Since April 2020, VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth has spent much of his time creating COVID-themed drawings — he calls them comics — and then sharing the finished works on his social media channels. His latest three pieces of artwork, including two that he calls "Dixie" and "La Covida", can be found below.
According to a New York Times profile from last summer, Roth picked up the pen and ink during his coronavirus lockdown, but he had long been interested in art.
"My approach is the best of both worlds: vintage and hyper-atomic digital," he said. "Sort of like watching 'Dragnet' on your iPad.
"You know, I moved to Japan for two-plus years to study Sumi-e and calligraphy, and four nights a week I trained and then I did homework. Jesus, I've spent thousands of hours learning to operate a horsehair brush with a block of ink that I grind myself. Hasn't changed its recipe in 700 years.
"So everything in the comics is hand-drawn — all the typeface, all the colors, the line work, the lighting," he explained. "And once I'm done, I work with Colin Smith, the Led Zeppelin of Adobe Photoshop. Together we scan everything, and then I'm able to move into areas that otherwise weren't graphically available without decades of effort."
This is not the first time Roth has shared some of his visual art with the public. Back in 2009, Roth released dozens of his own drawings and artwork, which he called at the time "authentic originals and incompetent imitations." He offered them up as "an official answer to the question 'what do you do in your spare time?'"
According to the Van Halen News Desk, the VAN HALEN frontman always been into art. Throughout his whole life, while touring the world, you could find him doodling on just about anything — setlists, tour riders, female body parts, etc. He was always a major part of the visual side of VAN HALEN, and always tried to make the stage show "look like the music sounds." He designed stage clothes, orchestrated photo shoots, came up with the stage choreography, etc. He also had a hand in designing VAN HALEN's early tourbooks and a few of their t-shirts.
In March 2020, Roth postponed the final six shows of his Las Vegas residency due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Roth performed as the opening act for the February/March 2020 North American leg of KISS's "End Of The Road" farewell tour.
VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen died of cancer in October at age 65.
Roth, who performed with VAN HALEN for the last time in 2015, tweeted shortly after Eddie's death: "What a long great trip it's been."