal to everybody," Geig explained. "There are always little groups of (different military occupational specialties) in units -- like transportation or finance … that don't have an image to (symbolize their jobs), but I try to find ways to represent them.
"The Army couldn't function without those other jobs," he added. "Not everybody is infantry or flies helicopters. I like to look out for the little guys."
Some of Geig's artwork can be seen at the Whimsical Pig located in the Exchange or by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org.