Picasso at the NFL Combine: Patrick Finley and his drawings are back in the news

Back in August, we spoke with Patrick Finley, the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Sun-Times, who was tasked with covering the team’s training camp. During certain parts of the practices, the media was not allowed to take pictures or capture video, even though the general public could do all of that and more, thus frustrating Finley and his colleagues.

Finley decided to “work around” the problem by creating artists renderings of the players and the actions in camp. The only problem? He can’t draw.

“I wish I could say I planned it out, but it made my giggle the first day I drew one, so I kept doing one a day,” Finley said. “I knew it was silly, but also subversive. Also, that’s the way I draw; I didn’t make it look toddler-ish on purpose.”

Twitter exploded with fans sharing his drawings, WGN did a piece on him and he gained more than a bit of notoriety among his peers.

Just last week, Finley’s art skills came to the rescue once again. While covering the NFL combine, rules prevented journalists from photographing or recording certain portions of the event. Behold:


With more than 240 retweets and 800 likes, that tweet blew away anything else he posted that week on Twitter.

A month or two back, Finley talked a bit more about this “artistic phenomenon” for the upcoming second edition of “Dynamics of Media Writing.” He said he didn’t really understand why people loved his artwork but he enjoyed the fact that they did.

“It taught me that Twitter appreciates something unique, no matter how absolutely silly it might be,” Finley said. “I don’t pretend to grasp exactly why it went viral — It was intended to be a gentle mocking of a training camp policy where fans could take pictures but media members couldn’t’ — but I imagine it reached beyond my typical football fan followers. My experience with the sketches was a fun one, though Bears PR staffers finally got annoyed by it by the end of camp, I think. It’s still weird that some people know me as the guy who sketches stuff, when I’d rather them know me for the job I do.”

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