Sketching the Heisman

Text and photos by Rob Mattson

Sketch by David Gloman

Before he taught art at Amherst, David Gloman played high school football in Indiana. “I don’t want anyone to think I actually was good enough to be a pro,” says the former running back, “because I certainly wasn’t.” Yet the boy dreamed of playing professionally—until a knee injury took him out of the game for good. As he recovered, his grandmother brought him sports magazines to pass the time. Soon he was sketching the athletes who appeared on their pages and thinking about a career in art.

Sketch by David Gloman

Now the 19-year veteran of the Department of Art and the History of Art has found a way to combine art and football. ESPN chose Gloman—who is a painter, notably of the Connecticut River—to create pencil-on-paper drawings (see above) of several of today’s best college football players. The drawings were for the TV network’s December 2011 production of the Heisman Memorial Trophy Presentation.

In front of a 20-person crew that filmed his every gesture and pencil stroke, Gloman also sketched the trophy itself (see drawing, top), which is the top prize in college football. “I just lost myself in that moment,” he says. “I didn’t hear anybody around me, or even think about where I was. I just started to draw that Heisman Trophy, and it was amazing.”